Dealbook covered the announcement of Asher Edelman’s new project, Artemus which will “lease works by well-known artists like Andy Warhol and Frank Stella under leases of five years or longer for annual fees he estimated might be 6 percent to 12 percent of the artworks’ market value. Some of the leases may also include an option to purchase.”
“A lot of tenants are interested in fine art but may not have the time or money to get involved to acquire the art or to finance the art,” said David Neil, chief administrative officer of the leasing and marketing division of the Durst Organization. “We believe this venture will be a tremendous amenity and benefit for tenants not only in our buildings but elsewhere.”
A Wall Street raider in the 1980s, Mr. Edelman, 74, said the leasing business would be called Artemus, which he described as a male variation on Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt. Another partner in the venture is David Storper, a distressed-investing expert who worked for 16 years with Wilbur Ross, leaving W.L. Ross & Company in 2012.
Mr. Neil said Mr. Edelman proposed the art-leasing venture after Durst’s chairman, Douglas Durst, visited his East Side gallery, Edelman Arts, about a year ago. Mr. Edelman has since advised Mr. Durst on art for one of his office buildings. His main business, ArtAssure Ltd., offers art-related loans, sale guarantees and the purchase of large collections.
Among Durst-owned Manhattan properties are One Bryant Park, the Manhattan flagship office of Bank of America; 4 Times Square, headquarters of Conde Nast; four buildings on Third Avenue; and three more on the Avenue of the Americas. Durst is also an effective co-developer of One World Trade Center with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Michael Fox writes a letter to the Australian Financial Review suggesting that the Australian government is letting a prime opportunity to regulate the local art market lapse. The resale royalties program has never caught on in Australia. Dealers find it an imposition of tiresome paperwork. But Fox suggests raising the threshold on which sales are reported to the royalty scheme would relieve the pressure of paperwork and alert the government to larger transactions:
For just as the federal government is watering down the finance advisory laws, it is also allowing the art market integrity measures implicit in the resale royalty scheme – where artists receive a payment if their work is sold by others – to either die a natural death or be repealed.
No new funds were allocated to the resale royalty scheme in this year’s budget. […] But there is definitely a case for retention of the scheme if the threshold was lifted to the same level as for the reporting of cash transactions to AUSTRAC.
A threshold of $10,000 would mean only valuable art trades are reported. It would also create a disincentive for the peddling of dubious art works.
Art resale royalties laws dealt harsh hand (Australian Financial Review)
It’s a cliché that museum attendance rises in a recession. But now that the global economy seems to be gaining momentum, the crowds are not abating. Clearly something else is going on. More and more people are traveling and art has become a foundational context for the emerging global culture. The New York Times looks at some of the strains that museum attendance is creating:
It is the height of summer, and millions of visitors are flocking to the Louvre — the busiest art museum in the world, with 9.3 million visitors last year — and to other great museums across Europe. Every year the numbers grow as new middle classes emerge, especially in Asia and Eastern Europe. Last summer the British Museum had record attendance, and for 2013 as a whole it had 6.7 million visitors , making it the second-most visited museum in the world. Attendance at the Uffizi in Florence for the first half of the year is up almost 5 percent over last year. […]
Tomaso Montanari, an art historian in Florence and professor at the Federico II University in Naples, has been strongly critical of crowding at the Uffizi, which is considerably smaller than other major museums. “It seems like a tropical greenhouse — you can’t breathe,” he said in a telephone interview.
Patricia Rucidio, a guide in Florence for Context Travel, said that visiting the Accademia, famous for Michelangelo’s “David,” had become “a nightmare” this year because visitors are now allowed to take photos. “People now swarm the paintings, step on anyone to get to them, push, shove, snap a photo, and move quickly on without looking at the painting,” she wrote in an email message.
The fascinating Australian court case revealing details of the inner workings of the Australian art market continues to fascinate the Sydney Morning Post. To recap, Louise McBride is upset that her former friend and art advisor, Vivienne Sharpe, was making money from her debt-driven sale of artworks at auction:
Ms McBride has alleged Ms Sharpe and her son Andrew advised her to sell a Jeffrey Smart painting through Menzies auction house using an agreement for a guaranteed sale price.
Instead of the usual commission being paid to the auction house, Menzies proposed to guarantee $300,000 for the sale of the work and to pay Ms McBride 40 per cent of the upside.
The remaining 60 per cent would, Ms McBride believed, go to Menzies.
Menzies had offered Ms Sharpe a 50/50 split of its 60 per cent upside. Ms Sharpe received $42,000.
Under cross examination, Ms McBride told the court she had believed Ms Sharpe was acting for free because she was a friend who was helping her with her serious financial predicament in 2010.
Her counsel, Francis Douglas, QC, has accused Ms Sharpe of having a conflict of interest because her undisclosed interest in the upside meant she had a motive to advise Ms McBride to take a lower guaranteed price.
Ms Sharpe, through her counsel, is strongly contesting she ever agreed to act for free and that she did significant work on the sale.
