James Tarmy’s excellent overview of the Josef Albers market has numerous tidbits ranging for the rare lack of chronological preference to the added value of red works in the Homage to the Square series.
Tarmy soft peddles the fact that there are some 2000 of these easily recognizable works that also have a range of prints supporting them (much like the Warhol market.)
But the big takeaway goes well beyond Albers and points to the dominant theme of the current marketplace, the search for comparative value. Albers works range from the mid-six figures for smaller works to the low seven figures for larger, vibrant ones:
These are rarefied prices. Yet, in comparison with Albers’ peers, they’re relatively modest. Works by fellow Bauhaus artist Wassily Kandinsky have crested the $20 million mark, while other Black Mountain College alumni such as Willem de Kooning and Robert Motherwell can sell for twice that amount. “There’s a trend right now for reevaluating blue chip artists that are sub-$1 million,” says Kaplan. “So many of them are at atmospheric price levels that people are looking for artists who are brand names but relatively affordable.” “Relatively” is the operative term here: It’s not about how much Albers’ art costs. It’s about what it could cost in the future.
When a $1 Million Painting Is a Bargain (Bloomberg)