Bloomberg‘s Scott Reyburn recaps Art Basel with these observations:
“The Russians aren’t here, the English aren’t here, the Asians aren’t here,” Thaddaeus Ropac, director of the Paris-and Salzburg-based gallery Ropac, said in an interview. “Yet business is surprisingly good. It’s the core European collectors who are buying. Volume is down, though,” he said.
Per Skarstedt gave this comment on how dealers are pricing their work:
“Some dealers are asking old prices and saying, ‘Make me an offer.’ I’ve lowered my prices at least 30 percent and give a small discount,” he said.
And, of course, dealers continue to emphasize that the balance of power in the art trade has shifted back toward them:
“Collectors are feeling much more comfortable with finding market value through negotiated sales,” Paul L. Gray, director of the Chicago- and New York-based Richard Gray Gallery, said in an interview. “We’re being offered works to sell because of the economic downturn.”
“My impression walking around the exhibition was that there was more going on the lower floor where the more traditional art is, and less on the upper floor where the absence of the younger buyers — perhaps the hedge fund manager who dares not show his face — was noticeable,” said Kunsthalle Geneva Deputy Director Victoria Preston.
ArtInfo.com‘s Sarah Douglas gathered these sales:
- Robert Mnuchin at L&M Arts revealed that in the fair’s opening hours he’d sold a large Donald Judd copper stack from 1987.
- David Zwirner parted with works by Gordon Matta-Clark, Francis Alÿs, Adel Abdessemed, On Kawara, Luc Tuymans, and others.
- Lehmann Maupin: Mickalene Thomas […] It sold on the fair’s first day, for $55,000.
- Richard Feigen sold 10 works by the late Ray Johnson, for prices ranging from $16,000 to $36,000.
- Mitchell-Innes & Nash sold pieces by Cy Twombly and Jean Tinguely
- Contemporary Fine Arts, a number of pieces had sold in the fair’s first few hours, including a large sculpture by Thomas Houseago and a sizable painting by Georg Baselitz that, at €375,000 ($528,000)
- Berlin and Leipzig gallery Eigen+Art, owner Gerd Harry Lybke was ebullient. Among other works, he’d parted with a large new painting by David Schnell, for €60,000.
Basel Grins and Bears Pre-Boom Prices (ArtInfo.com)