Sotheby’s has an interesting new take on a perennial problem in the art market, the lack of supply. Unlike other markets, supply in art has two different dimensions. There’s the physical availability of art works which paradoxically becomes more constrained as works become more valuable an therefore dear to their owners. And then there’s the other supply constraint, categories of works and artists that could be valuable to someone but for which there’s an underdeveloped market.
This second category is the one that holds the most promise for dealers and auction houses. Today, Sotheby’s announces a new sale aimed at developing these markets:
Sotheby’s will hold an inaugural 20th Century Art – A Different Perspective sale in London on 12 November 2014, featuring modern art from countries across Europe and around the Mediterranean by artists who have a strong regional following but are not yet part of the international mainstream. Leading the sale is a group of works by artists who were at the forefront of the intellectual avant-garde in Europe between the First and Second World Wars. Their principal occupation was the exploration of non-figurative art and in the pursuit of art’s highest form of purity they decreed that painting must be abstract. The auction, comprising 74 lots, also features a strong selection of early twentieth-century figurative works by artists who had assimilated the tenets of impressionist and cubist painting.
Non-Figurative Art Highlights Include:
· Composition néo-plastique by Dutch artist César Domela, one of the artist’s most significant works and one of the few paintings by Domela from the early 1920s remaining in private hands (estimate: £400,000-600,000, illustrated above).
· Composition no. 56 by German artist Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart, painted in 1930 and an anticipation of Op-Art (estimate: £120,000-180,000).
· Three Difficult Absences by Czech artist Mikusláš Medek who set off to find his own very personal and idiosyncratic abstraction (estimate: £40,000-60,000).
Figurative Art Highlights Include:
· Cubist Figure by Otakar Kubin painted in Paris circa 1914 and an important rediscovery from the artist’s Cubist period (estimate: £80,000-120,000).
· Sea by Hungarian artist Károly Ferenczy painted in 1904 and one of only two known sea views (estimate: £80,000-120,000).
· Pfälzische Weinernte (Wine Harvest in The Palatinate) by German artist Max Selvogt, one of a triumvirate of German Impressionists (estimated: £140,000-180,000).