Sotheby’s Ted Loos remarks upon the two artists whose work seemed to be omnipresent in the secondary market booths at ABMB this past week. The first was Richard Prince whose works were part of the background noise during the New York sales in November. None of the images on offer was important enough to have an impact on the artist’s market but a fair number of works were offered in the day sales with some doing decent commerce and others getting bought in. Sotheby’s, in particular, seemed to have the hardest time moving the Prince merchandise. Prince’s private market may be better. It may not.
Ted Loos also noticed another artist who seemed to be everywhere all at once. Ignore the hackneyed and out-of-date comment about art collector’s discounting Mitchell because of her sex. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone espousing that opinion these days. Nonetheless, Mitchell’s market seems to be in motion. During the New York sales, late works by Mitchell from the 80s and 90s did exceptionally well. And Sotheby’s got the fourth highest price at auction for a large untitled Mitchell which made $6.2m even though estimates were much higher:
Joan Mitchell is slightly more of a surprise. I ran into Gary Tinterow – new director of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and former top curator at the Met – right as I was marveling at two ravishing Mitchell canvases:Toothpaste, 1987, and When They Were Gone, 1977, at Edward Tyler Nahem Gallery. “She’s a wonderful painter and she was a bit overlooked,” he told me about the second generation Abstract Expressionist, who died in 1992. “People didn’t pay as much attention to her because of the men she came up with in the art world.”
Perhaps not as overlooked at this particular fair, though: Cheim & Read had two Mitchell beauties, A Moi, 1990 and Unititled, 1957, and Acquavella Galleries offered Mitchells’ Edouard, 1980. Perhaps last year’s acclaimed biography of the artist by Patricia Albers has rekindled interest in this great painter. In any case, I’ll be interested to find out how these great-looking works do in terms of collector interest.
Things Have Heated Up in Miami (Sotheby’s)