Bloomberg‘s Scott Reyburn previews the Frieze art fair auctions in London with the now familiar scare statistics: volume down 70-80% and prices off 50%. But the sub-theme to the story is the growing importance of private sales to the auction houses. Here Reyburn quotes Phillips de Pury’s Anthony McNerney:
“Private sales are the way forward,” McNerney said. “Collectors realize that auction houses have huge client bases. The trick is not to show the works to too many of those clients.”
But not everyone is toeing the party line. Christie’s Francis Outred makes noises that price stability has returned and with it, he expects, will come auction confidence and activity. Meanwhile, Reyburn lists the highlights:
The highlights of Christie’s evening auction are Martin Kippenberger’s 1991 painting “Paris Bar,” estimated at 800,000 pounds to 1.2 million pounds, and Peter Doig’s 1994 canvas “Pine House (Rooms for Rent),” at 1.5 million pounds to 2.5 million pounds.
Kippenberger’s 13-foot-wide depiction of the Berlin bar that was once frequented by himself, David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Andy Warhol has been entered by a European collector and has never been offered at auction before. The artist died in 1997, aged 44.
Doig’s painting of a house by a river is being re-offered, having failed to achieve its low estimate of $4.5 million at Christie’s New York in November, when it was guaranteed.
Sotheby’s 177-lot sale on the afternoon of Oct. 16 is expected to fetch between 9 million pounds and 13 million pounds. The company’s equivalent event last year, held in the evening, contained 62 works valued at a minimum of 30.6 million pounds. […] Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1983 acrylic and oilstick painting “Fuego Flores” is the most highly estimated lot at Sotheby’s, at up to 1.2 million pounds. […]
Phillips’s evening auction on Oct. 17 contains 44 works with a low estimate of 5 million pounds. Last October, when guarantees were available, it offered 70 lots with a minimum valuation of 18.6 million pounds.
Basquiat’s 1983 painting “Year of the Boar,” carries an estimate of up to 1.2 million pounds, while two large-scale paintings by Kippenberger entered by his former Austrian-based dealer Gabriella Bleich-Rossi are expected to fetch up to 500,000 pounds and 600,000 pounds each.
An archive of material relating to Kippenberger will be offered for private sale by Bleich-Rossi through Phillips for an undisclosed price in October.
Contemporary-Art Auction Values Drop 81% as Sellers Hold Back (Bloomberg)