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Jacob Bernstein has what can only be described as a tone poem about Mary Boone in the New York Times. The timing seems to suggest a valedictory before the dealer who was sentenced to 30 months in prison surrenders in May. But the material is strikingly personal and impressionistic:
- Today, Ms. Boone remains warm, unpretentious and deeply, raucously funny. Also prone to bouts of insecurity, reinforcing through her behavior that openness is not synonymous with honesty, and fuzzy details don’t always obscure larger truths.
- From [her father’s] death, Ms. Boone learned both to be propulsive and to look around corners. From her mother’s subsequent marriage to a man who was more needed than loved, she learned to be both self-reliant and open to relationships that are transactional.
- Mr. Schnabel became known for his bombastic ego and not his big heart. Ms. Boone became known for her steamrolling drive and not the fragility underneath.
- “You want to know something? I regret that I settled,” Ms. Boone said. “Because now I’m thinking this would be a good thing to spend time doing in jail. Fighting this lawsuit with Alec Baldwin. This guy’s a fool.”
- Her eyes are dark and intense. When she is happy, the gaze is kind enough to reach across an avenue. When she is angry or afraid, it can be hard to meet.
- Artists who have shown with Ms. Boone over the years remark upon her obsessive tendencies, her ability to distort things they’ve said and her habit of calling them too often when she needs something and not enough when she doesn’t. They also described her as being impossible not to love (Ms. Simmons and Mr. Schnabel), generous to a fault (Mr. Marden) and great in a crisis.
1stDibs Raises $76m with Artemis Participating
Late yesterday, 1stDibs, the dealer-driven design and furniture marketplace, announced that it is raising another $76m in a Series D venture round. This latest injection of capital values the firm at $424m and gives new investors just under 18% of the ownership. That comes on top of the 25% of the company sold off in a secondary offering four years ago for $60m. All told, 1stDibs has raised $253m over the last 8 years.
These last two investments suggest the company is having a harder time gaining growth than was originally hoped. The fundraising also comes at an interesting time. Sotheby’s Home launched six months ago with different strategy and business model but aimed at the same market of decorating and design buyers and sellers.
Among the investors is François Pinault’s Groupe Artémis, the parent company of Christie’s which adds another competitive wrinkle to the landscape:
- “The Series D funding round was led by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Sofina Group, Foxhaven Asset Management, and Allen & Company also invested. Interestingly, the list of investors also included Michael Zeisser, former chairman of U.S. Investments for Alibaba Group, and Groupe Artémis. Groupe Artémis is the owner of Christie’s and the controlling shareholder of Kering Group.
- “In a statement released in conjunction with the news, 1stdibs stated that it plans to use the funding for acquisitions, international expansion, further investment in its business, and growth in adjacent categories.”
Christie’s Hong Kong First Open = $6m, 94% Sold
Christie’s First Open sale held to coincide with Art Basel Hong Kong did very well 94% of the lots selling to total HK$47,380,000 ($6,063,388). Banksy’s This Is A Pipe made HKD 3.725m as did Yayoi Kusama’s Hat (above). Other lots exceeding estimates were by Richard Lin, Tomoo Gokita, Zao Wou-ki and KAWS.
The KAWS work was acquired in Nigo’s first sale at Sotheby’s five years ago.
The KAWS Album Aims for Serious Play in Hong Kong
The giant floating Companion figure by KAWS had to be removed from Hong Kong harbor early due to inclement weather but that probably won’t dampen expectations for the Sotheby’s sale of KAWS works by the Bathing Ape designer and early KAWS collector, Nigo.
In his second sale with Sotheby’s, Nigo is offering a painting that some KAWS collectors think could push the artist’s top price higher than the $3.5m paid for the artist’s Untitled (Fatal Group) at Phillips in November. The KAWS Album is offered with a $750k low estimate on April 1st.