Whitehot Magazine

January 2013: November/December Art Market Report

 Atmosphere at Art Basel Miami Beach, December 2012. Photo courtesy of C. Dalaeli. 

by Shireen Lohrasbe


NOVEMBER 13TH MARKED THE BEGINNING of New York’s fall auction season for contemporary art. Beginning with Sotheby’s, the Contemporary Art evening sale totaled a whopping $375 Million—84% sold-by-lot. Mark Rothko’s “No.1 (Royal Red and Blue)” took the top spot closing bids at $75.1 Million with a $35–50M pre-estimate. Other highlights included works by Willem de Kooning, Clifford Still, Francis Bacon and Franz Klein. New records were set for: Jackson Pollock, Hans Hofmann, Arshile Gorky, Robert Motherwell and Wade Guyton, and, Andy Warhol (for works on paper by Warhol) and Takashi Murakami (for Murakami paintings). Of the $375 Million, Sidney and Dorothy Kohl’s abstract expressionist collection contributed $101M to the sales total, led by a Pollock painting that fetched $40.4M.

THE FOLLOWING EVENING CHRISTIE’S held its equivocal sale, which earned a staggering $412 Million (as opposed to $274.5M last November). According to the post-sale press release, “Eight new auction records were established, 11 works sold for over $10 million, 16 for over $5 million and 56 for over $1 million. The sale was 93% sold by value and 92% sold by lot.” This was the highest tally of any auction in Christie’s history!

The top lot, Andy Warhol’s 3-D painting “Statue of Liberty,” earned $43.7 Million. Records were set for Franz Kline at $40.4M and Jean-Michel Basquiat at $26.4M. “Nude with Red Shirt” by Roy Lichtenstein sold for $28M, far eclipsing its $12–18M pre-estimate, while Jeff Koons’ “Tulips” achieved $33.7M—setting a new record for Koons. Emerging artists Mark Grotjahn and George Condo also set new records at $4.1M and $1.3M.

PHILLIPS DE PURY & CO.’S evening sale fetched $79.9 Million. Top lots included works by Warhol, Basquiat, Calder and Gerhard Richter. Together with Sotheby’s and Christie’s, the top three auction houses earned a cumulative total of $1.068 Billion in sales, triggering further inquiries into the art market’s resilience.

FOLLOWING THE CONTEMPORARY sales, Christie’s and Sotheby’s held their Latin American auctions. Christie’s earned $13.6 Million led by artists Fernando Botero ($938,500), Rufino Tamayo ($698.5K) and Tomás Sánchez ($626.5K). Comparatively, Sotheby’s drew $19.27 Million. Tamayo again earned the top lots fetching $2.2 Million as well as Claudio Bravo ($992,500) and Alfredo Ramos Martínez ($962.5K).

THE 11TH EDITION OF ART BASEL MIAMI BEACH ran December 4–9. This year, ABMB drew over 70,000 visitors with 130 participant institutions and 250+ participant galleries from 21 countries, repping over 2,000 artists.

Sales highlights included: Richard Prince’s “Nurse on Horseback”, which sold for $6.5 Million at Helly Nahmad’s booth; “Statue of Liberty” by Andy Warhol sold for $3.8 Million at Van de Weghe Fine Art; an untitled piece by Christopher Wool sold for approximately $3 Million at Luhring Augustine—the gallery also sold a work by Albert Oehlen for just under $1.5M; Fernand Léger’s “Les deux femmes a l’oiseau” sold for $1.6M at Galerie Thomas; a Picasso drawing fetched nearly $1.2M at Acquavella Galleries’ booth; an insect painting by Damien Hirst for $962,000 at White Cube; “White Snow Dwarf (Bashful)” by Paul McCarthy for $900,000 at Hauser & Wirth; a gouache on paper work by René Magritte for $650,000 at Waddington Custot Galleries; and several Anish Kapoor large-scale mirror pieces in the range of £250,000–750,000 (approximately $400,000–$1,200,000 US) at Lisson Gallery. Other major sales were reported by the following galleries: Sean Kelly Gallery, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, Sprueth Magers, Galerie Kamel Mennour, Pace Gallery, James Cohan Gallery, Metro Pictures, Zach Feuer, Blum & Poe, Zeno X Gallery, and Kukje/Tina Kim Gallery.

