Kenny Schachter is entranced by the guarantee game. He peppers his Contemporary auction report with several comments on the third-party guarantees. One of the big questions Schachter raises is the relationship between Lévy Gorvy (which Schachter says signed up for a number of Christie’s lots) and Francois Pinault who has often acted as a guarantor to Christie’s sales and has been close to both of the principals at the firm.
Pinault’s balance sheet may not have been necessary. After all, an expanded Lévy Gorvy serving the “masterpiece market” is going to need a few masterpieces in inventory. There’s also competition for that inventory in the form of guarantees as Schachter points out. Filtering the industry gossip, Kenny fingers David Geffen for the guarantee on Basquiat’s La Hara which was being sold by Steven Cohen but went to a buyer above the estimate range instead of the guarantor.
Not so at least one of the major lots which Schachter discovered but doesn’t comment upon. Pay attention to the round number on the Warhol which suggests the buyer was the guarantor:
on exiting the room, both Laurence Graff and Peter Brant were congratulated by Christies execs. Why? After some post-sale digging, I gathered that Graff bought Warhol’s Last Supper for $18,727,500 (est. $6 million – $8 million) and a Picabia for $3,367,500 (est. $1.5 million to $2 million); Brant, for his part, picked up Warhol’s Big Campbell’s Soup Can with Can Opener (Vegetable) for $27,500,000 (est. on request).