It’s time for the Art Basel in Miami Beach you-are-there stories of artists, dealers and collectors. The NYTimes’s Brett Sokol has a good fly-on-the-wall account of Miami dealer Fred Snitzer’s successful week that included strong sales of Hernan Bas’s work.
Both Bas and Snitzer are examples of local Miami-mad-good stories. But lurking in the narrative is a reminder of how precarious art-world careers can be.
Snitzer is no longer Bas’s primary gallery:
Yet these latest paintings went to Mr. Snitzer “out of loyalty,” Mr. Bas explained. “Sometimes artists go off to work with big names and they learn the hard way.”
Mr. Bas pointed to his experience with the buzz-laden New York gallerist Daniel Reich. After Mr. Reich committed suicide in 2013, The New York Times saluted him as among a group of innovative young dealers ‘‘tacking against the trend toward a more button-down, sleek, big-money business.” Mr. Reich had great success placing Mr. Bas’s paintings with marquee collectors. But Mr. Bas said that receiving payment was another matter: “He just stopped returning my calls and responding to my emails. When he died, he owed me $140,000.” Mr. Bas added that several of his artist friends had similarly struggled to collect on sales from well-known dealers. “It’s so much more rampant than anyone talks about.” By way of contrast, he concluded warmly, “Papa Snitzer has always been there for me.”
On the Trail of the Sale at Art Basel Miami Beach (The New York Times)