Christie’s has put out the catalogue for September 23rd’s First Open sale. Sotheby’s should be along shortly. These mid-season sales combine minor works and tryout sales for lesser artists with some perennial names that only appear in the these semi-annual sales. When the sales first appeared, they were a sign of the contemporary art market over-flowing the confines of the traditional day sales. So their continued health is a sign of the persistence of the Contemporary market even in adversity.
Christie’s cover lot is a 22-inch square Flower painting commissioned by the Sculls. It’s estimated at $500-700,000. The other big estimate is for Kerry James Marshall’s Terra Incognita from 1991 estimated at $300-400,000. Those are real numbers. A small Murakami flower painting that was bought at Gagosian in the last two years makes an appearance as do Friedl Dzubas and Richard Anuszkiewicz.
Finally, the above Adolph Gottlieb painting, Flat Black, was sold at Christie’s in a November 2006 day sale for $132,000 against a $50-70,000 estimate. It’s back with a $90-120,000 estimate and, no doubt, the consignors are hoping to have a similar performance.