Last week’s Latin American sales were chock full of the distinctive chromatic works of Venezuelan artist (and Parisian resident) Carlos Cruz-Diez. Though there were no runaway bidding battles driving the prices on individual works through the million-dollar mark–a not unimportant milestone for the artist–, there were plenty of buyers for the eight works that sold. Perhaps more important as an indicator of Cruz-Diez’s market, according to Artnet’s artist report kindly provided by the research firm those 8 works combined nearly matched the artists total auction sales for 2011, the year before his retrospective at MUAC in Mexico City. And we are only halfway through the year. At this pace, 2014 is likely to see the largest dollar volume ever spent on the artist at the highest average price.
Note in the chart above, drawn from Artnet’s data, that the avg price remains steady over the last three years and 2014’s volume is already more than half of the 2012 peak.
Like many artists, a major museum show had a transformative effect on his market. Four of the artist’s five top prices were set in 2012 and the overall highest price came the year after. Both top prices and average prices made a big jump in 2012 with the artist’s average price of $181k holding stable so far in 2014.
The chart above shows the number of works that sold above the estimate range. You can see that advancing prices remain strong, though results show estimates calibrating toward demand with fewer surprise results.
This last chart shows just how recent the phenomenon of Cruz Diez selling at auction is. The 90-year-old artist has only seen significant sales in the last 10 years. But his work does have a functioning foundation that maintains a website for the artist’s work and is creating a catalogue raisonné.