Gallery Art owner Kenneth Hendel holds on tightly to Picasso’s ‘Portrait de Marie-Therese’ at his gallery in Aventura on Wednesday, April 20, 2016. Hendel received a letter from a New York law firm saying that the Picasso in his gallery was stolen ten years ago from the Tisch family and they just noticed it was missing now. The gallery owner contends he bought the art from another dealer – paid $350,000 for it — and that he knows nothing about it being stolen.
PATRICK FARRELL firstname.lastname@example.org
With art market pundits anticipating a ‘chill’ in 2016, Christie’s opening salvo was conversely mild, and without too many portents of gloom. But it wasn’t on fire either. The sale realised £95.9 million ($138 million), including premium, or just around the lower estimate of £83.6-123 million without premium. A tolerable 22 lots, or 25 percent of the 89 lots, went unsold, including only 2 in the category of works selling for £1.7 million ($2.5 million) or more. But just as many lots sold to bids either on or below the low estimates.
The sale, which included a separate catalogue for surrealist works, trailedlast February’s £147 million pound sale by some margin. “It wasn’t easy,” commented Guy Jennings, managing director of The Fine Art Fund Group. “I’d say the market has softened a bit. But it was steady.” Jay Vincze, the head of the Impressionist and modern art department at Christie’s London said the shortfall on last year was because last year he had two exceptional collections. “There was no chill; this was about normal for us.”
If Christie’s were looking for some certitude in the middle market, it could be found. They had a racing start with works on paper by Pablo Picassoand Henri-Edmond Cross soaring over estimates leaving underbidders in the room—dealer Hugh Gibson and advisor Wentworth Beaumont—empty handed.
Some of the top lots were coming back to auction having sold just before the 2008 crash, so it was a test as to whether those values could be maintained. Egon Schiele‘s 1909 self-portrait oil painting had previously been in Ronald Lauder’s collection until he sold it in 2007 to help pay for his acquisition of some expensive, restituted works by Gustav Klimt for the Neue Gallerie. In 2007, it sold on a single bid for £4.5 million pounds, and the buyer, a ‘private European collector,’ was hoping for a small mark-up at £6-8 million. Tuesday night, it sold for £7.2 million.
Also the property of a ‘private European collector’ was a 1925 still life by Picasso which had been bought in the same Christie’s auction for a mid-estimate of £2.8 million. Christie’s had doubled the estimate this time around, to £4-6 million, and it made a modest return, selling it for £4 million pounds to a phone bidder against the London dealer Ezra Nahmad.
Other top lots to sell were a blissfully romantic work by Marc Chagall, Les Maries de la Tour, which clipped the top estimate selling for £7 million ($10 million) to adviser Thomas Seydoux who, when he was at Christie’s, was known for his close relationships with Russian collectors. The painting last sold at auction in New York in 1991 for $600,000. And Fernand Leger’s dynamic Le Moteur, a smaller version of a painting of the same title which sold for a record $16.7 million in 2001, sold this evening to dealer, Hugh Gibson, within estimate for £5.2 million.
There was a meaty selection of early 20th century German paintings byErnst Ludwig Kirchner, Lyonel Feininger, Otto Dix and more, which, except for a weak still life by Max Beckmann, sold mostly above estimates. A street scene in Murnau in 1908 by Wassily Kandinsky—not long before he shifted towards abstraction, was snapped up below estimate for £1.4 million by Amsterdam-based advisor Matthijs Erdman, and an early expressionistic landscape by Karl Schmidt-Rottluf, Windy Day, was chased by German advisor, Jorg Bertz, before selling to a phone bidder near the top end of its estimate at £1.3 million. The star of this section, though, was the relatively unknown Neue Sachlichkeit artist, Georg Scholz, with a satirical 1920s critique of small town bourgeois activities (Small Town by Day) in Germany, which quadrupled the low estimate selling to New York’s Acquavella Gallery for a record £1.2 million. Christie’s saw this coming because much the same happened with a gouache study for this painting in 2012.
