Lindsay Pollock reports for the Art Newspaper on the mood at Art Basel:
For the first time in around a year, there was a palpable energy at a contemporary art fair as collectors unleashed pent-up buying power. Deals closed fast and furiously, both on the ground floor, amid million dollars price tags, and upstairs where the newer art commanded around $20,000 to several hundred thousand. Economists would have been mystified at the spending patterns of the art collecting elite. It was as if the worldwide recession was a thing of the past, or at least momentarily forgotten.
“I’m not saying the bull market is back,” said art adviser Sandy Heller, who works with Steve Cohen and other hedge fund collectors. “But I’m saying the art market needed a good fair and this is it.” […]
Sales were also clipping along on the upper floor (2.1), where the most recent art is presented. London dealer Sadie Coles (2.1/A6) sold John Currin’s 2009 Grey Girl, depicting a fair haired, bare-breasted woman, for $450,000 to an unnamed American collector. “Everyone was nervous yesterday, but the fair has gone extremely well today,” says Coles. “It will boost everyone’s confidence.”
Buyers noticed the action. “There was high quality material on the primary market and active trading going on,” said New York advisor Allan Schwartzman. “A number of things I was interested in were on hold or sold.”
Also on the second floor, the South African Goodman Gallery (2.1/U4) sold a 1993 Marlene Dumas—the recent subject of a MoMA retrospective—The Blonde, for over €100,000.
Preview Sales Defy All Expectations (The Art Newspaper)