The Art Newspaper looks into sales by Poland’s hybrid auction house-gallery-art fund Abbey House where artists work for a stipend and the gallery sells their work via auction retaining works for later sale. The structure suggests an almost inevitable temptation to support the sales of the first works to establish a higher value for the fund’s holdings. At least, that’s the inference drawn from reading this:
In July 2011, a painting by the relatively unknown artist Agata Kleczkowska—Untitled, 2010—sold for Z160,000 ($47,300). Her work had never sold at auction before, and many in the trade say the price was surprising, given that the internationally acclaimed artist Wilhelm Sasnal’s record at a Polish auction is Z103,000 ($30,000, set on 16 November 2008 at Agra-Art, Warsaw, with Untitled, 2002—however, Sasnal’s prices on the international market are much higher. In May 2007, Airplanes, 1999, sold at Christie’s, New York, for $396,000—an auction record for the artist). Kokoszka says that the artist’s success is a “natural consequence of a well-prepared and executed communication and promotion campaign for the artist”.
[…] “Nothing has changed for these artists in the past two to three years to warrant such a price increase; no major exhibitions or sales,” says Michal Suchora, a co-founder of the BWA gallery. […]
“Abbey House is not concerned with art but with financial instruments,” says Lukasz Gorczyca, the co-director of Raster Gallery in Warsaw. “If they sell a painting for Z160,000 [$47,300], then the other ten works they have in stock will increase the company’s value by Z1.6m [$473,000]. That’s why this isn’t about art.”
Eyebrow Raising Price Hikes for Polish Artists (The Art Newspaper)