IN TERMS OF SATELLITE FAIRS, UNTITLED. made its debut. The vernissage, hosted in conjunction with Paddle 8, drew thousands of people; 2 of 50 galleries sold out. New York-based Dodge Gallery cleared its solo artist booth featuring Jason Middlebrook, while London-based Carslaw St. Luke's found buyers for every Paul Chiappe drawing it carried (who exhibited earlier this year at Tate Britain). And another inaugural fair this year was The Miami Project. Produced by artMRKT Productions, the new fair featured 65 exhibitors, attracting some 15,000 visitors over the course of 5 days.

Additional satellite fairs included: the 23rd edition of Art Miami teamed with CONTEXT attracted 60,000+ visitors with sales exceeding $46 Million; the 8th edition of PULSE Miami presented 86 galleries and closed with record numbers—an increase of 20% from last year; the 12th edition of SCOPE Miami featured 85 exhibitors and welcomed 40,000 guests, also up from 2011; the 8th edition of Design Miami/ saw 31,000 design enthusiasts such as Pharrell Williams, Will Farrell, Kanye West and Martha Stewart.

THIS YEAR ART BASEL MIAMI BEACH and satellite fairs were accompanied by a plethora of fashion, design, and fine-art events—all of which demonstrate the connection between these creative industries. A one-hour escape to Carol Gables offered a tour of the art at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Sculptures by John Chamberlain, Jorge Pardo and Will Ryman complimented the lush Fairchild foliage while a series titled “Sitting Naturally,” showcased design pieces by Sebastian Errazuriz, Sam Baron, and Michele Oka Doner courtesy of Cristina Grajales Gallery.

Beginning Tuesday, the TED conference in partnership with Soho House held an event titled "Time Frame" featuring conversations about the intersection of Art +Time with artists: JR (2011 TED Prize Winner), Gabriel Barcia-Columbo (TED Fellow), and Rachel Sussman (TED Speaker). Whitewall Magazine held an early cocktail reception at The Delano, celebrating its newly designed website and the launch of “The Winter Luxury Issue” featuring Gilbert & George. These events were followed by: White Cube’s Art Basel kick-off event hosted by Jay Jopling; MOCA & Vanity Fair’s International Party showcasing Bill Viola’s new “Liber Insularum / Knight” exhibition series; and, the opening of "Fresh Basel” group installation at Villa Vecchia waterfront estate, organized by The Hole and Collective Hardware.

Wednesday welcomed two major openings—"The Endless Renaissance” at the Bass Museum featuring a multimedia video installation by Eija-Liisa Ahtila, and “Describing Labor” at The Wolfsonian, an exhibition on late nineteenth/ mid-twentieth century depictions of work and class consciousness. Late-night parties included: Jeffrey Deitch / LA MOCA and Vanity Fair’s shindig at The Raleigh; Baibakov Art Projects with Artspace and Lincoln Center exclusive soirée to celebrate the launch of a newly commissioned print by artist Matthew Brannon at Maria Baibakova’s loft in Miami; and lastly, Chanel and Art.sy sponsored a barbecue beach party at Soho House, hosted by Carter Cleveland, Larry Gagosian, Peter Thiel, Wendi Murdoch and Dasha Zhukova with celebrity appearances from Demi Moore and Martha Stewart—an intimate dinner and auction preceded the BBQ raising more than $1 Million to benefit the Dash Snow Initiative for Henry Street Settlement.

Thursday was no less busy. Stefano Tonchi of W Magazine and Chopard hosted a cocktail luncheon at Soho Beach House for an exclusive preview of “Marilyn Forever” with unpublished photos by Milton Greene alongside rare haute jewelry pieces; Kelly Klein held a book signing at The Webster for “Pools: Reflections”, a coffee table sized book that explores the artistry of pools with references to David Hockney, James Turrell, Robert Rauschenberg and Frank West; and, Swiss-based cigar manufacturer Davidoff officially launched the Davidoff Initiative which incorporates among many things a residency program based in the Dominican Republic, where the company’s namesake cigars are crafted. MCM and @60” held a cocktail reception for an artist series collaboration at SLS Hotel Miami; amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research held a benefit event at Soho Beach House sponsored by Belvedere(Red), as part of its “Inspiration” event series; and following Aby Rosen’s exclusive annual dinner at The Dutch, Stavros Niarchos and Vito Schnabel hosted the yearly afterparty at The Wall sponsored by Dom Pérignon. Lastly, Whitehot Magazine and Riot Development presented “Reprise Parisienne” at Villa 221.

On Friday, Tumblr and Paddle 8 presented “Moving the Still: A Gif Festival Party” backed by Smartwater, Milk, MADE and Belvedere. Moncler threw a 60th anniversary celebration in a garage designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron. Also, The Warhol Museum with KIWI Arts Group threw a party at the former Versace mansion now “The Villa by Barton G.”, sponsored by BYN Mellon. There, they launched the “William John Kennedy: The Warhol Museum Edition” box set series of photographs and signed copies of photos of Andy Warhol.

