November 2012: September/October Art Market Report
Marc Quinn, The Origin of the World (Cassis Madagascariensis) Indian Ocean, 310, 2012, FIAC 2012 Represented by Thaddaeus Ropac © Marc Domage
THE 2ND EDITION OF HOUSTON FINE ART FAIR ran September 14–16. This year, HFAF attracted 12,000 visitors, up from 10,500 last. “More than 2,000 works, from 500 respected artists, were offered from 80 galleries representing 12 countries and 34 cities, thus establishing this Fair as the largest in the Southwest Region.”
MID-SEPTEMBER WELCOMED ASIA ART WEEK in New York. Christie’s and Sotheby’s accumulated a pooled total of $90 Million in sales, well beyond the combined pre-sale estimates of approximately $30 Million. Sotheby’s fetched $46M during its three sales, while Christie’s achieved $44.7M via four sales.
SEPTEMBER 19 MARKED CHRISTIE’S FIRST OPEN. The top lot titled “Red Nets, No.19” by Yayoi Kusama fetched $1.2 Million (double the high-end of its $400-600,000 pre-sale estimate). Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Tyranasaurus Rex” earned second spot at $278.5K, and Julian Schnabel’s “Untitled (Portrait of Peddrick Scheffer)” made third place at $182.5K (both with $60–80K pre-estimates). Other top lots included works by Lynda Benglis, Jim Dine, Alexander Calder, Janet Fish, Franz West and Louise Bourgeois. In total, the First Open fetched $8.4 Million.
SOTHEBY’S TWO-PART CONTEMPORARY AUCTION transpired September 21. The sale totaled $12.3 Million on the high-end of its $9.7–13.8M pre-estimate, and found buyers for 71.1% of lots. Artist Gerhard Richter was the top earner of the evening. Richter’s untitled splatter painting reached a hammer price of $842,500 (more than double its $250–$350K pre-estimate). Works by Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Wade Guyton and Jules de Balincourt also fared well.
THE THIRD EDITION OF ARTELLIGENCE, organized by Art Market Monitor, took place September 13. The annual conference covers all things art market-related and 2012 topics included: “The Internationalization of Chinese Art” by Benjamin Mandel and “Case Studies in the Richter and Calder markets” with art advisor and collector Todd Levin.
EXPO CHICAGO: THE INTERNATIONAL EXPOSITION of Contemporary and Modern Art ran September 20–23. The Expo’s inaugural edition helped revive the Chicagoan art scene, which lost its more venerable fair last year, Art Chicago. Expo opened with 120 exhibitors, such as Galerie Gmurzynska (based in Zurich), Luhring Augustine (New York), Leo Koenig (NY), and Jessica Silverman Gallery (San Francisco). “Chicago and Midwest collectors and museum professionals came out in strength,” said Paul Gray of Richard Gray Gallery (Chicago). “This was reflected in our opening day sales of a $1 million early Roy Lichtenstein as well as sales of six-figure pieces by Barcelona-based Jaume Plensa. The foundation was laid to build upon the success of the first year.”
THE 16TH EDITION OF ART MOSCOW took place September 11–22. This year the fair—international in scope and contemporary in focus—welcomed over 16,000 visitors. Cumulative sales amounted to an impressive $3.1 Billion—$1.6B from direct sales, $1.5B on reserve—led by galleries such as: Triumph Gallery (based in Moscow), Lazarev Gallery (Saint-Petersburg), and Assar Art Gallery (Iran).
THE SECOND EDITION OF ARTRIO International Modern and Contemporary Art Fair ran September 13–16. The fair grossed $75 Million in sales and clocked 76,000 visitors. According to ARTINFO Brazil, many of the 120 participant galleries like Sotheby’s S2, David Zwirner, and White Cube saw “works fly out of their catalogues. In the first few hours, Gagosian reported around $5 million in sales, with works by Takashi Murakami, Lucio Fontana, Cecily Brown, and Yayoi Kusama being the first to go.”
SOTHEBY’S HONG KONG held several auctions in early October. The Contemporary Asian Art sale brought in HK$117 Million/USD$15 Million. The top lot was Liu Wei’s “Revolutionary Family Series – Invitation to Dinner”, which fetched HK$17.46M/US$2.24M—a new record for Wei at auction. Next, the 20th Century Chinese Art sale totaled HK$192 Million/USD$24.6 Million—90% sold by lot and 85.5% sold by value. The top lot titled “Potted Chrysanthemums” by artist Sanyu fetched HK$30.9M/US$3.96M, just above the high-end of its pre-estimate. Then, the Fine Chinese Paintings took in HK$414.8 Million/USD$53.2 Million, double its cumulative pre-estimate of HK$170M/US$21.8M. Of 324 lots, 315 found buyers; 97.2% sold by lot and 97.1% sold by value. The top two lots by artists Zhang Daqian and Fu Baoshi each fetched HK$23M/US$3M. And lastly, the Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings sale totaled HK$121 Million/USD$15.6 Million, triple its pre-estimate of HK$45M/US$5.8M. The sale set a new record for artist Lee Mang Fong whose “Fortune and Longevity” painting fetched HK$34.26M/US$4.4M. The evening marked the highest auction total ever for the SE Asian category.
