The Economist did a little bid spotting of its own at the Frieze sales. Here’s their report on the Italian sales:
Continuing demand for post-war Italian artists, such as Lucio Fontana, Mario Marini and Giorgio de Chirico, as well as the later work of Fausto Melotti, Alighiero Boetti and Enrico Castellani, was evident. This was especially true at Sotheby’s, where 30 lots totalled £7.4m ($12.3m) and a sell-through rate by value of 97.9%, up from 94.2% a year ago. Private European collectors were out in force, buying seven of the top ten lots, including the priciest, de Chirico’s “Interno con Frutta”, which sold for £881,250 to a collector on the telephone after competition from two other bidders.
At Christie’s a private Roman collector put up a spirited fight in the room against David Nisinson, a New York dealer, for a dark study for one of Gino Severini’s greatest paintings, “Mer=Danseuse” (“Sea=Dancer”, pictured top). Severini painted the work shortly after his marriage in 1914, and inscribed this study to his wife, Jannot. The painting is now in the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice. This study was passed down through the family and has only once appeared at auction, in 1984. The two men pushed the final bid up to £220,000 (£265,250 with commission and taxes) against a pre-sale estimate of £100,000-150,000. The winning bidder, Mr Nisinson, often acts on behalf of the Guggenheim, raising speculation that the study may be about to join the painting it inspired.
Climbing Back (Economist)