Katya Kazakina has a preview of next week’s Contemporary sales in London by focusing on the flippers, buyers who are reselling at auction works that were created in previous three years. According to Artnet, there were 4023 works flipped at auction at the height of the last boom in 2007. Since the return of the art market in 2011, at least 7300 immature works have been sold at auction each year. That’s a consistent 75% increase and staying steady:
“There is a specific breed of collector who subspecializes in the young, emerging market,” [Todd] Levin said. “In some cases, they work very hard to acquire positions in these artists, purchasing large numbers of their works.”
Kazakina effectively profiles one of these flippers, Stefan Simchowitz, and the artists he is accumulating:
As traders seek to lock up profits, a picture can change hands five or six times within a year, Simchowitz said.
One of the most coveted young artists is Colombian-born, London-based Oscar Murillo, 28, who is known to paint with a broomstick. In 2011, his works were priced from $2,500 to $8,500, according to dealer Francois Ghebaly, who sold them at a Miami art fair.
Last year, 24 Murillo pieces generated a combined $4.8 million at auction, according to Artnet. The priciest was the 2011 canvas “Untitled (Drawings off the wall)” marked with doodles, dirt and stains, which sold for a record $401,000 at Phillips in New York on Sept. 19. The consignor acquired it for about $7,000 in 2011, according to Simchowitz, meaning a profit of 5,600 percent.
Simchowitz said he has bought 34 Murillo works for himself since 2011 for as little as $1,500 a painting, and at least 30 more for clients including actor Orlando Bloom and Steven E. Tisch, co-owner of the New York Giants football team.
“Oscar is a giant, something we haven’t seen in a long time,” Simchowitz said in a telephone interview.