In a victory of reporting over speculation, Sarah Douglas offers a detailed anaysis of Jacob Kassay’s explosive emergence on the secondary market at Phillips de Pury’s day sale. Rather than being the product of an art dealer’s plot to boost the artist’s price, the sales seem to be little more than a rush of demand meeting a very limited supply with the artist already having a waiting list 80 names long.
Instead of relying on hearsay, Douglas spoke to all the relevant players from Pace Galleries Marc Glimcher to Kassay’s dealer, Oliver Antoine:
Antoine says he was surprised by the $86,500 price at Phillips. “I thought it would go to $30,000 or $40,000,” he says. “This was a lot. We then understood that people were excited about the work and would pay this amount.” In the immediate aftermath of the sale, Antoine first received, then placed, a series of phone calls. “Just after the hammer went down, I got calls and emails from people I had never heard of,” he says. “They were asking for work, and I had to tell them that our priority is on museums, and people who are on the boards of museums.” He then called all of the clients who had purchased pieces from the show in May, and asked if they had any intention of selling their paintings. “They are all very good collectors,” he says. “None of them wanted to sell.” […]
One dealer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, claimed that that no fewer than seven Kassays — three large paintings going for prices around $120,000, and smaller pieces for around $20,000 — had passed through his hands after the two sales. At least one collector is known to have been offered $80,000 for a Kassay he purchased in the low five figures.