Former friends in court battle over painting (Sydney Morning Herald)
The Maeght Foundation is having trouble making its €3m yearly operating budget which mostly comes from admissions. It also wants and needs to expand to take its 200,000 visitors up to 300,000 or more. So the foundation is raising €5.5m for a new wing by offering to name spaces after donors. Some wonder whether selling some of the 12,000-strong holdings.
Aimé Maeght was originally a lithographer who sold radio sets and furniture in a Cannes boutique with a print shop in the back. When Bonnard, by then an elderly man, came in one day to get a print made, Maeght offered to sell the original engraving, and found a new vocation. In 1945 he opened a Paris gallery and quickly became one of the most important art dealers in post-war France, representing Braque, Chagall, Miró, Giacometti and Calder. After the Maeght Foundation opened, he hosted many exhibitions by these and other artists, a programme that continues to this day. This year’s anniversary show mixes major pieces of modern art with paintings by lesser-known contemporary artists.
Until he died in 1981, Maeght senior bankrolled the foundation. He left it four-fifths of his considerable personal collection, and also bequeathed assets to be sold for the institution’s benefit. Adrien, now 84, has made further gifts in kind: the land and buildings that the foundation occupies, and works of art. But the Maeght has to find cash to cover its operating costs, and it relies on ticket sales for 80% of its budget, compared with half that at the Fondation Cartier in Paris. The rest comes from producing exhibitions for other galleries, and from sponsorship and donations.
All this worries Olivier Kaeppelin, who took over as the Maeght’s director in 2011 (having previously sat on the board as the French Culture Ministry’s director of visual arts) [… who] wants the foundation to be free to sell works. The collection is valuable. It includes Giacometti’s “Walking Man I” (1961); another version auctioned at Sotheby’s in 2010 fetched £65m (then $104.3m). At the moment nothing from the collection can be sold, but there are numerous lithographs and sculptures that exist in similar or identical multiples which could be disposed of without affecting it, he says.
The future of the Maeght Foundation: Sunshine and colour (The Economist)
The annual Coeur d’Alene auction of Western art make the same as last year netting $30m:
More than 650 registered bidders took part in what was billed as the world’s largest Western art sale. About 320 works were sold for a total of some $30 million, nearly the same as last year’s $30.5 million. […]
A total of 30 Charles M. Russell works fetched millions of dollars at auction in Reno, with one painting symbolizing the railroad’s effect on American Indians drawing $1.9 million and another depicting a Native American chief selling for $1.1 million.
Other top prices at the annual Coeur d’Alene Art Auction on Saturday included $1.7 million for a Frederic Remington painting featuring a group of Indians and $1.5 million for a Thomas Moran painting depicting an Arizona gulch. […]
The most spirited bidding of the day involved James Fraser’s sculpture “End of the Trail,” which depicts an American Indian warrior slumped over on his horse. Competition between two bidders drove its price up to $921,000, roughly twice the estimated price.
Charles Russell art fetches millions at auction (Yahoo News)
Amid rumors that Tobias Meyer has moved to California and been seen bidding in Old Master sales, Curbed announces that his NYC apartment has sold:
There was a good deal of skepticism around art world heavyweight Tobias Meyers’ insane Time Warner Center apartment being listed for $16.95 million. However, it seems that at least one buyer was able to look past the striped wall-to-wall carpeting, brightly painted columns, and other eclectic design choices to see the 2,632-square-foot, 66th-floor, 3BR/3.5BA condo underneath. The apartment entered contract after less than three months on the market and yesterday the sale hit public records with a final price of $16,220,300.
In another sign that the Contemporary art market isn’t only powerful prices at the top, Christie’s second foray into a July First Open sale was another strong showing backed by a good estate collection. Christie’s usually doesn’t record its online sales but, in this case, we’re seeing $1.8m in online-only sales. Here are some highlights from both sales:
Loretta Würtenberger, together with Daniel Tuempel, runs Fine Art Partners in Germany. The firm advises artists’ estates and provides financing to dealers for both the fabrication of primary works and the acquisition of works for secondary market deals.
This conversation ranges over the challenges of financing art deals, how works are bought and sold in this new market environment as well as a discussion of guarantees and auction strategies. The interview also addresses the challenges facing artists’ estates.
You can download a transcript of the interview here: Loretta Würtenberger Artelligence 2014 transcript.
The photo accompanying the New York Times’s article announcing that Chicago’s Ken Griffin had filed for divorce from his accomplished wife Anne Dias Griffin on the first day of her Summer vacation shows Jeff Koons sitting in the background at a gala event. How fitting!
The couple shared a passion for art, an interest that stretches back to when they had one of their first dates at a museum. As recently as this year, they were ranked by ArtNews as two of the most active collectors of art, with a focus on Post-Impressionist works. Their collection includes Jasper Johns’s “False Start,” which they bought from the media mogul David Geffen for $80 million, and pieces by Cézanne and Monet.
Ms. Dias Griffin helped elevate Mr. Griffin’s status within the art world, where many other hedge fund billionaires seem at home, according to people close to the couple. She is a director of the Museum of Modern Art, a trustee of the Foundation for Contemporary Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
The story tells us the couple had been negotiating their uncoupling quietly for months before Griffin’s surprise move.