Many observers complained about the size of the Frieze sales at Sotheby’s and Christie’s. The value was down by 80%, they said. The art market must be a wasteland. But Colin Gleadell shows how the price point hardly diminishes the ferocity when a collector is in passionate pursuit of a picture. This Hurvin Anderson beach scene is just one example. Gleadell offers the details on others below (all bullet points are direct quotes from Gleadell):
- A shoot-out between Charles Saatchi and Monsoon fashion chain owner, Peter Simon, brought back memories of the contemporary art boom at Sotheby’s on Friday. The battle was over a large, 2003 painting of bathers on a tourist beach in Trinidad by British artist, Hurvin Anderson, whose work rarely surfaces at auction. […] Nowadays his gallery prices are nearer £30,000 for a big, new painting. Saatchi has managed to buy two examples at the more recent shows, but the Sotheby’s sale last week was the first chance he had to claim a work from that first exhibition. Estimated at £20,000 to £30,000 the ’Untitled (Beach Scene)’ was subject to a three way bidding war between Saatchi, Simon and the Gagosian Gallery before it finally fell to Saatchi for a record £97,250.
- ’Afro Apparitions’, a gorgeously hot romantic painting by Chris Ofili, complete with zillions of iridescent dots and elephant dung, soared over estimate to sell for £577,250. The buyers were the well known Iranian collectors, Eskander and Fatima Maleki.
- More fortunate was the collector Carlos de la Cruz from Miami who bought a painting of flocked wallpaper by New York based artist, Rudolf Stingel for £289,250. This painting had been vastly overestimated last year when it was offered for £500,000 and not sold.
- The buyer, who was bidding through Christie’s director of Russia, Matthew Stephenson, also paid record prices for works by the Chinese artist, Li Songsong, from the Saatchi collection ($433,250), and by the German artist, Neo Rauch ($892,250).