Whitehot Magazine

November 2014: September/October 2014 Art Market Report

A glimpse of Sotheby’s Italian Sale held in London during Frieze Week. Combined with its Contemporary sales,
the auction house achieved more than £82 Million. Image courtesy of Sotheby’s.


ARTPRICE’S MOST RECENT report states that the global contemporary market reached $2 Billion from July 2013–July 2014. And it is stronger than the pre-bubble burst. The 2013/2014 report states: “The galloping speculation of the period between 2004 and 2007 is once more to the fore and the contemporary market is more affluent than during the micro-bubble of 2007: a year of rocketing prices, with revenues for the year up by 50% for a similar number of works sold.”

THE THIRD ANNUAL BERLIN Art Week incorporated several events to commemorate the city’s thriving art scene, mid-September. The main highlight, Art Berlin Contemporary, presented 111 galleries repping 115 artists, with some dealers splitting booths. Abc’s seventh edition saw sales up from last year while visitor tallies matched those of 2013 at 28,000.

THE THIRD EXPO CHICAGO took place September 18–21. The International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art showcased 140+ galleries from 17 countries and 43 cities with more than 2000 artists and 25 exhibitions. This year marked expanded programming, increased sales and record attendance with 32,500 visitors.

THE FIFTH EDITION OF BEIRUT Art Fair—the foremost modern and contemporary art fair in the ME.NA.SA (Middle East, North Africa, South Asia) region—ran September 18–21. This year, BAF showcased 47 galleries from 14 countries, featured 300 artists and 1000+ works, and welcomed 20,000 visitors (8000 on opening night).

THE SECOND EDITION OF ARTINTERNATIONAL Istanbul ran September 26–29. This year, the fair presented 75 galleries from 24 countries and attracted 20,000+ visitors. Organizers included Sandy Angus, co-founder of Art HK and co-owner of India Art Fair as well as Turkish tradeshow company İnterteks.

SOTHEBY’S HONG KONG 5-DAY Autumn Series totaled HK$2.904 Billion/ US$372 Million (high estimate $2.975B/ $381M), in early October. Though 2698 lots sold, the series experienced a 30% decline from 2013’s $542 Million combined total.

CHRISTIE'S HK ASIA+/FIRST OPEN achieved HK$22,392,500, October 5. Co-curator Marcello Kwan of Christie’s Hong Kong stated: “With a packed saleroom and significant telephone and internet bidding, Christie’s ASIA+/First Open auction saw strong international participation across all the lots offered. The top lot of the sale, Liu Ye’s ‘Yuan Yuan’ achieved nearly double its estimate at HK$3.16million, selling to an Asian private buyer, and Wu Guanzhong’s portrait of Hong Kong, ‘A Sleepless City,’ sold at HK$1.96million, well above its estimate. Works by Japanese and Korean artists achieved multiples of their estimates, notably Paik Nam-June’s ‘Buddha King’ and Kazuo Shiraga’s ‘Goshoku Zanmai.’ Through this internationally curated sale Christie’s brought a new dynamic to the market in Asia, demonstrating that the language of art transcends geographic boundaries.”

FRIEZE WEEK LONDON surrounds Frieze Art Fair—Europe’s most popular contemporary fair—with a number of accompanying satellite events and auctions. This year’s Week offered more than $2.2 Billion worth of art. Mary Romano at Bloomberg wrote: “Coinciding with the fair, Christie’s, Phillips and Sotheby’s (BID) will auction 972 works at their day and evening sales estimated at as much as 264 million pounds ($426 million), or more than double the 118 million pounds of art that was sold at the equivalent auctions last year. New buyers ‘from all pockets of the world’ are purchasing art and pushing up prices, said Suzanne Gyorgy, head of art advisory and finance at New York-based Citigroup Inc.’s Citi Private Bank.”

THE 12TH FRIEZE LONDON SPONSORED by Deutsche Bank transpired October 15–18. The post-release read: “This year, Frieze London brought 162 galleries from 25 territories under one roof with visitor numbers in the region of 60,000 during the five days of the fair… For the third year, Frieze Masters, a fair dedicated to art from ancient to modern, coincided with the contemporary art fair, continuing the cultivation of a crossover between audiences of art. Together the fairs are the focal point of a season of significant exhibitions and art-related activities across London.”

