Los Angeles Modern Auctions Spring Sale = $2.37m: LAMA set a new auction record for Mary Corse when an untitled work (White Gird Light) from 1988 which was estimated at $60-90k made $312,500. Another untitled work, this time by Ruth Asawa, (S.809) which was estimated at between $100 and $150k also made $312,500. …
Sotheby’s Modern British Week Makes £20.63m: Four sales held across two days saw 221 lots sold for £20,632,000 / $27,539,593 (est. £15.4-23.6 million). Some highlights were:
- Sir Stanley Spencer’s Christ Preaching at Cookham Regatta: Punts by the River, appeared on the market for the first time since it was acquired in 1959 – the year after it was painted – and sold for £3,370,000.
- Ben Nicholson saw the large-scale relief 1966 (IOS) mmake £1,210,000; July 1960 (Green and Black) achieved a triple-estimate £406,000; drawing 1940 (Gouache) also tripled its estimate to make £187,500.
- Dame Barbara Hepworth’s alabaster Spiralfrom 1959 brought £1,270,000 and Henry Moore’s Rocking Chair No. 2 sold for £910,000.
- William Roberts’ Barber’s Shop, which sold for £406,000, and two monumental canvases by William Scott both making their auction debuts from important Irish collections, with iridescent Berlin Blues 2 at £730,000 and rich ochre Dark Earth Scheme at £430,000.
- A new auction record was established for F.C.B. Cadell, the Scottish Colourist, when his painting Reflection from 1915 sold for £874,000. A group of over 30 pictures from one of the most exceptional collections of Scottish Colourist works in private ownership brought a combined total of £4,517,375.
- The sale saw strong prices for Cadell – The White Room, also painted in 1915, commanded an above-estimate £670,000, while The Pink Azaleas, painted a decade later, made £394,000. Works by Samuel John Peploe performed well, led by Trees, Antibes and Michaelmas Daisies and Oranges which sold for £586,000 and £490,000 respectively.
A Brief Note on Transparency in the Art Market: A group of art market journalists are debating price transparency in the gallery market on Twitter when one journalist adduces Gagosian Gallery’s new viewing room as an example of how galleries will embrace transparency if it helps them sell works. That’s a sensible conclusion … except that what appears in the viewing room is not what Gagosian gallery is actively selling to its client base. We know this because the list of works—with asking prices—that Gagosian sent to Art Basel includes none of the works mounted in the viewing room. Before you ascribe nefarious motives, remember that art is sold through personal relationships between gallerists and clients. Art isn’t a retail business. What a gallery puts on the walls of a booth may or may not be the works the gallery is most interested in selling. Buyer’s like to feel they are getting access to the works that have been held back, the exclusive material, the good stuff. Art journalists tend to bang on about transparency because they want to know more about what’s going on but selling art is a delicate balance between sharing information and vouchsafing an special find.
Joan Mitchell Retrospective Announced from Baltimore Museum of Art and SFMoMA: ARTNews has the story:
- The Baltimore Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art have revealed plans for a major Joan Mitchell retrospective. Currently slated to open in April 2020 at the BMA, the exhibition will travel to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in September of that year and then make a stop at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in early 2021.