There’s a lot happening all over the art market, not just at the top end of it. Dreweatts & Bloomsbury just partnered with George Bailey’s The Auction Room with a sale of pictures, books and furniture from the Royal Agricultural Society of Britain:
Total Lots: 328; Estimate total: £153,200-218,150; Hammer total: £400,400
Total including buyer’s premium: £496,496
Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions, together with The Auction Room, sold a selection of works from The Royal Agricultural Society of England in a ground-breaking bidding initiative that saw the auctioneering duo offer pre-auction timed bidding via www.theauctionroom.com, followed by a live auction held at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions’ busy saleroom in London’s Mayfair on Friday 11th July where there was standing room only.
The sale was a celebration of Agricultural history and featured antiques across a number of disciplines, including books, old master paintings, prints, ceramics and works of art. The collaboration was a bold and innovative move that received an exceptional reception from bidders with prices rising far beyond high-estimate.
◊ An oil on canvas portrait of HRH Princess Elizabeth by Sir Oswald Birley (1880-1952) stole the attention of bidders, selling for £49,600 [Lot 121]. Another painting by Birley of King George VI also saw competitive bidding and sold for £9,920 [Lot 120] whilst Royal Show, 1951: Festival of Britain Year by Terence Cuneo (1907-1996), oil on canvas, sold for an impressive £26,040 [Lot 122]
Sotheby’s doesn’t want to be left out of the H1 results party. Here are some significant numbers from their announcement:
Sotheby’s auction sales for the first half of 2014 stand at $3.12bn – the highest in the company’s history. Sotheby’s is a public company listed on the US stock exchange. Its full half year results and consolidated figures will be released in the coming weeks. With a growth of some 22%, Sotheby’s witnessed record sales in a number of key categories, leading the market in many of the areas widely considered as the most important indicators of its overall health:
◊ Sotheby’s dominated auction sales in Asia for the first six months, achieving total sales of HK$3.82 billion / US$490 million, a 47% increase on the previous year
Impressionist and Modern Art
◊ Sotheby’s auction sales of Impressionist and Modern Art for the first six months of 2014 have grown by 21% compared with the same period in 2013
Old Master & British Paintings
◊ Sotheby’s has also led the market in sales of Old Masters, with a year-to-date auction total of $230m
◊ Online bidders competed for 17% of lots offered in 2013
◊ The number of lots purchased online in 2013 increased 36% vs. 2012
◊ 26% of buyers in the first half of 2014 were new to Sotheby’s.
Christie’s offered some details on their first half numbers with the interesting turn of Greater Chinese buyers accounting for 24% of sales but Asian art down 8% as a category:
Auction sales increased 13% on the same period last year to £2.2 billion ($3.6 billion, up 23%).
Private Sales grew 7% totalling £498.9 million ($828.2 million, up 16%)
Online-only auctions continue to attract new buyers and sales of £8.7 million represent a 71% increase on the same period last year ($14.4 million, up 87%). Notably, 27% of buyers on the online platform were new, with visitors from over 170 countries.
Post-War & Contemporary Art had a record breaking six months with total sales of £799.9 million ($1.3 billion) up 20% on the same period in 2013 (30% in $).
The Impressionist & Modern Art department, which includes Modern British Art, realised sales of £565.9 million, up 37% on 2013 half year figures ($939.3 million, up 49%).
Christie’s Luxury categories also sold well with Jewellery, Watches and Wine sales together totalling £274.4 million, up 11% ($455.5 million, up 20%)
Old Masters, including 19th Century European paintings and Russian Art, which totalled £104.8 million, up 7% ($173.9 million, up 16%)
Arts of the Americas (American Art, Furniture & Works of Art and Latin American Art), which realised £61.1 million, up 7% ($101.5 million, up 16%).
There was a decrease of 22% on the same period last year for sales of Asian Art, which totalled £222.7 million ($369.6 million, down 15%).
New York sales were up 20% to £1.1 billion ($1.76 billion, up 31%).
EMERI totalled £872 million, up 12% ($1.45 billion, up 22%).
Asia sales declined on the same period to £254.7 million, a decrease of 8% ($422.8 million).
Sales to clients in Asia grew to 28% of overall activity, and 20% of all new clients to Christie’s were based in Asia. Buyers from Greater China accounted for 24% of total sales, a spend increase of 46% on first half 2014.
Colin Gleadell drills down into the returns on London’s Contemporary art sales. Finding massive short-term gains, he wonders how long this market can sustain itself, then offers a few cautionary reminders of former stars whose prices have faded. Gleadell is right to remind buyers of the fleeting fame of many artists but focusing on these gains is a bit misleading.