CHRISTIE’S LONDON ACHIEVED ITS HIGHEST tallies during its contemporary auction series in October. Cumulatively, the sales reached £129,196,575/ $206,750,233 (with a £104.5-150.4M pre-estimate), “doubling last year’s previous record of £67,854,250… The record breaking Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Auction realised a total of £40,344,500 / $64,309,133 / €50,228,903 selling 89% by lot and 94% value against a pre-sale estimate of £32,170,000 – £47,100,000… The top lot of the evening was Peter Doig’s The Heart of Old San Juan, 1999 which sold for £4,562,500 / $7,272,625 / €5,680,313.” Of 46 lots, 41 found buyers. Furthermore, five new artist records were set during the sale (13 over the entire PwC series).

SOTHEBY’S LONDON HELD ITS equivalent series of Italian and Contemporary art during Frieze Week. The sales “achieved a combined total of more than £82 million [$131.8 Million]. The highlight of The Italian Sale was Piero Manzoni’s ‘Achrome’ which achieved a landmark £12.6 million, a new record for the artist.” Remarkably, the Italian sale attained the highest total for any 20th century Italian Art auction at £41.4 Million/ $66.4 Million. Of 49 lots, 48 sold plus new records were set for: Enrico Castellani, Agostino Bonalumi, Turi Simeti and Piero Manzoni. Additionally, the contemporary evening auction made £28.2 Million/ $45.2 Million—88% of lots sold. The top lot was a Pierre Soulages painting, which found a buyer for £2,658,500/ $4,263,436 (with a £2-3M pre-estimate).

CHRISTIE’S MODERN & CONTEMPORARY Arab, Iranian & Turkish art sale transpired October 21. The auction totaled $12,510,875 (USD), with “works from eight important family collections… [far surpassing its] $8.5million high estimate to $12,510,875 / AED45,939,933. This was the highest sale total for the category since 2010. The sale was 95% sold by value, an indication of the continuing strength of the market and the demand from collectors around the world for works of top quality by the leading artists from the region. Among the 121 lots in the sale, 19 new artist records were set including for works by Hamed Ewais, Shafic Abboud, Bahman Mohassess, Koorosh Shishegaran and Samia Halaby.”

THE 41ST EDITION OF FIAC (Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain) ran October 23–26. This year, the Parisian fair presented 191 international galleries from 26 countries exhibiting 3451 artists. Of 143 foreign galleries. 48 French; 65% European compared to 73% in 2013. Visitor attendance increased by 1.4% to 74,567.

THE 10TH EDITION OF ARTBO, the International Art Fair of Bogotá ran October 23–27. Columbia’s premiere contemporary fair clocked 30,000 visitors by the end of the five days (7000 opening night). Heavily focused on Latin America, ArtBo brought together 66 galleries, 30 foreign-based.

THE 15TH EDITION OF ART TORONTO took place October 24–27. This year, “Toronto’s International Art Fair” was sponsored by RBC Wealth Management, art insurer AXA Art, Canadian Art magazine and exclusive online partner Artsy. It closed with record sales, attracting nearly 20,000 visitors to view 100+ galleries.

LATE OCTOBER MARKED CHRISTIE’S Shanghai Autumn Auction Series, which attained ¥132,350,000/ US$21,674,691. Christie’s China President Jinqing Cai commented: "Collectors gathered in Shanghai today, virtually and in person, to celebrate the art of living and living with art. When Christie's was permitted to be the first international auction house to host independent auctions in mainland China in 2013, we made a commitment to curate inspiring and inviting artistic experiences for our clients. The selection of Asian and Western art and objects on view this week delivered on this promise.”

SOTHEBY’S HELD ITS CONTEMPORARY ART sale in Doha October 13. Hrag Vartanian at Al Jazeera reported on the sale held in Qatar's capital: “[It] had many firsts, including the first video installation by Shirin Neshat ever brought to auction, and their business strategy was clearly focused on educating local buyers and expanding their tastes past traditional painting and sculpture than making a quick buck - that's certainly the reason a conceptual piece by Lawrence Weiner was undoubtedly included. This multi-million dollar auction took place on the same day as news broke that 300 major artworks from French museums will be loaned to Louvre Abu Dhabi, including textbook paintings by Leonardo, Titian, David, Monet, and others.”  


Shireen Lohrasbe

Shireen holds a BBA in Design & Management from Parsons The New School for Design and an MA in Art Business from Sotheby's Institute of Art, New York. She has contributed to several online publications including Art Observed, Quintessentially Art, and Whitewall Magazine. Shireen is a regular art market contributor at Whitehot Magazine.

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