The new art market cliche is that all the speculators and flippers have left; the true collectors remain. Regular readers of Art Market Monitor will know that our position is that we have met the speculators and they are collectors. Meaning: most big money buyers are not speculators but eager owners.
To bolster our position, here’s Artnet.com’s Walter Robinson on the price action at Phillips de Pury’s Under the Influence sale yesterday:
The top lot, and a new artist’s record, was Kelly Walker’s I See a Teddy Roosevelt-Shaped Thing (2002), a large wall-hung Rorschach design made of two sheets of colored cut plastic that was originally shown at Paula Cooper Gallery in the fall of 2003. It sold for $146,500, above the presale high estimate of $120,000. Walker is one of several new painters whose graphic, postmodernist work is in high demand among collectors; his former auction record, $57,600, was set at Christie’s in 2007.
Other top lots in the sale included Mark Handforth’s Bearded Snake (2005), a sinuous strip of heavy, spray-painted rebar with a lit candle on the end (acquired for $20,000, a market price, at a benefit exhibition at White Columns only ten months ago), which sold for $116,500,
More than a four-fold return after fees and commissions in ten months, that looks like a speculator’s dream.
Art Market Watch (Artnet.com)