On the minus side was a small, rather dull Giacometti painting, Buste d’homme, which had been bought just before the credit crunch for £1.6 million. Now estimated at £1.8-2.5 million, it failed to find a buyer. Making losses for the sellers were a Matisse drawing, bought in New York in November 2012 for $458,500, which now sold for £266,500 ($383,494), and a large jazzy canvas by Andre Lhote, Gipsy Bar, for which the owner paid a seemingly extravagant $2.7 million dollars back in 2007. That record still stands, as Gipsy Bar sold this time round for a more reasonable £1.1 million ($1.9 million).
Christie’s had made much of the promise in Asia when touring the highlights from its sale in the East last month. But bidding from Asian collectors was muted. A verdant Farm in Normandy by Paul Cezanne (1882), sold near the low estimate for £5.1 million, as did Chagall’s run-of-the-mill Violinist under the Moon, which sold for £1.8 million—both to Asian phone bidders. The strongest Asian bidding came for an early, rather awkward looking portrait of a young man by Cezanne which was estimated at £300,000, but sold for £1.2 million.
The surrealist section of the sale appeared to be a bit disappointing because past sales have been getting stronger and stronger. Christie’s has built a reputation as the leading auctioneer for surrealist art under the guidance of deputy chairman, Olivier Camu, who is also a specialist in the area. Last February, they chalked up 66 million pounds of sales for their Surrealist sale (over the £37-54 million estimate). This evening, the level of consignments was down, with a pre-sale estimate of £26-39 million, as was the total, £29.5 million. Echoing Vincze, Camu said the disparity was only due to the exceptional private collection it had for sale last year, which is not something you can depend on.
However, many of the lots that had higher estimates had already been at auction within the last five years, and were thus well known to buyers. The top lot, Max Ernst‘s The Stolen Mirror, an homage to his former lover, Leonora Carrington, set a record $16.3 million (£10.3 million) when it sold for four times the lower estimate to a European collector at Christie’s New York in November 2011. That collector must have needed to sell and been prepared to take a loss as he secured a guarantee from Christie’s, most probably near the lower end of the £7-10 million estimate. But bidding was thin on Tuesday and the painting fell to a lone telephone bidder—likely the guarantor—for a premium inclusive £7.6 million.
Also taking a loss was Christie’s. Rene Magritte’s 1947 painting,Mesdesmoiselles de l’Isle Adam, which is simultaneously delightful and scary, sold at Christie’s New York in November 2014 below estimate for $4.3 million dollars. The painting had a third party guarantee, but had somehow managed to become property of Christie’s (i.e., the guarantee didn’t materialize). Now with a lower £2-3 million estimate, it sold for £2 million ($2.86 million), with Christie’s having to shoulder the difference.
The other Christie’s owned property, Joan Miro’s Femme et Oiseau dans la Nuit, 1968, carried the second highest estimate of the surrealist sale at £3-5 million, down on the £4-6 million it carried in June 2010 when it sold for £5.2 million. Although it had not been guaranteed, it was not paid for. Fortunately for Christie’s, there was plenty of bidding on it the second time around, spurred first by London dealer Angela Nevill, and then by Ezra Nahmad, before it sold to a phone bidder for £5.8 million, just enough to get Christie’s out of jail.
Another of the higher valued lots that had been at auction relatively recently was Salvador Dalí‘s Le Voyage Fantastique, a 1965 portrait of movie star, Raquel Welch, that blended sci-fi elements with a Lichtenstein-like benday-dot technique. This obviously appealed to the Mugrabi family of art dealers when they bought it in 2011 in New York for a mid-estimate $1.9 million. With a similar estimate of £1.2-1.8 million, it might have tempted one of the Asian buyers who have taken Dalí to heart, but it sold on a £1.2 million bid ($1.7 million), and not to an Asian collector, leaving the Mugrabis unusually short on a deal.
source via: artnet
Auction houses have been rolling out a steady stream of blockbuster consignments in recent weeks as the art world braces for what is perhaps the biggest trophy season yet. Works on the block include a nine figure Modigliani nude at Christie’s and the $500 million fully guaranteed collection of former Sotheby’s chairman A. Alfred Taubman at Sotheby’s—the highest estimated single-owner sale in history.
It’s a sign of how hot the current market is that buyers are willing to part with a number of rare blue-chip lots while also securing hefty guarantees either directly from the auction houses or via outside guarantors who have stepped up to the plate. One recent report concludes that $1 billion, or roughly half, of the $2 billion worth of art on offer this season has already been sold, due to guarantees.
