Before the auction, collectors and dealers were speculating about whether it was risky to sell nearly 20 works by Mr. Thiebaud in one night. He has a passionate following among collectors, particularly on the West Coast, but people wondered if too much of a good thing would flood the market, thereby depressing prices. […] After the sale, officials at Sotheby’s said Asians and Europeans had bought Mr. Thiebaud’s works, as well as Americans.
“I remember in the 1970’s when you couldn’t give those Thiebauds away,” Frances Beatty Adler, a Manhattan dealer, said after the sale.
Asians and Europeans may have added accelerant to the Thiebaud fire but the main fuel supply remains the traditional art market which values Thiebaud’s work like a cult (or likes to claim that they do), judging by Judd Tully’s reporting:
- The room was packed with Thiebaud fanatics. “I’m a deep collector of Thiebaud,” said New YorkerAlan Meckler, who nabbed “Eye Glasses,” a modest-sized 1971 work of pastel and graphite on paper for $566,500 (est. $200-300,000).
- “It’s a market unto itself,” said New York and Los Angeles art advisor Barbara Guggenheim of Guggenheim Asher Associates, after she bought Thiebaud’s “Nude, Back View,” a 72-inch-high oil-on-canvas from 1969. “It dances to its own drum.” Guggenheim said that the nude she bought “holds up against a Freud and almost everything else.”
- “Various Cakes,” which sold to Alex Berggruen, the twentysomething scion of the Berggruen art-dealing family and newly hired financial artist at New York’s BlackRock group, for $2,994,500 (est. $1.2-1.8 million).
Art from Allan Stone Estate is Big Draw at Sotheby’s (New York Times)