Dealer Wants Christie’s to Pay 10yrs Interest on Work with Restitution Claim: Ten years ago, French art dealer Alain Dreyfus bought a small Sisley painting of the first day of Spring in Moret for $338,500. A year or so ago, the Canadian restitution hunter, Mondex, contacted Dreyfus to claim the painting as a work looted by the Nazi from the Lindon family. Dreyfus is willing to return the work but he blames Christie’s for the mistake and wants the auction house to make him whole.
- “A month ago, his company sent an invoice for € 700,000 to the Christie’s branch in Zurich. Because the art dealer claims interest, in addition to the price paid in 2008. “It’s normal, he says. If a buyer does not pay on time, Christie’s asks for 16% interest. I ask half, 8%. As he has no answer, he will now take the prosecution office in Basel for an unpaid bill.”
Dreyfus’s lawyer claims Christie’s should have known the Wildenstein name appearing after a significant gap in the provenance was a warning sign. The thing is, Christie’s listed that in the provenance. Dreyfus still bought it. Moreover, it is unlikely that the small work is worth $338,500 today even if it were possible to sell it. …
Who Made Zao Wou-ki’s Market? This morning on Instagram, Lévy Gorvy’s Brett Gorvy paid tribute to the retrospective of Zao Wou-ki’s work that just opened at the Musee de l’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris that some are calling the show of the year. “L’espace est silence” comes at a time when Zao’s market is on fire which prompted Gorvy to write this claim on his post:
- “In January 2017 @levygorvy organized an important exhibition in New York that paired Zao Wou-Ki with his contemporary Willem de Kooning, and it was wonderful to feel the extraordinary visual and gestural dialogue between the two artists over the course of their very long careers. This show was followed with a succession of record prices at auction, with Zao Wou-Ki consistently breaking the US$20 million mark over the past year especially – last week Christie’s in Hong Kong sold a 1959 painting for US$22 million.”
The inescapable inference is that Lévy Gorvy’s show—which did a far better job of showing de Kooning to a Chinese audience than it did showcasing Zao to Westerners—provoked the new prices (as opposed to the anticipation of Paris MAM show or renewed Chinese demand.) Though it is true that six of Zao’s top 20 prices were achieved at auction since Lévy Gorvy’s show, his peak year of sales volume was in 2013. Indeed, the entire Zao market roughly tracks Chinese buying in general. The first year sales totaled more than $100m was 2011 when the Chinese first entered the global art market in a meaningful way both at home and abroad. The buying peaked in 2013 and steadily fell as China’s economy absorbed growth and the government imposed controls on capital leaving Mainland China. Last year there was a sharp uptick within 10% of 2013’s record public sales volume. …
Inc. Magazine Buys Into the Art & Blockchain Hype: Yesterday we referenced the magazine cover indicator. Today, Inc. Magazine suggests we’ve already reached a peak in art & blockchain hype. They didn’t put this interview on the cover but their writer, Kevin Koetsier, seems to have been impressed when he discovered that there’s a utopian idea that all of the world’s valuable art will someday be on the blockchain. Though no one can explain how that’s going to happen:
- Last month I spent a week in Moscow where I spoke at the Skolkova Robotics Forum on Smart Matter: 4 Things That Are Making Every “Thing” Smart. While there, I happened to visit a very unique gallery in the heart of Russia’s top cybernetics institute, the National University of Science and Technology, or MISiS. There, I met Anna Karganova, the director of the Russian Abstract Art Foundation, and Olga Uskova, its president. (Olga is also a scientist, CEO, and self driving car technologist.) After viewing some of the art, our conversation surprisingly turned to blockchain. To put it mildly, that’s not what I expected from an art historian. …
FIAC Releases List of 2018 Gallery Participants: There will be 25 countries represented at FIAC this Fall:
- This 45th edition of FIAC is notably marked by the return of 13 major international galleries: Hauser & Wirth (London, Somerset, New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Zurich); Gmurzynska (Zurich, St. Moritz); The Breeder (Athens); Canada (New York); Ghebaly Gallery (Los Angeles); High Art (Paris); Rodolphe Janssen (Brussels); Paul Kasmin (New York); Modern Art (London); Salon 94 (New York); Tim Van Laere (Antwerp); Tucci Russo (Torino); Anne de Villepoix (Paris); and the first participation of 12 galleries: 80M2 Livia Benavides (Lima); Antenna Space (Shanghai); Bergamin & Gomide (São Paulo); Gerhardsen Gerner (Oslo, Berlin); Magician Space (Beijing), including 7 in the Lafayette Sector: Arcadia Missa (London); Sandy Brown (Berlin); Document Space (Chicago); Jan Kaps (Köln); LOMEX (New York); Edouard Montassut (Paris); and Bonny Poon (Paris).