Christie’s continues to shake up the sale schedule with the addition of another powerhouse hybrid sale of Impressionist and contemporary art, titled “The Artist’s Muse” on Monday November 9, creating a ripple effect of date shifts that will now see Phillips holding the first Sunday evening sale of 20th Century and contemporary art on November 8 to jump-start the week.
Sotheby’s meanwhile is adhering to the traditional model of holding its major Impressionist and modern evening sale in the first week of the month (November 5), although the sheer scope of the Taubman collection—about 500 lots in all—also necessitated an additional evening sale of roughly 75 of the best works. On November 4, “Masterworks: The Collection of A. Alfred Taubman” will open the auction series.
Read on for a selection of highlights, and don’t miss artnet News’ coverage of the highly-anticipated evening sales.
Wednesday, November 4:
Sotheby’s “Masterworks: The Collection of A. Alfred Taubman“
Sotheby’s is poised to break the auction record for Frank Stella with this mesmerizing example from the Taubman collection: Delaware Crossing (1961) is estimated at $8 million to $12 million. If it makes it to even the low end of the presale estimate, it will have exceeded the current $6.6 million record set for the artist in 2014.
Thursday, November 5:
Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale.
Sotheby’s Impressionist and modern expert Simon Shaw called this van Gogh landscape the “great jewel” of Belgian collectors Louis and Evelyn Franck, whose collection—which also includes a rare blue period Picasso and important works by James Ensor—is the centerpiece of the Impressionist and evening sale. Van Gogh painted Paysage sous un ciel mouvementé in Arles in 1889, just a month before he checked himself into an asylum at Saint-Rémy.
Picasso’s La Gommeuse (1901), which hails from the collection of art and wine aficionado Bill Koch, is a blue period portrait that was painted when the artist was only 19 years old. It also has an intriguing back story including a long-hidden painting underneath the lining that Koch uncovered during conservation efforts in 2000.
Wednesday, November 11:
Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale
Sotheby’s is offering a rare Cy Twombly “blackboard” painting this fall—one of the few remaining in private hands—with an asking price around $60 million.
That puts the painting in the running for a potential new auction record for the artist; the current record stands at $69.6 million, which was set in November 2014 at Christie’s New York for another untitled blackboard painting dating from 1970.
Sunday November 8:
Phillips’ 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale
Phillips’ sale will be led by two fresh-to-auction works: Willem de Kooning‘s 1977 abstract was most recently acquired from Gagosian Gallery by the present consignor, and carries an estimate of $10 million to $15 million. The architect Le Corbusier is represented here by the vibrant painting Femme rouge et pelote verte (1932), which was acquired directly from the artist by the present owner, according to Phillips.
Monday, November 9:
Christie’s “The Artist’s Muse” Sale
This Modigliani nude—which has an asking price in the region of $100 million—has generated considerable buzz this fall. It is the centerpiece of Christie’s curated sale “The Artist’s Muse,” and is poised to break the current record for a work by the artist, which is held by Tête (1911-12), a carved stone sculpture that sold for $70.7 million at Sotheby’s this past November.
Tuesday, November 10:
Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Evening Sale
Even with the blockbuster works it placed in its Monday night muse sale, Christie’s still had plenty of firepower left for its evening contemporary sale. Front and center (and also currently standing outside Christie’s Rockefeller Center headquarters in midtown) is Louise Bourgeois‘ monumental Spider (conceived in 1996, and cast in 1997), with an unpublished estimate of $25 million to $35 million.
source via artnet
Art dealing can be glamorous, as well as culturally enriching, and there are certainly financial benefits to be gained. But those are just the upsides. All successful dealers will tell you that the climb to the top is uncertain, steep, and potentially treacherous. Even when you think you’ve achieved something, it may be even harder to maintain.
Below, we’ve gathered five art dealer stories that show the struggle is very, very real.
1. Michele Maccarone
Michele Maccarone was a director at blue-chip gallery Luhring Augustinein New York when she decided to open up her own space in Chinatown. This sounds easy enough, except the year was 2001, and virtually no one had a gallery in the area. Maccarone told Vice in a 2010 interview, “I was so broke that I had to actually live there. I lived in that building with no hot water, no shower, and no heat. My life was so derelict, I would shower at the Dolphin gym on Avenue B. And it smelled like dead rats. It was so raw.” The dealer then joked that she takes “full responsibility for boug-ing up that neighborhood.”
