Christie's wins a big consignment; Last week saw lots of numbers about the art market but many of them remained unclear.This commentary by Marion Maneker is available to AMMpro subscribers. (The first month of AMMpro is free and subscribers are welcome to sign up for the first month and cancel before they are billed.)
Collectors Say Christie’s Has $30m RuschaChristie’s is already selling 35 works on paper by Ed Ruscha consigned by architect Fred Clarke and the cache looked like it would meet an excited market for the artist’s work. Now word is trickling out of the Ruscha collector community that Christie’s has won a tough competition for Joan Quinn’s Hurting the Word Radio #2 (1964) that will presumably be featured in the November sales. One house was said to have secured a $30m third-party guarantee for the work which means the sale price is already equal to Ruscha’s 2014 record price for Smash (1963) which sold for $30.4m.
It’s Hard to Find Real Numbers in the Art MarketLast week was a tough one for the anyone trying to make sense of the art market. The problem wasn’t the market or its fecklessness. This week’s sales will give us a better sense of the cutting edge of the Contemporary art market. Rather the problem lay with art market commentators and their use of vague and misleading statistics. The spurious numbers came from a range of sources including a purportedly deep study of women artists and their place in museums and the marketplace; a nonsensical comparison between the Manhattan condo market and the art market (not that those two markets have nothing to do with each other but that the statistics adduced to make a connection made absolutely no sense) and a report on London’s upcoming Frieze sales that are said to be down across the board but are really mostly just down at one house.
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