Bonhams in the Guarantee Business

Colin Gleadell points out that Bonhams is buying its way into the Contemporary art market. Running its first-ever Frieze-week sale, the auction house’s new Contemporary department, led by Anthony McNerny, is guaranteeing a Glenn Brown. Though not nearly the effort that Phillips de Pury has been making with in New York with big guarantees for Contemporary art, the move offers sellers yet another hungry player in the Contemporary category:

Glenn Brown’s Little Death is one of the most consistently sought after paintings by museum curators exhibiting his work. From a series that was based on the paintings of Frank Auerbach which challenge the notion of originality in art, it was included in Brown’s retrospective exhibition at Tate Liverpool in 2009. It has never been at auction before, and has been guaranteed with an estimate of £700,000 to £900,000. Since the artist has been represented by the Gagosian gallery, three of his paintings have sold for more than £1 million, so the price, if not for bargain hunters, is reasonable.

For its other two top lots, Bonhams offered cash advances to the sellers. A 1963 painting by the French “pop” artist Martial Raysse, whose work has recently soared in value, is estimated at £350,000. But most will depend on one of the rarest works by Alghiero Boetti, an Italian conceptual artist who is to have a retrospective at Tate Modern next year. Anno 1984 is a 30ft long arrangement of 216 drawings of magazine covers. Three works by Boetti have sold for a million pounds, and, if McNerney’s hunch is right, this will do so as well.

Bonhams Strikes a Modern Note (Telegraph)