ARTRIO GLOBAL INVESTORS INC. is a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange under the acronym “ART.” Last September, Citigroup lowered its shares in ART from $2.75 to $2.50. Then in late October, Artrio Global Investors (NYSE: ART) announced its quarterly revenue was down 57.8% on a year-over-year basis.

As a key asset management company specializing in fine art investment, the company’s stock fluctuations are indicators (albeit somewhat limited in scope) of the strength of the art market at-large, which seems to be slowing down. More recently, the company website reported that “preliminary month-end assets under management of $14.3 billion as of December 31, 2012, compared to $15.0 billion as of November 30, 2012.”

FORBES RECENTLY RELEASED its top ten American dealers/galleries list and their respective 2011 revenues. With 11 locations worldwide it was no surprise that Gagosian Gallery topped the list with a $925 Million turnover last year. The Pace Gallery’s seven locations grossed $450 Million in 2011, while Acquavella Galleries made $400M. The rest of the top ten included: L&M Arts, $275M; Hauser+Wirth, $225M; David Zwirner, $225M; Marian Goodman Gallery, $150M; Gladstone Gallery, $100M; Paul Cooper Gallery, $100M; and, Matthew Marks Gallery, $100M.


THE 4TH EDITION OF ABU DHABI ART ran November 7–10 in The Saadiyat Cultural District, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. According to the closing press release: “Modern masters were well appreciated at Abu Dhabi Art and sale highlights included Fateh Moudarres' Untitled from Meem Gallery and Shaker Hassan Al Said's Untitled from Agial Gallery. Thaddaeus Ropac's curated booth showing two artists sold works by Farhad Moshiri - Woman on the Verge and Pill. A huge demand was seen for contemporary artists with sales of: Subodh Gupta's Cascading Water from Hauser & Wirth; Anish Kapoor's Untitled 2012 and Marina Abramovic's REST ENERGY, both from Lisson Gallery; an untitled work by Keith Haring from Galerie Enrico Navarra; as well as Lee Ufan's Dialogue from Kamel Mennour Gallery.” A painting by Roy Lichtenstein sold at Edward Tyler Nahem gallery, and a pumpkin sculpture by Yayoi Kusama was purchased from Ota Fine Arts’ booth.

In terms of programming, one panel titled “Architecture Visionaries” presented famed architects Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel and Lord Norman Foster. They discussed local institutions—Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu Dhabi and Zayed National Museum—housed nearby within the Saadiyat Cultural District “to a packed standing-room-only audience of approximately 1,000 people”. Another panel featured Richard Armstrong, Director of Solomon R Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. He discussed six new acquisitions by an international assortment of artists: Jacques Villeglé (France-based), Rachid Koraïchi (Algeria), Monir Farmanfarmaian (Iran), Ai Weiwei (Japan), El Anatsui (Ghana) and Subodh Gupta (India).

ON THURSDAY NOVEMBER 22, HEFFEL—Canada’s premiere auction house—held a sale that totaled CAD$11.5 Million. The top lot was by Lawren Stewart Harris (from the early 19th century “Group of Seven”) whose “Hurdy Gurdy” from 1913 fetched $1.08 Million. Several works by Emily Carr (also affiliated with the Group of Seven) totaled $2,180,000 in sales.

Post-sale, James Adams at The Globe and Mail argued that the Canadian art market remains emergent in its entirety. He wrote: “This immaturity was affirmed late last week with Heffel Fine Art Auction House’s sale in Toronto of 162 lots, almost evenly split between lots of ‘Canadian post-war and contemporary art’ and those described as ‘fine Canadian art’ (art, in other words, created largely before the Second World War).” The country’s art market spans 150 years at most, something to be considered when classifying older Canadian art as established” or “blue chip.”

