Almost a week after a Dutch newspaper asked whether TEFAF’s famous vetting process was capable of catching any fake, the New York Times decides to re-write the story. But this time, the newspaper turns the question around. Instead of asking whether any of the disputed works were ever sold at TEFAF (they weren’t) or whether the same process of peer review that validated the now-disputed works is used to vet dealers’ booths (it is), the NY Times wonders whether the dealers whose works have been implicated in the recent concerns about the collection of Giuliano Ruffini should have been banned from the fair until the various disputes are resolved.
But that kind of public shaming ignores the fact that not one of the four galleries mentioned by the NY Times has avoided the repercussions of the controversy. Indeed, for everyone involved in the disputes, it is better that galleries be present and expected to stand behind their sales, past and future.
Here, at least, the Times gives TEFAF a little credit:Continue Reading
A Dutch news outlet confronts the change of play in the Old Masters market since the discovery of several exceptionally good forgeries that are roiling the private market. The unexpected twist is that Sotheby’s has stolen a march on the market and now threatens to overshadow the trust in dealers:
“Collectors are being given the impression that it’s safer to buy art at an auction house than at a fair: at least an auction house will pay compensation if it’s a forgery,” says one insider.
Today’s opening of TEFAF in Maastricht, the world’s leading Old Master fair, puts this in sharp relief. It also raises the issue of TEFAF’s vetting and whether the fair’s vetting protects buyers:Continue Reading
Guy Stair Sainty has a few good stories of artists whose work has seen wild swings in valuation over long periods of time. This one about the up and downs of a single work, Lawrence Alma Tadema’s Finding of Moses, remains on of the best illustrations of how art prices measure distribution (demand among buyers,) not art historical merit. Read to the end for the final twist in the tale:Continue Reading
Colin Gleadell nabbed a few sales:
Richard Green from London achieved the top early sale to a private collector, with Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s brilliant satire, The Peasant Lawyer, whose subject is shown knee-deep in lucrative documents before a queue of peasants bearing gifts, which had an asking price of £2.75 million.
Carol Vogel adds two Old Master sales to the tally:
“The Supper at Emmaus,” by the Italian Baroque painter Bernardo Strozzi, was snapped up on Saturday by an unidentified collector said to be American. Otto Naumann, the New York dealer, admits he took a risk when he bought the painting at Christie’s in London in December for $1.5 million. “I knew it was reckless, kind of suicidal,” Mr. Naumann said. “The painting was so dark, it looked as though it had been in a fire. There were two layers of varnish with dirt trapped in between them.” Yet if it cleaned well, Mr. Naumann said, he knew he’d have a winner on his hands. The London restorer Henry Gentle spent months removing the grime and varnish and discovered a highly detailed scene of Jesus at a table breaking bread. The asking price was $3.5 million.
a still life from 1638 by the Dutch master Pieter Claesz of a crisply painted glass beaker, a plate of herring, bread and a pack of cards at Haboldt & Company, the Paris dealer. Bob Haboldt, the gallery’s founder, said he discovered the painting in a private French collection. The asking price was $3.8 million, and the painting sold to an unidentified American collector Friday.
Judd Tully has early sales from TEFAF:
Robilant + Voena: Agostino Bonalumi’s massive, shaped abstraction “Rosso,” from 1967, sold to a Swiss collector for around €1 million. The same collector also snapped up Enrico Castellani, “Superficie Bianca,” from 1965, sold in the region of the €1.8 million asking price. A third Italian post-war work, Paolo Scheggi, “Intersuperficie curva Bianca,” from 1966, also sold at approximately €230,000.
Galerie Odermatt-Vedovi: Alexander Calder, “Black 2-2-6,” from 1965, sold to a European collector in the region of the $2.6 million asking price, and a petite Lucio Fontana ink on card drawing sold for around €50,000, according to dealer Paolo Vedovi, who said the Fontana “was going to a private plane.”
Arnet’s Colline Millard prowled the fair floor for these sales:
Marlborough: Frank Auerbach painting, Figure Seated on a Bed from 1969 (asking price: £180,000), a fetching head sculpture with butterflies by Manolo Valdés, Luna (2012), priced at €230,000 (US$319,383), as well as a stunning Kurt Schwitters collage, Für Hartmann (1922), priced at €280,000 (US$388,958).
Tomasso Brothers sold a Roman janiform herm, which sold for €275,000 (US$381,000) to a European collector.
Weiss Gallery: Madeleine Le Clerc (1570-72) by François Clouet, one of the artist’s rare surviving works. The asking price was US$1 million. The piece has gone to an American collection.
Bowman Sculpture:Auguste Rodin, selling the Vase of the Titans (1877) for £280,000 (US$465,360).
Van de Weghe Fine Art: sold a Pablo Picasso drawing, Tête Couronnée (1960), for US$485,000 to a European collector
ArtFix Daily had a clutch of sales to report:
An extraordinary parcel-gilt ostrich ewer by Marx Weinold with its basin by Johann Mittnacht I, Augsburg, c. 1690, attracted a buy from Metropolitan Museum of Art at the stand of J. Kugel Antiquaires.
Daniel Crouch Rare Books sold a pair of 17th c. globes from Willem Blaue. A private collector purchased them to go on view at the Rijksmuseum.
In the popular Asian art category, a drum stand with coiling snakes, from the Warring States Period, sold to a private European collector from Vanderven Oriental Art. The asking price was 2.5 million euros.
Among the many paintings sold was a Lucas Cranach, titled “Lucretia”, c. 1537-1540, from Weiss Gallery, with a price tag of 2 million euros.
A Carlo Bugatti chair, made in Turin in 1902, with a asking price of 350,000 euros was sold by Galerie Ulrich Fiedler to a German museum.
Market News: Going Dutch (Telegraph)
Art World’s Cream Rises at Maastricht (NY Times)
TEFAF Reports Confident Market, Strong Sales (Art Fix Daily)
TEFAF 2014 (Artnet News)
Report: Early Action at TEFAF Opening (Blouin Artinfo)