The New York-based dealer is planning on opening her second space in LA this September.
2. Larry Gagosian
Although he is now one of the art world’s biggest players, with 15 galleries worldwide, Lawrence Gilbert “Larry” Gagosian came to his mega-watt art dealing career organically.
In an interview with collector Peter Brant in Interview magazine, Gagosian disclosed that he dropped out of college several times before graduating after six years. He worked at a free-press bookstore and record store while studying, eventually landing a job at William Morris Agency where he worked, briefly, for Michael Ovitz. After he was fired from the agency, he parked cars and then started selling posters on the street. In her memoir,Girl in a Band, artist Kim Gordon writes about her time as an assistant to Gagosian during his poster days. “He was erratic, and the last person on the planet I would have ever thought would later become the world’s most powerful art dealer.”
The rest is art world history.
3. Joel Mesler
Dealer Joel Mesler, who now co-runs two spaces with fellow dealer Zach Feuer, started his first gallery, Diane Pruess, in LA’s Chinatown. Like Maccarone, Mesler spent the early 2000s living in his gallery, but unlike Maccarone, he built a makeshift bar and used it as an after-hours lounge-speakeasy. But after all the struggle of starting a gallery, his first show didn’t gain any traction.
“The show was up for two months. It was never reviewed and I did not sell any work. I was 26 years old,” Mesler wrote in Artnews. One day, Patrick Painter, a dealer who first showed Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, came by Mesler’s new space, but not to check out the gallery. “Painter took a 20-minute shit in my bathroom and left,” Mesler recalled. We’re happy to report that Mesler is doing much better now.
4. Gavin Brown
The UK-born dealer, who represents Rob Pruitt, Elizabeth Peyton, andRirkrit Tiravanija, told Art Review he came to New York in 1988 with $3,000 in his pocket: $1,500 from selling posters back home and $1,500 from his mother. When he arrived in New York, Brown found himself juggling between a lunch shift at the Tribeca brasserie Odeon and a night shift at the dive bar, Canal Bar.
After getting fired from the Odeon, Brown got by with odd jobs apartment-painting, until he landed a cushy job at a gallery. But that wasn’t enough for Brown; in 1997, he opened a gallery with a beloved bar attached called Passerby, whose light-up disco floor was created by artist Piotr Uklanski. But how did he survive the harsh environment that is New York? “I sold art. There weren’t any other options,” he told Art Review. Brown, who also has a space in Rome, Italy, is now forging a new path; he recently closing his West Side space to open a new Harlem location.
5. Michael Werner
After being fired from his assistant position at a gallery for telling collectors the work on view was “shit,” Michael Werner opened his own space in his tiny Berlin bedroom. In an interview with W magazine, Werner recalls his time “pretending to be a dealer” since he had no clients.
“You cannot imagine how it was,” he told W. “All these artists had no success. And I was slowly disintegrating as a person. I would live at night and sleep during the day, to escape from it all.” Today, Werner is credited with nurturing the careers of Georg Baselitz, whom he gave his first show,Sigmar Polke, and Jörg Immendorff, among other artists. He now has gallery locations in New York, London, and Germany.
Artist: Andy Warhol
Title: Uncle Sam FS II.259
Medium: Screenprint with Diamond Dust on Lenox Museum Board
Size: 38 x 38 inches
Edition: of 200
“Uncle Sam” is 1 of 10 screenprints from the “Myths Suite” portfolio. In the “Myths” suite Andy Warhol features 10 very well known fictional figures. Some would call Andy Warhol the founding father of pop art. Some would call him genius. What ever you call him, his works are some of the most sought after and the auction records speak for themselves. “Today, he is regarded as one of the most prominent artists of the twentieth century, contributing not only thousands of works of art that are housed in museums and collections worldwide but also an iconic style that would impact the art market and artists alike for decades. His works have been exhibited in over two thousand exhibitions, including retrospectives at The Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY (2008); Musée National d´Art Moderne, Paris, France (1990); and The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL (1989).”
View our entire Warhol inventory here.