Scott Reyburn canvassed the Phillips de Pury sale for the art market’s mood. Thought his report dwells on the works that failed to sell or prices that dropped by 60% like the price for a 2005 Anselm Reyle painting, he leads with this assessement:
“They’ve sourced material at the right price,” Wendy Goldsmith, a London-based art adviser, said in an interview. Buyers “now focus on the available material. The market has stabilized. From now on things will improve.”
Judd Tully delves deeper into the mood of the market:
“It feels distinctly better than it did a year after June 1990, when the market last crashed,” said a reflective de Pury moments after the sale. “It certainly didn’t feel as good then as it does now.”
Then Tully got into into the sale and the backstory behind the lots starting with Richard Prince’s Brooke Shields portrait:
“I’m surprised it didn’t sell,” said one staff member from Gagosian, the gallery that now represents Prince on the global market, though one might question the absence of gallery bids for support. Post-sale chatter had it that another Prince from the same edition of 6 plus two artist proofs on offer privately in the U.S. may have killed interest, and unconfirmed speculation suggested Gagosian gallery as the holder of that work, priced at a negotiable $750,000.
Analyzed the success of another Gagosian client, Mark Grotjahn:
In the overachieving department, Mark Grotjahn’s jazzy colored pencil on paper Untitled (Large colored butterfly white background 10 wings) (2004) sold to L&M Artsfor £145,250 (est. £70–100,000). There were at least three underbidders, including London’s White Cube and New York’s Acquavella Galleries. “It was a great price for a very high-quality work,” enthused Paris-based L&M consultant Eloïse Benzekri, who beat out the competition. “Especially compared to what it would have made last year.” Asked what that price would have been, Benzekri said £300,000.
And finally accepted the staying power of Chinese Contemporary artist:
there are buyers searching for excellent and fairly priced material. Though this didn’t exactly result in a bidding-war atmosphere, competition at times was fierce, as indicated by (surprise!!) Yue Minjun’s large-scale untitled 2005 composition of his signature smiling men flanked by a flock of birds in formation, which sold to a telephone bidder for £421,250 (est. £250–300,000).