Colin Gleadell adds a new exhibition to the train of recent shows of Jean Dubuffet’s work. The artist has gone in and out of favor on the market. But while out of favor, Gleadell explains, Timothy Taylor has spent 20 years snapping up works. Those will be on offer at his gallery starting this weekend with prices ranging from $280k to $3.8m.
Gleadell helpfully offers a concise timeline of Dubuffet’s market:
In 1989 when the Japanese were running riot in the art market, they took a shine to Dubuffet. In 1990, before the global recession struck, prices for some of his most sought after paintings from the early 1960s rose to almost $5 million.
But after that, Dubuffet prices plunged along with the rest of the modern art market, much of which still has yet to recover. However, a few of those post-war European artists – Yves Klein, Alberto Burri, Lucio Fontana, for example – are breaking new ground again, and Dubuffet is there amongst that group says Hugues Joffre, Phillips’s experienced post-war European art expert.
Last year, a large Paris painting, Paris Polka, 1961, sold for a staggering $24.8 million. Even disregarding that price, there has been no mistaking the pull of a new generation of art buyers to his work. Last week, 14 works by Dubuffet were offered by Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips in New York and only one was unsold. Top price was an above estimate $5 million (£3.4 million) for a 1954 painting of a cow, Vache a l’Herbage, paid by the art advisor Philippe Segalot at Sotheby’s, which was double the price the same painting sold for 10 years ago. Another painting from the 1950s – a rare example, according to Joffre, from the artist’s series of beard paintings – doubled estimates to sell for $3.1 million.