Adam Lindemann chose four pivotal trades that defined the recovering art market of 2010:
- In February, in the sale of the Lenz Collection, Sotheby’s set records for several vintage artists from the German Zero Group, artists who had for the most part been forgotten. In the Lenz sale, the Yves Klein predictably made good money, and so did Italian Arte Povera favorites like Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni. But Zero artist Gunther Uecker made $1.3 million; an Otto Piene fetched half a million; and when even a Jef Verheyen sold for $180,000, it proved the historic Zero Group of artists were back. The hunger for prime Arte Povera has run so high that dealers sensed this Zero work looked like an aesthetic parallel, but at low prices with still plenty of upside.
- Urs Fischer has enjoyed some great shows at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery, the New Museum and a tour de force at the Peter Brant Foundation. Despite a 10-year career, he was still an auction virgin. So when collectors got a shot (normally, there’s a big waiting list for his work) at a classic Fischer candle sculpture from 2001, they bid it up to just over a million dollars.
- A 1990 Christopher Wool painting (Blue Fool) hit a whopping $5 million. His early “word” paintings have always been sought after, and when a few collectors hoarded up most of them, these paintings became scarce, but $5 million was a healthy jump from his previous record of $3.6 million. The good abstract works of this artist don’t command the same dollars, leaving me to wonder if the market is a bit myopic.
- A Maurizio Cattelan untitled self-portrait from 2001 (the sculpture showed the artist’s head poking up through the museum floor) rocketed to an astounding $8 million, firmly establishing him as one of the top artists of his generation in the market.
Why Is the Art Market Rising? (Observer.com)