The Press is Taking Stock of the Contemporary Sales
From the report of the Master, Judd Tully:
“I think the market is continuing its onward march, blissfully ignorant of all the turmoil in the financial markets,” said New York private dealer Christopher Eykyn. “It certainly hasn’t been a bad investment so far.”
A big part of Sotheby’s success came from the fresh and highly sought-after material from the collection of Helga and Walther Lauffs from Krefeld, Germany, which made a total of £18,983,000, double its high pre-sale estimate of £8.9 million. The entire collection was guaranteed.
From Carol Vogel’s account:
Tobias Meyer, worldwide head of contemporary art for Sotheby’s who was the evening’s auctioneer, said he could see bidders checking currency conversion charts, indicating buyers from around the world.
Bacon is Again a Top Draw at Auction (New York Times)
Souren Melikian gives Sotheby’s props but can’t resist closing with this image:
Throughout this hugely successful session, many bidders appeared to be acting in a kind of blissful trance, as if taking part in a fun game and occasionally breaking into applause when large prices were being paid.
Mountaineers know only too well the giddiness that can be induced by the rarefied oxygen in unaccustomed high altitude. It is then, when reaching the summit seems just one step away, that losing one’s foothold becomes a much dreaded possibility.
Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Sale Reaches 94.7 million (International Herald Tribune)
“People are more interested in quality than price,” London dealer Serge Tiroche said. “In the old days they used to look at a work’s size and period. Now they’re looking at aesthetics.”
“If you’ve got quality and provenance, it pays off,” said Paris-based art adviser Hugues Joffre. “There was a mood created by the success of the Lauffs Collection in New York. People are also reassessing the work of artists like Klein.”
Art Daily offers a list of records from Sotheby’s press release
Phillips de Pury
“My expectations were much higher,” said Michael McGinnis, head of contemporary art for Phillips, speaking moments after the sale in the firm’s stunning new quarters, “and I have no reason to give you. It was a total curveball.”
“This was regular material with very strong estimates,” said Brussels dealer Paolo Vedovi, in an interview. “Too many sales, too many catalogs.”
“Almost all of our guarantees were profitable,” said Marc Porter, president of Christie’s. “The market ended up being as strong as we hoped it would be.” The evening’s top three lots all had guarantees.
Of four works by Damien Hirst, three sold, but all either on or below their low estimates. Some of the sellers had wisely negotiated guarantees . . . .
Market News: London’s Contemporary Art Sales (Telegraph)
After the sale Brett Gorvy of Christie’s said, “This is a market where people want to be able to tick all the boxes, the right artist, the right painting, a fantastic provenance.”
Bacon Triptych Sells for $34.4 Million in London (New York Times)
Commenting on the failure of a pink Lucio Fontana similar to a gold one that sold very well:
“Christie’s estimate was very aggressive,” said Heinrich zu Hohenlohe, director of the dealers Dickinson, Berlin, in an interview. “Even in the current market there is a limit.”