Three houses sell $31m; Angela Gulbenkian draws criminal charges; Christie’s Amsterdam has strong $8.7m PWC sale
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Gulbenkian Dodges Judgment, Faces Criminal Charge
Last June, Josh Baer’s BaerFaxt newsletter alerted readers to concerns about doing business with Angela Gulbenkian. Not long after it came out that the art advisor who is married to Calouste Gulbenkian’s great-grand-nephew was involved in a business deal where she took payment for a Yayoi Kusama sculpture but failed to deliver it.
Today, Katya Kazakina revealed that criminal charges have now been filed after Gulbenkian failed to provide a defense for civil claims or deliver the sculpture long after the issue became public:
- “Gulbenkian was charged with two counts of theft, one relating to the sale of a sculpture between April 2017 and December 2018, London police said in a statement. The thefts total 1.1 million pounds ($1.4 million), according to an official at Westminster Magistrates Court where she has a summons to appear May 28 after being charged through the mail.”
In Baer’s original report, he cites three attempts on Gulbenkian’s part to engage in deals that the counter-parties found suspicious. A later comment ups the number to six based upon additional reader comment.
Christie’s Amsterdam Contemporary = $8.7m
Christie’s Amsterdam’s Post-War and Contemporary Art sales made a total of €7,834,250 / £6,788,778 / $8,750,736. The day and evening sales had sell-through rates above 90% with 37 countries represented among the bidders and 30% of the sales driven by online bidders. Clearly there is a global appetite for the kinds of ZERO and German art and buyers are comfortable bidding for it online making Amsterdam not such a remote location for sales. The overall total was helped by the 100% sold Jan and Tineke Hoekstra Collection of Dutch and international minimalist and constructivist works which accounted for €1,170,625 / £1,009,159 / $1,314,934.
- Imi Knoebel‘s Untitled, (estimate €30,000 – 50,000), which set a work on paper record for the artist, selling for €112,500
New York Prints & Multiples = $31.08m
The prints and multiples sales at the three major houses had a strong showing these last two weeks with the sales making $31m against a total of almost $23m last year. That’s a jump by a third year-over-year. These numbers continue to demonstrate the strength of the middle market for more “affordable” art.
Sotheby’s topped the sales with $13m and an 84% sell-through rate on 236 lots. The top 10 lots were dominated by Andy Warhol works which is continuing evidence of the strength of Warhol’s market, at least for his images, at a time when his paintings market has pulled back dramatically at auction.
Here are some of Sotheby’s highlights from the sale:
- 36 prints by Andy Warhol made a combined total of $4.6 million. Warhol prints were eight of the auction’s top ten prices, including Campbell’s Soup I (F. & S. II.44-53), sold for $980,000 (estimate $800,000/1.2 million) and Campbell’s Soup II (F. & S. II. 54-63), sold for $620,000 (estimate $500/800,000). Two trial proofs of Moonwalk in unique color combinations each brought $187,500 (estimates $150/250,000 each), while a complete set of two prints sold for $312,500 (estimate $250/350,000).
- M.C. Escher had 30 prints sell for a total of $1.2 million, including Metamorphosis, a rare impression of the woodcut printed in red and black, which achieved $187,500.
- Six works on offer by Henri Matisse were sold: Jazz made $860,000 (estimate $700,000/1 million).
- Donald Judd’s complete set of ten woodcuts Untitled (Schellmann 157-166) made $400,000
- Willem de Kooning’s Litho #1 (Waves #1) (Graham 2) made $500,000
At Christie’s, 89% of the lots were sold to make a total of $11,669,625. Christie’s version of the Matisse, Jazz portfolio made $495k and a portfolio of various Pop artists, including Roy Lichtenstein made $300k against a $180k high estimate, but the emphasis at Rockefeller Center was on Munch:
- Edvard Munch , Angst, from Album des Peintres Graveurs was top lot of the sale at $831,000.
- a ten lot selection of Andy Warhol’s Sunsets which sold for a combined total of $791,250, more than doubling the combined low estimate of $310,000.
- Edvard Munch’s Vampyr II (Vampire II) realized $507,000 against a high estimate of $300,000
- Willem de Kooning’s Quatre Lithographics realized $250,000 against a high estimate of $100,000
- Jasper Johns Usuyuki realized $231,250 against a high estimate of $100,000
- Robert Indiana’s The Book of Love which realized $162,500 against a high estimate of $80,000
- Salvador Dalí’s Tête de jeune fille made $56,250.
At Phillips, Kelly Troester and Cary Leibowitz, Worldwide Co-Heads of Editions, were excited to sell 97% of the lots and see 30% of the lots in the Evening sale make record prices.
- Roy Lichtenstein, Reverie, from 11 Pop Artists, Volume II sold for a new record price of $275,000.
- Roy Lichtenstein, Thinking Nude, from Nude Series selling for a new record $225,000.
- Day and Evening Sales saw nearly 40 countries participate in the auction and with online bidders driving 90% of the lots in the sale and winning 55%.