Christie’s Paris Contemporary = €27.9m; Sotheby’s Russian Paintings = £10.5m; Art Basel extends its app to drive foot traffic; African American art’s vibrant market.
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Christie’s Paris Art Contemporain = €27.9m
Christie’s Paris posted €17.975m in its Contemporary Art Evening sale (and an additional €7.7m in day sale works plus €2.2m for the collection of Anne Tronche) with this Nicolas de Staël from Drue Heinz’s collection making €2.89m or more than three times the high estimate of €900k.
- Peinture 65 x 50 cm, 1857 by Pierre Soulages which sold for €1,810,000
- Zao Wou-Ki’s painting 16.1.62 made €850,000 above a pre-sale estimate of €500,000-700,000.
- La Tauromachieby Germaine Richier coming from Charles Aznavour’s personal collection sold for €2,110,000
- Cuban artist Wifredo Lam’s Je suis sold for €2,290,000 against a pre-sale estimate of €700,000-1,000,000
- Konrad Klapheck’s La partenaire dangereuse realised €586,000 more than five times its estimate, establishing a new world auction record for the artist
Sotheby’s Russian Paintings = £10.5m
Mikhail Fedorovich Larionov, Still Life (£1-1.5m) £2.175m
Sotheby’s Russian pictures sale was a bit of tough sledding this week as the Russian art market continues to be constrained by economic sanctions on Russia and weakness in the Russian economy. Half of the £10.5m value came from six paintings including this still life by Mikhail Larionov that sold for £2.175m.
Among the other works with strong prices were Soviet non-conformist works like two bright Oleg Tselkov (Soldier and Animal and Woman and Cat) works which sold for £110,000 each, more than twice the high estimates. Georgy Nissky’s Airfield more than tripled its low-estimate to make £187,500. 19th century works by Ivan Aivazovsky like Ship at Sunset off Cap Martin, 1899 sold for £1,191,000 and three further works. Konstantin Makovsky’s painting of a Boyarina decked in luxurious furs and jewels – one of the artist’s most popular subjects – realised £250,000, over double its pre-sale estimate of £80,000 – 120,000. Nikolai Bogdanov-Belsky’s Two Women in Latgalian Dress achieved six times its pre-sale estimate selling for £362,500, and Vasily Polenov’s The Oyat River sold for £699,000 over an estimate £450,000 – 650,000.
Art Basel Wakes Up to Gallery Needs
Artnet has a preview of Art Basel’s new app features that will create a guide to participating galleries around the world. As we’ve previously discussed, Art Basel’s great failure has been to recognize that it is a federation of galleries banding together under the aegis of the art fair to create a global marketing cooperative. The fair’s director pretty much admits to Artnet that they’ve been sleeping on this:
- “We’ve talked for a long time about the necessity of working to make our galleries successful not just in the three weeks per year they’re in our halls [if they do all three fairs] but rather on a yearlong basis,” Art Basel global director Marc Spiegler told artnet News. For Art Basel, this digital initiative is a way to drive collectors to its constituents around the world during the “fallow periods” between fairs and other major market events.
Unfortunately, the features described here don’t sound like they will be terribly effective. The app seems to be structured as a value-add sales tool pitched toward galleries instead of a customer-centric tool that will attract new buyers.
“We Were Always Making the Work”
Charles Desmarais has a good tour of the horizon in the San Francisco Chronicle’s datebook on the mainstreaming of African American artists which he wisely starts with Hank Willis Thomas telling him there’s always been a market for African American artists:
- “In the mainstream, sure,” he says. “But there has always been a vibrant market for African American art. That’s why there are so many artists who sustained careers in the face of mainstream neglect — there were black collectors and galleries and a whole infrastructure.“It’s safe to say that work is more expensive, but I don’t know that it’s true those artists were ignored. There were collectors: black collectors. We were always here; we were always making the work.”