All that the disparity between prices paid at galleries and those achieved flipping at auction shows us is the volume of truly disposal wealth that many of today’s collectors have. Also, it is worth looking at an artist like Jacob Kassay (above) and the works that ignited a buying frenzy at auction 3 1/2 years ago. Among the same sale results was another untitled silver work that Phillips was able to sell within estimates and for price commensurate with his 2012 levels:
More remarkable than the record prices are the gains made on these works since they were acquired when first exhibited. Doig’s rainbow painting would have cost about £35,000 in 1999, and so represents an average annual gain of 44.2 per cent over 15 years. Anderson’s 2009 works have risen by an average of 78.4 per cent per annum, and Ghenie’s 2010 painting by an average 163 per cent per annum.
Yet these gains pale in comparison with those for the youngest generation of so-called “process” painters, such as Oscar Murillo and Lucien Smith, whose abstractions made with studio dust or spray guns have risen by as much as 3,000 per cent in a year on the back of unprecedented, rampant speculation.
Last week saw new records at Phillips for recent work by David Ostrowski (£170,500, or a 325 per cent increase on gallery prices) and Christian Rosa (£98,500, or a 300 per cent increase on gallery prices).
This is a phenomenon that no sane market can sustain, and scattered among the results were warnings from the past. A Damien Hirst spot painting bought in 2007 for £375,000 sold for £188,500; and a Matthias Weischer painting bought for £180,000 in 2007, when he was all the rage, sold last week for £86,500 – timely reminders that the value of contemporary art can go down as well as up.
Arts Sales: can the market sustain these rises? (Telegraph)
‘I Want to Be the Pharrel of Art’—Instagram Artist Donald Robertson Gets Profiled on CBS This Morning
If you want to buy some of Robertson’s work, click here.
An earlier profile of Robertson is here: This suburban dad is Instagram’s Andy Warhol (New York Post)
There was a lot of moaning last week about the London Old Master sales and how their results were tepid in comparison to the frenzied Contemporary art markets. But Colin Gleadell’s detailed recap—and evidence presented by Sotheby’s on the geographic origins of buyers—as well as the raw sales figures suggest something very different.
The Old Master market, like the Impressionist and Modern market, is thriving but constrained by supply. The supply limitations are of two types. There’s just not a ton of high quality work that hasn’t been on the market recently. As Gleadell shows, the flush of works held by aristocratic families for generations that animated these sales both at Sotheby’s and Christie’s provided much of the excitement. Sotheby’s got most of the attention but Gleadell points out that the right works at Christie’s also saw strong competition:
Eleven new artist’s records were also set, notably a large still life by Willem Claeszoon Heda, which had been in the same collection and in perfect, untouched condition, for 200 years. This which was bought by New York dealers French & Co, bidding against Richard Green, for a double-estimate £4.8 million.
So sparks were flying, and not just for brand-name artists. How many people, for instance, know about Giovanni da Rimini, the Master of the Half Lengths, or the Baroque painter, Luca Giordano – all record breakers at the sales? This is still a scholarly market at heart.
That last comment is worth pondering. The second form of supply constraint is the lack of education (you could call it marketing, if you like) for collectors—especially the growing number of non-Western buyers—to appreciate artists who are not household names.
Art Sales: new records for Old Masters (Telegraph)
Sotheby’s just released these stats from London underscoring the influx of new customers from around the world:
◊ First-time bidders came from 30 different countries
◊ Over 25% of bidders were either new to Sotheby’s’ or transacting in a new category for the first time
◊ A record 1,791 participants, coming from 72 countries 25% of the buyers were new to Sotheby’s Contemporary Art sales
◊ The highest ever average lot value for a Sotheby’s London Contemporary Art evening sale: £1.83m
◊ Bidding from Asia on Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko, Gerhard Richter, Adriana Varejão, Francis Bacon, Adrian Ghenie
◊ Record level of participation for an Old Master Evening Sale in London: 280 participants from 32 countries, with buyers from Asia, Russia, the Middle East, India and Latin America
◊ Russian Bidding: 20% of the lots in the Old Master Evening Sale attracted bids from Russian buyers
The past few months have been tough for Sotheby’s stock. The resolution of the company’s fight with activist investor Dan Loeb left the auction house’s stock walking a knife’s edge, the crucial $40 floor/ceiling price for the stock. When Sotheby’s trades above $40, the price acts as a floor bringing in buyers if it falls too low. But once the stock is below $40, the price acts as a ceiling with investors selling every time the price approaches the magic $40 number.
Sotheby’s successful Impressionist and Modern sale briefly shot the stock through the $40 ceiling. But an overall lack of momentum and a broader market downdraft pulled the stock back under the price barrier.
Bloomberg is giving Dan Loeb credit for today’s move with eBay. That hardly seems fair to Sotheby’s management. After all, there’s plenty of history between eBay and Sotheby’s—not all of it good.
eBay advisor, Josh Baer, won’t comment on the negotiations but a deal like this would have taken a fair bit more time arrange than two months since the board fight was resolved.
Today, the market is up and Sotheby’s (BID) is up even more, rising more than 1% on the eBay news. Time will tell whether buyers will come in the next time BID flirts with the $40 floor but the eBay arrangement gives them something more than hope to build upon.