Marion Maneker0August 29, 2014

What’s Hot in Singapore? SouthEast Asian Painting, Chinese Contemporary & Lutes

Lee Man Fung Sold for S$387,200

Here’s a quick look at what sells in Singapore

Ms Rebecca Wei, President of Christie’s in Asia: “Singapore ranks (in the) top 10. Christie’s launched the online-only auctions two years ago and we see new growth, a new wave of buyers coming in. They are the new buyers with a lower-threshold entry point, but very interested in online trading. Singaporeans naturally go for Southeast Asia contemporary oil painting. That’s the number one category. Number two would be Chinese lutes, and Chinese painting and contemporary art.

The owners of 20-year-old Opera Gallery in Singapore say they have seen a 10 per cent increase in the average price per piece of art in the last one to two years, but that isn’t something that fazes art enthusiasts.

Said the gallery’s Asia Pacific Director Stephane Le Pelletier: “We have all kinds of buyers. Some like to buy (work by) young contemporary artists, and I would say the trend was and is for Pop art and contemporary art. If we are talking about established artists, whose work you can find in museums, usually the price is already at a high level, so these pieces are for genuine collectors and people with knowledge.”

More in Singapore venture into art-collecting  (Channel NewsAsia)

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Marion Maneker0August 29, 2014

Miami Give Beatriz Milhazes Her Place in the Sun

Beatriz Milhazes, 'São Cosme e Damião,' (Saints Cosmas and Damian), 2014

Miami’s Perez Art Museum debuts its first major retrospective of Brazilian painter Beatriz Milhazes work this September. The show marks Tobias Ostrander’s coming out:

Mr. Ostrander said he chose Ms. Milhazes because her Spirograph-like paintings of overlapping blossoms, stripes and unfurling leaves will likely resonate with audiences in Miami’s climate—particularly the city’s growing Brazilian diaspora.

The 50-work show also comes at a time when the artist appears to be moving away from her signature bouquets toward compositions that feature more geometric shapes and straight lines. “Beatriz’s art was always sensual and dizzying, just sensory overload,” Mr. Ostrander said. “She’s moving more and more toward purely geometric forms.”

From a market standpoint, her decision could be a risk. Over the past decade, major collectors have gravitated toward her more-is-more arrangements—in part because the cheeriness of her canvases seemed to match Brazil’s economic rise. In May 2008, Buenos Aires collector Eduardo Costantini paid Sotheby’s $1 million for her rainbow-hued “Magic” from 2001, tripling its high estimate. That painting will be part of the PAMM show, along with flowery pieces lent by heavyweights like German publisher Benedikt Taschen, Austrian philanthropist Francesca von Habsburg and Washington lobbyist Tony Podesta.

via Brazilian Artist Beatriz Milhazes Takes Center Stage in the U.S. – WSJ.

Marion Maneker0August 29, 2014

Portugal Free to Sell Trove of 85 Mirós Acquired from Bankrupt Bank

Miro in his studio

Le Monde reports that Portugal has cleared the Miró sale stopped earlier this year. An earlier report claimed Portugal’s museums expressed no interest in acquiring the works:

The collection of 85 works by Spanish artist Joan Miro owned by the Portuguese state will ultimately not listed as a cultural heritage, paving the way for its sale, according to a decision released Friday, Aug. 29 in the Official Journal Portuguese.

Portugal bail out its coffers by selling paintings by Miro (Le Monde)

Marion Maneker0August 29, 2014

Burning Man Art Car Runs Over Woman


Burning Man is a city of 68,000 temporarily erected in the desert for a week every August. Like any city, it has its share of traffic fatalities. This year there was another as a woman was run over by the fur-covered double-decker bus, Shagadelic, according to Burners.Me:

Pershing County officials have identified the victim of Thursday morning’s deadly bus incident at Burning Man. According to a press release from Pershing County authorities, Alicia Louise Cipicchio — a 29-year-old resident of Jackson, Wyoming — suffered fatal injuries early Thursday morning after falling under a large vehicle at the annual Burning Man event in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada.Event officials, including representatives of Black Rock City, the Bureau of Land Management, and Pershing County Sheriff’s Office express their condolences and sympathies to the family, friends and campmates of the victim. Support is being provided to those affected by the tragedy.

Woman Dies at Burning Man (Burners.Me)

Fraud, Theft & Restitution
Marion Maneker0August 27, 2014

Forger of Brett Whiteley Works Identified in Australian Court


The Sydney Morning Herald identifies the forger behind four Brett Whiteley fakes that were sold for A$4.5m through dealer Peter Gant:

It is alleged in one charge that Muhammad Aman Siddique obtained a $2.5 million financial advantage by deception for himself and others by producing a purported Whiteley painting – Lavender Bay – and then fraudulently selling it as a genuine work.

Mr Siddique, 62, an art conservator, is also charged with having committed the same offence for $1.1 million involving another purported Whiteley painting, Orange Lavender Bay.

A third charge alleges he attempted with another to obtain a financial advantage by deception of $950,000 by falsely representing as an authentic Whiteley the painting Through the Window Lavender Bay.

The fourth charge alleges he dishonestly obtained for Peter Gant a financial advantage by deception of $950,000 by producing Through the Window Lavender Bay as “collateral” to defer payment of a debt in the same amount.

Art expert charged with Brett Whiteley forgeries (Sydney Morning Herald)

Marion Maneker0August 27, 2014

Artelligence Podcast Now Available in iTunes

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The Artelligence Podcast is now available in iTunes. Please subscribe. Regular programming resumes in September.


