Dasha Zhukov is making a bid for the Art/Fashion crown.
Is her appearance an indication of the top?
There is an old saw in the financial markets that when a trend is featured on a magazine cover, that’s an indication of a top. It’s all down hill from there. Well, Russians have become the media’s fixation when it comes to the art market. Look at this teaser. Could that mean Russians have already peaked in buying power and influence over the market? Or has Roman Abramovich’s very visible buying sent a signal to other Oligarch’s that it is open season on art?
Dasha Zhukov, the daughter of another Oligarch, is meant to be the source of Abramovich’s interest in art. His backing for The Garage, and the party she hosted, made it an important new cultural project in Russia and helped catapult Zukov to fame. Here’s a British newspaper profile of Zhukov:
As Aliona Doletskaya, the editor of Russian Vogue, remarked: “The party was very successful, and the level of representation of Russian cultural and governmental figures was very high.” All in all, it was a most convincing way to announce her new global project. In fact, Abramovich’s new-found interest in art is being put down largely to Dasha, a cultured, intelligent young woman who couldn’t be further from the new Russian stereotype of diamonds and denim. “She has a proper visual sense,” says Emilia. “She has great potential.
Many want good-quality contemporary and modern collections – Andy Warhol, Freud, Leon Kossof, Bacon, moving on to Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Peter Doig. Ivanishvili, for example, has also been identified as the mystery buyer at Sotheby’s last February of Peter Doig’s “White Canoe” (1990-91) (paying an extraordinary £5.7m, then the highest-ever sum for a living European artist), while steel billionaire Viktor Pinchuk is renowned as the leading collector of international contemporary art in Ukraine. In his eponymous foundation, new work by Hirst, Carsten Holler and Olafur Eliasson hangs alongside Jeff Koons and Ukrainian artists.
The second story concludes that there is a broader base of collectors:
The underlying support for today’s art market does appear to be much more broadly based. Certainly, claims that the middle market in art is softening – by implication, a precursor to a wider decline – are not supported by evidence. At this week’s day sales, the proportion of lots that failed to sell was no higher than in previous years. Sotheby’s points out that five years ago, its buyers who spent more than $500,000 on an artwork came from 26 countries. Today, buyers spending at that level or more come from 58 countries.
We’d like to point out that the FT’s measure of the middle market isn’t very acute. The Day sales may not be the measure of the middle market anymore. Evening sales are constricting and the proportion of the total sale value attributed to a few top works is increasing. Both of those are indications of weakening middle market but we’ll try to have more on that later.
Meeting Dasha Zhukov, Roman Abramovich’s Girl (Telegraph)
From Russia, with Cash (Financial Times)
Off the Wall? A Globalized Art Market Defies Doomsayers (Financial Times)