Whitehot Magazine

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

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.

PHILLIPS DE PURY & COMPANY’S EQUIVOCAL auction accrued $4.2 Million. Titled “Under the Influence”, the sale set a new record for Will Cotton at $272,500. Other top lots included works by Nate Lowman, Jacob Kassay, and Piotr Uklanski.

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.
Michael Findlay launched the conference with “The Value of Art”—the same title as his recently published book. As current Director of Acquavella Galleries with former posts at Christie’s, Findlay is an art world veteran. He pointed out that the art market’s value is based on auction results, which account for roughly 50% each of all transactions. In other words, current metrics do very little to paint a realistic picture of what’s really going on, pardon the pun.
In terms of private sales tallies, the rapidly growing art fair phenomenon lends more transparency to the market. Noah Horowitz of The Armory Show moderated “The Future of Art Fairs”, which closed the Artelligence conference. Among the many views expressed, Stephano Curioni, VP of ASK Research Center, stated there are two potential futures for art fairs (now 189 and counting). He argued, either they’ll become more elite-driven with stronger institutional control and further commercialization, or they’ll develop into a global system directed by media platforms and innovation.

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.
THIS PAST OCTOBER, CHINA GUARDIAN—the country’s oldest auction house—held its first sale in Hong Kong. The auction house did encounter barriers to entry in the free port city. According to Colin Gleadell at The Telegraph, “China Guardian generated more, at $1.77 billion, inside China alone, but its first Hong Kong sale is unlikely to surpass Sotheby’s as it will be restricted to 340 lots (compared with Sotheby’s 3,300). Its focus will just be on the strongest areas of the market that it deals with in China – traditional 20th-century Chinese ink paintings and classical Ming and Qing dynasty furniture.”
The debut sale presented 319 lots that reached a cumulative tally of HK$185 Million (USD$58.6 Million), more than double its pre-estimate. Previously mentioned “market favorites” Qi Baishi and Zhang Daqian as well as famed artists Li Keran and Xu Beihong authored the best works. Madeleine O'Dea at ARTINFO China wrote, “The top lot was a superb Qi Baishi, the 1922 set of colored ink landscapes ‘Album of Mountains and Rivers,’ which had previously been owned by the noted Japanese collector Yakichirosuma. The album sold for HK$46 million (US$5.9 million) against a high estimate of HK$26 million after a spirited 20-bidder battle.”

VIENNAFAIR THE NEW CONTEMPORARY took place October 10–13. The re-launched fair that focuses on Central, Eastern, and Southeastern European art drew 17,000 visitors over four days. The final press release reported strong sales. Art Vectors Investment Partnership—an initiative by Sergey Skaterschikov of Skate’s Art Market Research—purchase 50+ artworks directly from the 122 gallery booths.
Programming included the inaugural International Art Industry Forum curated by András Szántó. Among the Forum’s many topics, “New Models in Art Investment” investigated how the latest technologies and business models facilitate closer ties between investors and art. The session, moderated by Anders Petterson of ArtTactic, featured the expertise of such notables as Javier Lumbreras of Artemundi Global Fund (based in Miami) and Serge Tiroche of Tiroche DeLeon Collection & ArtVantage (Tel Aviv). Other panel topics included “New Directions in Art Finance” and “The Emerging Economics of the Art Business.”

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).
Major sales highlights included the following: Pablo Picasso’s “Buste d’Homme” was purchased for £5.9 Million at Acquavella Galleries; Paul McCarthy’s “White Snow Head” was acquired for $1.3 Million at Hauser & Wirth; Damien Hirst’s “Destruction Dreamscape” was snagged for £500,000 (~$800,000) at White Cube; Sprüth Magers sold a Jenny Holzer installation for $525K, a George Condo portrait for $325K and a Sterling Ruby collage for $155K—all to European collectors; Victoria Miro Gallery sold a Yayoi Kusama painting for approximately $500K; Alan Cristea Gallery sold 10 of 12 Edmund de Waal ceramic sculptures, each priced between £65–500K; Stephen Friedman Gallery sold several works by Ged Quinn priced in the range of £35–130K; and, Marlborough Gallery sold 40 of 50 new works by Frank Auerbach.

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)”
Two works by Pablo Picasso—“Buste d’Homme” at Acquavella Galleries and "Homme et Femme au bouquet" at Van de Weghe Fine Art—sold for $9.5M and $8.5M respectively. These sales were topped by Joan Miro’s “The Sorrowful March Guided by the Flamboyant Bird of the Desert” purchased with an asking price of $20 Million at Helly Nahmad. Other highlights: an Adriaen Coorte still life sold for $3.7M at David Koetser Gallery; a Bruce Nauman installation sold for between $2–3M at Sperone Westwater; a Joan Mitchell painting and a Louise Bourgeois sculpture each sold for over a million at Cheim & Read; and, a Ben Nicolson painting sold for £400,000 at Bernard Jacobson.

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 Italian Sale achieved £18M ($25.5M). Piero Manzoni‘s “Achrome” topped the sale at £2.6M ($3.7M). Lucio Fontana followed suit with a canvas that sold for £2.5M ($3.5M). Furthermore, new artist records were set for Fausto Melotti, Vettor Pisani, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Paola Pivi and Arnaldo Pomodoro.

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).
THE 39TH EDITION OF FIAC (which stands for Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain) ran October 18–21. This year the fair included 182 galleries representing 25 countries. Prominent dealers like Emmanuel Perrotin were spotted in their colorful booths deeply engaged with visitors—70,644 in total, representing a 3.7% increase from the previous edition.
Mega-sales were rampant. Booths like Galerie Perrotin, Galerie Kamel Mennour and Galerie Chantal Crousel sold several high-end works for undisclosed sums. New-York based Helly Nahmad sold a surrealist painting by Joan Miro titled “Peinture (Le Cheval de Cirque)” for USD$8 Million. Tornabuoni Arte sold a slashed red canvas by Lucio Fontana titled “Concetto Spaziale, Attese,” with an asking price of €2M ($2.63M). Other sales highlights included: Paul McCarthy’s “White Snow Dwarf Head 3″ purchased for $1.75M at Hauser & Wirth; a fiberglass sculpture by Anish Kapoor acquired for £500K ($807K) at Lisson Gallery; Antony Gormley’s “Standing Matter XXXV” was purchased for £325K ($560K) and two charcoal drawings by Robert Longo for $275K per at Thaddeus Ropac; Continua Gallery sold a ceramic by Ai Weiwei for €300K ($384K); and, Sadie Coles HQ sold a work by Elizabeth Peyton for $350K. According to Art Market Monitor, “Metro [Pictures] took barely an hour to sell half of the 10 smaller 2012 Robert Longo ink-and-charcoal ‘Studies of the American Flag’ it was showing on its booth, priced at $35,000 each. Longo’s large-scale triptych of the same subject, priced at $600,000, was on reserve… During the first few hours, Cooper sold a 2012 Rudolf Stingel silver abstract for $400,000 to a U.S. collector and Sophie Calle’s two-piece ‘Autobiographies (The Giraffe)’ for $40,000 to a French client.”

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.

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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