LONDON, NOT MOSCOW, has long been the global center for Russian art according to Simon Hewitt at The Huffington Post. In late November, several Russian Art auctions took place in London. Specializing in Russian art, MacDougall’s Fine Art Auctions held a sale that failed to find buyers for 36 of 45 lots. Luckily, Christie’s saved face. Its “Important Russian Art” sale fetched £15.2 Million /$24.4 Million, 65% by lot and 83% by value. The auction set new records for artists: Boris Kustodiev, Aleksandr Schevchenko and Maria Iakunchikova. The sale also included three private collections Kapitza, Iakunchikova and Chekhonon—all of which sold 100% of their respective lots. Similarly successful, Sotheby’s held its Russian art evening sale, which totaled £11.5 Million ($18.4M)—89.3% by lot and 84.3% by value. The top earner was Valentin Alexandrovich Serov’s “Portrait of Praskovia Anatolievna Mamontova”. The canvas fetched £1.22 Million ($1.95M), far surpassing its £300–500 pre-estimate and setting a new record for Serov. Other records were set for artists: Martiros Sergeevich Saryan, Sergei Yurievich Sudeikin, Lado Davidovich Gudiashvili, Aleksandr Nikolaevich Samokhvalov, Dmitri Nalbandian, and Nikolai Alexandrovich Zagrekov.

CHRISTIE’S ANNUAL FALL AUCTION in Hong Kong grossed a staggering $334 Million. CNN recently reported: “Although art sales in the region were down by 15% to 25% the first half of the year, sales in the second half of the year bounced back, according to [Francois] Curiel, Christie's Asian head…Three years ago, Hong Kong accounted for only 3% of global sales; last year, Hong Kong accounted for 20% of sales.”

IN EARLY DECEMBER, SOTHEBY’S HK presented “Boundless: Contemporary Art”—its first sale of Asian and Western contemporary art taking place in Asia. Boundless offered 80 works by famed artists like Henri Matisse, Fernando Botero, Mark Quinn, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Yayoi Kusama. The sale totaled of HK$47.7 Million/USD$6.1 Million, reaching the low end of its HK$47–68M/US$6.2–8.8M pre-estimate.

A DRAWING BY OLD MASTER RAPHAEL (née Raffaello Sanzio) sold for £29.7 Million/$47.8 Million at Sotheby’s London on 5 December. “Head of a Young Apostle” (circa 1519-20) fetched nearly thrice its £10–16M pre-estimate at the Old Master & British Paintings Evening Sale—the highest price paid for a drawing at auction. According to Bloomberg, “It was also the second highest for any Old Master after the Rubens painting ‘Massacre of the Innocents,’ which raised 49.5 million pounds at Sotheby’s in 2002.” Furthermore, Sotheby’s website stated: “In addition to the record achieved for Raphael's drawing, seven further records were achieved in tonight's sale, including Jan Havicksz. The sale was 74.5% sold by lot and 86.8% by value, with nine works selling for more than £1 million and 11 works selling for over $1 million.”

THE 6TH EDITION OF MOSCOW ART FAIR ran December 13–18. After a four-year hiatus, the fair attracted over 50,000 visitors viewing 6,000+ fine art and decorative pieces. Christie’s and the Louvre were among the 50 exhibitors.

THE 1ST CHINESE ART MARKET DEVELOPMENT SUMMIT transpired in Beijing on December 20. Through the efforts of regional and overseas auction houses, China’s art market earned ¥210.8 Billion (USD $33.8 Billion) in 2011. According to CRI English (one of the few English news stations in China), “Officials, scholars and art dealers exchanged opinions on the current situation and possible prospects for China’s art market at the summit, themed ‘Beijing — A Maturing Art Market Center for the World’. All sides believe art market regulations and legislation are the first imperatives to deal with if China wants to claim its status as an international art market.” More specifically, tax regulation and procedural standards regarding appraisals, acquisitions and forgeries received serious attention.

THE CZECH ART MARKET is reviving. According to the Prague Monitor, “The art market in the Czech Republic registered record high sales in 2012, Marcela Chmelarova, editor-in-chief of the Artplus.cz portal…Collectors spent a total of 200 million crowns for the ten most expensive works of art at Czech auctions in 2012, while the year before the sum was less than 100 million.”

ON DECEMBER 21ST, SIMON DE PURY stepped down as Chairman of Phillips de Pury & Company. After 12 years with his namesake auction house, de Pury was bought out by Russian-based luxury brand conglomerate The Mercury Group. Founded in 1796, the auction house was initially called Phillips and according to Art Media Agency, “It was then bought by the de Pury & Company auctioneers, and has been known as Phillips de Pury & Company since 2004. Henceforth, the company is to revert to its original name of Phillips.”

IN 2012, THE ART MARKET GENERATED $64 Billion in sales. According to Artlyst: “International Art sales realised more than $64bn (£40bn; 49bn euros) last year with analysts predicting that this area of the market will continue to grow. The art market has again consistently outperformed the equities market this year with a trend of stable growth in the years between 2001 and 2011.” Furthermore, Bloomberg reported: “The top 10 priciest lots added up to $594.6 million, a 44 percent increase from $413.6 million in 2011.”


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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