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
Find peace in mind knowing when you shop at GallArt.com that the artwork you purchase is genuine and always comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.
What Is a Certificate of Authenticity?
A Certificate of Authenticity is a bit like an artwork’s birth certificate, passport and quality guarantee all rolled into one.
Essentially, a COA is a document, created by the artist or someone who is an expert on the artist, which accompanies an artwork and contains all the information a collector could need to verify if the piece of art is genuine.
A Certificate of Authenticity (COA) provides a lot of concrete detail about a piece, but by existing for a particular piece, it says even more. An artwork that has a COA is one that is made by a professional practicing artist, not an amateur. It is a piece that has collectible value. The Certificate adds a tangible credibility to the work. It can help the work hold its value.
The COA is held to be an indirect promise of quality. Art pieces that have a COA have usually been made by an artist who cares about their work, its longevity and their collectors. The piece is likely to have been created from the best materials available, be designed to last and been created by an expert. Back to the concrete details, the Certificate will provide all the information on the medium(s) of the piece needed for conservation that might otherwise be lost forever.
Certificates protect the artist and the buyer by helping to prove that an artwork is original. Cheap copies sold without an artist’s knowledge or consent is unfortunately common. Without a COA attached, this situation makes it next to impossible for the buyer to be confident of the value of the piece or for the artist to maintain their credibility and their livelihood.
As an art collector, you really must only buy Fine Art pieces that are backed by a Certificate of Authenticity. This helps ensure that what you have bought at a premium is genuine and not counterfeit.
GET A MAP New York is a city of multiplying art districts. Explore them. Bushwick and Williamsburg in Brooklyn, and Long Island City in Queens, are well established as alternative art centers. So is the Lower East Side in Manhattan. But artists and galleries also cluster in Greenpoint, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Gowanus, Brooklyn. Gallery Guide, a free booklet with listings of current exhibitions and neighborhood maps, can be found in many galleries. Online, there’s the Chelsea Gallery Map, and for Brooklyn, the monthly guide Wagmag.
CHECK PAST SALES See if the artist you like has a track record. Artnet sells subscriptions to its price database, which has sales from 1,600 auction houses since 1985.
NEGOTIATE The contract between dealer and artist usually includes a clause permitting the dealer to lower the price of an artwork up to a certain percentage, somewhere between 5 and 20 percent. Remember that the artist gets only half of the listed price. The gallery takes the rest.
DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY Some of the higher-end galleries can be snooty, forcing you to ask for price information, which should be visible, and assuming you’re not a serious buyer. Leading dealers also like to place their holdings with established collectors to protect the works’ pedigree, so even if you can afford a major painting, a gallery may not want to sell it to you. Don’t sweat it. Just move on to more welcoming galleries.
WORK THE ANGLES For a higher-priced work, a dealer might agree to installment payments.
LOOK FOR THE RED DOT If an artwork on the wall or on the gallery’s price list (which, by law, must be prominently displayed, though often is not) has a red dot, that means it has been sold.
HAVE A PLAN B If the work you want is too expensive, consider smaller works by the same artist, a work on paper rather than an oil painting, an oil-pastel study, an older work or a photograph. And ask to look in the back room. Most dealers will have additional work by an artist they represent.
“Art doesn’t have to be expensive, but it’s important to be out there and see what’s happening. It may take you six months or a year to find what you like.” Judith Selkowitz (art adviser)
HIRE AN ART ADVISER There are plenty of people whose job it is to help you buy art, whether it’s just a few decorative pieces or the beginnings of a serious collection. You can find them through online listings, but it’s better to ask your art-buying acquaintances for their advisers or search for names in news articles about collectors and the art market.
READ AND PREVIEW Do your homework. Study the auction catalog — including price estimates — and visit previews for a close-up look at the art on offer. Set a budget and stick to it.
SIT ON YOUR HANDS Auctions can be overwhelming. There is a show-business element to the proceedings, and big names in attendance. You can’t always tell what’s happening — or who’s bidding. That’s because some buyers prefer anonymity so they bid over the phone or from private boxes above the auction room. Also, the bidding can go fast, with auctioneers throwing out several figures in succession to jump-start the process. When in doubt, just watch.
CLICK, WITH CAUTION There are some great deals online and legitimate outfits getting into the act — Sotheby’s recently held its first auction in a new partnership with eBay, and Christie’s in 2012 sold some of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Art’s collection online. But buyers must beware; the online sphere leaves all sorts of room for specious claims about provenance, condition and value. Paddle8 and Auctionata are considered reputable sites. You need to exercise due diligence on sellers and their claims before you click the bidding button.
LOOK AT THE CLOCK Lisa Dennison, the chairwoman of Sotheby’s North and South America, advises bargain hunters to look at the day sales, where “you will find works by many of the same artists in the evening sale, at a fraction of the price.”
At Sotheby’s, an untitled 2009 polyurethanic rubber hand by Maurizio Cattelan is estimated at $15,000 to $20,000 in the day sale on Wednesday, whereas that artist’s piece featuring miniature working elevators (also untitled) from 2001 is estimated at $1.2 million to $1.8 million at the sale the previous evening.
“People get sentimental about the first few works of art they buy, or they find them laughable and use them as benchmarks of their early mistakes. But either way, it’s like first love, and one should totally revel in it.” — Amy Cappellazzo (art adviser)
For the complete Guide on Buying Art, read the full article on NYTimes.com