Private sales are all the rage and Bloomberg‘s Scott Reyburn doesn’t want to be left out of the action. But there’s something a little less than private in dealer Simon Edsor’s broadcasting the top prices of Kip Forbes’ Victorian works even if he doesn’t specify them. Further twisting the tail, Edsor takes a little poke at Artnet too:
Forbes, 58, an admirer of Victorian painting, has offered 36 works with a total value of 7.8 million pounds ($12.9 million) to London dealers the Fine Art Society, Simon Edsor, one of the directors of the New Bond Street gallery, said in a telephone interview.
“You’re more in control of the price when you sell through a dealer,” Edsor said. […] “One of the problems with Web sites like Artnet is that it has made auction prices such a public thing,” Edsor said.
Seven works with a maximum price of 185,000 pounds have found buyers, Edsor said. The dealership was not prepared to specify which items had sold, though artists featured in the Forbes consignment include J.M.W. Turner, J.M. Whistler and J.E. Millais, he said.
But it turns out for all of the boasting about private sales that these marked down goods have languished without a buyer for several years:
Forbes sold the greater part of his collection of 19th- century British paintings for 16.9 million pounds at auction at Christie’s, London, in February 2003. The majority of the Forbes consignments were among the 25 percent of lots that failed to sell at the Christie’s auction, Edsor said. Two works priced at undisclosed “significant sums” were currently on offer to museums, he said.
Victorian art has declined in popularity among wealthy collectors in recent years. Only 49 percent of works succeeded at a 3 million-pound sale of Victorian art held by Sotheby’s in London on July 15.
Forbes’s $12.9 Million Art, Killers Picture, Scrimshaw for Sale (Bloomberg)