Josh Levine is an Arizona appraiser who also owns two auction outlets in Scottsdale and Glendale. He recently held an auction that illustrates the interesting blend of local and international selling that now defines the middle market of art transactions.
Although these sales don’t generate the publicity of New York and London’s marquee auctions, they represent a better and broader gauge of the interest in art objects of all kinds:
I was curious to see what the market would bear at a well-publicized public local auction. You will see pieces like these turn up in the major auction houses all over the world, but with the advent of social media and online marketing, these classes of items are showing up more regionally as in this case.
I understand that these artists are not household names like Dali, Picasso and Chagall, but in the art collector’s world, they are fairly well known.
Harry Bertoia, was an Italian-American artist, sculptor and modern furniture designer born in 1915. His sculptures can be found all over the world, and many of his furniture designs are still in production today.
Our Scottsdale auction house featured a sound sculpture that stood approximately 55 inches tall. It was an odd form constructed of brass and melt-coated copper.
Produced in 1956, it created quite a lot of buzz prior to the sale. People flew into town to inspect it and we received many phone calls prior to the sale.
The bidding was furious, opening at $50,000, and by the time it was said and done, a phone bidder won the piece for $120,000, eclipsing the $70,000 to $90,000 pre-auction estimate.
What’s killing it: Contemporary, modern art (AZ Central)