EARLY THIS FALL, SOTHEBY’S signed a 10-year joint venture with Chinese auction house Beijing Gehua Art Company. The state-owned auction house granted Sotheby’s 80% equity for a price tag USD$1.2 Million. Carol Vogel at The New York Times reported, “Until now the Chinese government has not allowed international auction houses to hold sales in China outside of Hong Kong and this joint venture, called Sotheby’s (Beijing) Auction Company, will pave the way for a major expansion… gaining access to tax-exempt storage facilities there for Sotheby’s clients.” Surprisingly, Sotheby’s and its rival Christie’s have had offices in mainland China since the 1990s, albeit no ability to do business until last year when Christie’s licensed its name to Forever auctioneers. Thus, the Sotheby’s/Gehua deal levels the playing field.
THE TENTH EDITION OF FRIEZE LONDON sponsored by Deutsche Bank ran October 11–14. This year, the fair gathered 175 participant galleries and pulled 55,000 visitors. The Tate Museum dropped $240,000 on four works by artists Hideko Fukushima, Nicholas Hlobo, Caragh Thuring, and Jack Whitten for its yearly acquisitions (organized by The Outset/Frieze London Fund with support from Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts).
THE INAUGURAL FRIEZE MASTERS coincided with the main fair, welcoming 28,000 visitors. Over 90 galleries from 18 countries took part in Frieze’s first fair for historical art. Widespread comparison was made between Masters and TEFAF Maastricht, “The World’s Leading Art and Antiques Fair”—strengthened by post-sales tallies. Scott Reyburn at Bloomberg News wrote: “The Masters event boosts the total valuation of the new two-venue Regent’s Park event to more than $1 billion, according to preliminary estimates by the insurer Hiscox Ltd. (HSX)”
FRIEZE SATELLITE FAIRS LIKE PAD (The Pavilion of Art & Design London) also reported impressive traffic and sales. At the Skarstedt Gallery booth, an Andy Warhol “Flowers” painting found a buyer for $2.5 Million. According to Bloomberg News, “By the third day of this commercially-situated boutique fair, the London-based dealer Luxembourg & Dayan had sold seven out of the eight new Chinese Pop-style ‘Panda’ paintings by Rob Pruitt it was offering priced at $120,000 each.”
ON OCTOBER 11, CHRISTIE’S held its Post-War & Contemporary Art and Italian evening auctions. The two sales realized a combined total of £41.2 Million (USD$62.3 Million). The PwC sale totaled £23M ($36.8M) topped by Martin Kippenberger whose untitled series of paintings sold for £3.1M ($5M)—a new record for Kippenberger. Records were also set for artists Idris Khan, Rebecca Warren, and Jonathan Wateridge.
THE FOLLOWING EVENING, SOTHEBY’S held its Contemporary Art and 20th Century Italian Art auctions fetching a combined total of £60M ($95.6M). The Contemporary sale made £44.1M, the highest tally for of its kind during London’s fall auction season. The top lot was Gerhard Richter’s “Abstraktes Bild (809-4)” consigned from musician Eric Clapton’s personal collection. Its hammer price reached £21.3M/$34.2M (with a pre-estimate of £28.5–39.4M/$44.6–61.8M), establishing a new record for Richter.
PHILLIPS DE PURY & COMPANY also held a contemporary auction during Frieze London. The top lot was Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Big Joy”, which sold for £2.6M. Other best sellers were in the names of Richter, Warhol, Bourgeois, Hirst, Sean Scully, Anselm Kiefer and Andreas Gursky. In total, the sale raised £12.2M ($19.4M).
ON OCTOBER 24TH SHORTLY AFTER FIAC, Sotheby’s Paris held a contemporary auction that grossed €19 Million ($24.3 Million). The sale was topped by Rene Magritte’s “La Grande Table” which sold for €5.1M ($6.5M). Next, Andy Warhol’s “Four Multicolor Marilyns” sold for €3.2M and an Alexander Calder mobile for €3M. Two Picassos and two Fontanas also fetched for up to triple their pre-estimates.
Noah Becker: Editor-in-Chief