Marion Maneker0August 27, 2014

Sotheby’s Shows Signs of Getting More Aggressive on Auction and Third Party Guarantees

Sotheby's Headquarters

Sotheby’s filed an 8-K which contains some information on the increase in a facility to provide auction guarantees. This information comes after a Summer when collectors and buyers report that Sotheby’s has become more aggressive in soliciting third-party guarantees for works in the $1-2m range:

Increase the maximum permissible amount of net outstanding auction guarantees (i.e., auction guarantees less the impact of related risk and reward sharing arrangements) from $300 million to $600 million.

Sotheby’s Holding, Inc. – Current Report.

Marion Maneker0August 27, 2014

The NYTimes Business Section Trolls for Bond Insurers Over Detroit Art Deal

The Detroit Institute of Arts

In a Dealbook article that goes out of its way to promote the bond insurers’ objections to Detroit’s Grand Bargain, The New York Times throws everything it can at the deal. Despite the guidance of two Federal judges, the Times repeats the bond insurers’ claim that the deal treats Detroit’s pensioners as preferred creditors. The story also reveals an appraisal of the collection that is 10x the value determined by Christie’s and Artvest (which, it has to be said, were both done more to promote the firms doing the appraising and provide the city’s emergency manager with a fixed point to negotiate from.)

What’s most troubling about the Times advocating for the bond insurers is that the latest plan being touted doesn’t help the city. A sale would retire debt but a new loan only defers payment and increases the amount through interest. If Detroit were taking a loan against its art to build infrastructure that could attract citizens and industry which, in turn, would improve the tax base, the idea might have some merit. But that’s not the case here.

Details of Art Capital’s proposal came from a term sheet, marked “proprietary and highly confidential,” that was provided to The New York Times by a person opposed to the grand bargain. Terms were said to be subject to negotiation, but the city will not negotiate. […]

Art Capital is proposing a loan that would range from $500 million to $3 billion, which could be cut up into different maturities and repayment schedules. Interest rates would be based on the benchmark rate known as Libor plus 5.5 to 8.5 percentage points, which analysts say would be reasonable for a bankrupt city that is preparing to repudiate some of its debt. Art Capital’s supporters say its loan would have the advantage of not tying up an essential city tax stream in the event of a default because it would be heavily collateralized by the artwork.

Both loan options would be repaid by the city’s revenue streams, like income, property and casino taxes.

Detroit Mum on Proposal to Use Its Art as Collateral  (

Marion Maneker0August 25, 2014

Poly Auction 2014 H1 Revenues Up 24%

The good people at ArtNews have posted Poly Culture’s six months results for 2014 which show a 24% rise in revenues at Poly Auction from $68m to $84m. Overall auction sales seemed to be about 2/3 of a billion dollars:

Due to the impact from macro economy, Chinese artwork market still ranged at lows in the first half of 2014, with a modest yet more prudent recovery in turnover and, especially, a subdued transaction momentum for high-priced artworks. As such, the Group took initiatives to increase the supply of middle and low-priced auction items in line with market conditions.

In the first half of 2014, the Group achieved total auction turnover of approximately RMB4.1 billion [$666m], maintaining the leading position in the industry. Beijing Poly International Auction Co., Ltd. (“Poly Auction Beijing”) recorded auction turnover of approximately RMB3.188 billion [$517m] for the first half of 2014, securing its leadership in all segments with a balanced business mix. At the Spring Auction, it recorded auction turnover of RMB2.78 billion, ranking first for 12 consecutive times in the domestic large-scale artwork auctions. To proactively develop middle and low-end markets, Poly Auction Beijing also held auctions in Hainan and Zhejiang in the first half of the year while ensuring successful….

Marion Maneker0August 25, 2014

Marlene Dumas Regrets Nothing … but Some Pictures

Dumas, Missing Picasso

The novelist Claire Messud has one of those not-quite-a-profile, not-quite-a-think piece on Marlene Dumas that seems to rest heavily on one long, intoxicating visit between artist and novelist from which the novelist extrapolates, perhaps, too much:

In recent years, her paintings have sold at record prices for a living woman artist, the citation of which is a source of continual frustration to her. “I’d like to be remembered for something else,” […]

“With certain things I’ve done,” she said, “I don’t regret that I’ve done them, but you also have the thing as a painting itself, and later, when all other things are gone, you think, ‘I wonder, is this really an interesting painting?’ ” — she appraised a painting in her mind’s eye — “. . . and with the different curators, if they all agree that it’s okay, you distrust that, because they should see that it isn’t; but if you maybe think that something is actually good, and they don’t really react . . .” She shrugged. “Some artists, they say, are much more clear about what’s good and what’s bad in their own work. But I find it difficult.” […]

The example of “Twice,” the joint exhibition for which she painted “Missing Picasso,” is particularly telling. While Tuymans painted new works for the exhibition, Dumas, in some instances, returned to earlier, unfinished paintings, finding in the show’s theme the route to their completion. While Tuymans worked on his own, with an unwavering idea of his plan, Dumas consulted Tuymans for his opinion. When Tuymans suggested that they each show only six works, Dumas concurred, but marveled at his continence. “If I don’t work for long periods, then when I do, I go on till the end, and then sometimes I have too many works,” she told me. “Mostly I never think like that, I first see what I do, and then in the end I decide. But I thought, O.K., it was more efficient. It’s funny, these differences. You could also say he’s a man who knows himself well.” She emitted a roar of laughter.

Social Studies | Marlene Dumas (T Magazine)

Dumas, The Artist and His Model