Scott Reyburn debuts in the International New York Times with his recap of the London sales. His overall take on the fortnight frenzy is that there’s a new group of global buyers acquiring art as short-term assets. He cites Pierre Chen and David Martinez as figures at the top of the trend, sophisticated financial players who have been happily buying and selling with shorter (though still multi-year) time horizons.
Reyburn makes this observation that is key to the odd nature of art as an asset, namely that premium prices are paid for art works that have been validated for non-financial reasons. In the process he reveals that buyer of the Krugier/Marina Picasso Minotaure:
Paradoxically, for all the talk of art gaining credibility as an asset class, buyers still place an almost nostalgic premium on works that emerge from “connoisseurial” collections. Sotheby’s Feb. 5-6 auction of 119 drawings from the private collection of the Swiss dealer Jan Krugier, who died in 2008, was a complete sell-out, raising 74.8 million pounds.
Picasso’s 1936 hallucinatory “Composition (Composition au Minotaure),” was among the many 19th- and 20th-century drawings that attracted at least half a dozen bidders.
Sourced directly from Marina Picasso, the artist’s granddaughter, it topped the sale with a price of £10.4 million, an auction record for a Picasso work on paper. The telephone buyer was identified by dealers as the New York collector Leon Black.
Key to the success of the sale were perceptions that Krugier had acquired the drawings for his own personal pleasure, rather than profit, over the course of 40 years.
For the Love of Art, and Money (NYTimes)