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Displaying items by tag: Art Market

A self-portrait of Andy Warhol in a spiky fright wig sold for 2.9 million pounds ($4.98 million) at Phillips yesterday in London, concluding the spring auction season in Europe.

This week’s evening sales of contemporary art at Phillips, Sotheby’s (BID) and Christie’s in the U.K. capital produced a total of 202.4 million pounds, a 28 percent jump from the tally at equivalent events last year. New buyers from China and other international markets are boosting prices for top postwar and contemporary artists, as the works are being increasingly seen as strong investments.

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The last American retrospective of the work of Jeff Koons, the perma-smiling master of high art and low, took place at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in the summer of 2008. A week before the show closed, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. It was easy to imagine then, as the US braced for its worst economic crisis in 80 years, that we might never see another Koons retrospective – the costs could never be met, and the American public would surely lose its taste for easy pleasures with giant price tags.

But while the US went bust, the US art market has boomed to even bubblier heights than in the 1980s, when Koons was the poster child for art-world excess. His reputation has skyrocketed; his prices, too. Now he arrives, flashbulbs trailing, at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, where a 35-year retrospective takes up nearly every room in the joint.

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This fall, Christie’s Education, the academic arm of the well-known auction house, will offer a certificate course titled Collecting Contemporary Art at its facility in New York. Divided into seven evening sessions, the course will explore what drives the current trends in the contemporary art market. According to Christie’s, the course is ideal for art enthusiasts or collectors at all levels who are interested in learning more about art from the late 1980s to the present, as well as artistic strategies, collecting practices, the market, and the social and institutional networks that support the art.

The contemporary art market has become increasingly robust in recent years and shows no signs of slowing down. Earlier this month, Christie’s postwar and contemporary art sale netted $745 million, making it the most expensive auction in art market history. Prices for works by contemporary masters such as Barnett Newman, Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon, and Jean-Michel Basquiat continue to climb as there is no shortage of hungry buyers with millions of dollars at their disposal. Christie’s Education seeks to make sense of the mind-bogglingly lucrative market through classes like “Defining Contemporary Art,” “Learning to Look,” and “Global Markets.”

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An artist's work is more valuable if they have a short life, a torrid romantic affair or go mad, a leading art expert has said. He suggests it would "not be a bad thing" commercially if certain painters were to die young.

Philip Hook, a senior director at Sotheby's and former Antiques Roadshow expert, said a short life made the price of a piece of art rise, avoiding the tricky "late period" of older artists.

Saying "no-one would want" British artist David Hockney to have died young, he conceded it is likely that it would have made his work more valuable.

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Tuesday, 27 May 2014 10:43

Reconsidering Rockwell

“Rockwell’s greatest sin as an artist is simple: His is an art of unending cliché.”

In that Washington Post criticism of a 2010 exhibition of Norman Rockwell paintings at the Smithsonian, Blake Gopnik joined a long line of prominent critics attacking Rockwell, the American artist and illustrator who depicted life in mid-20th-century America and died in 1978.

“Norman Rockwell was demonized by a generation of critics who not only saw him as an enemy of modern art, but of all art,” said Deborah Solomon, whose biography of Rockwell, “American Mirror,” was published last year. “He was seen as a lowly calendar artist whose work was unrelated to the lofty ambitions of art,” she said, or, as she put it in her book, “a cornball and a square.” The critical dismissal “was obviously a source of great pain throughout his life,” Ms. Solomon, a frequent contributor to The New York Times, added.

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Auction houses expect to sell as much as $2.3 billion of art in New York this month as billionaires from China to Brazil compete for trophy works by Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso and Jeff Koons in a surging market.

Two weeks of semiannual sales of Impressionist, modern, postwar and contemporary art at Christie’s, Sotheby’s (BID) and Phillips begin May 6, with online bidding as early as today. Their combined sales target represents a 77 percent increase from estimates for a similar round of auctions a year ago.

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Wednesday, 12 March 2014 14:26

Global Art Market Hits $66 Billion

According to a report by Arts Economics, global sales of art and antiquities fetched $65.9 billion in 2013, an annual growth of 8 percent. The report, which was published by the European Fine Art Foundation in Maastricht, Netherlands, showed that the global art market is almost on par with the pre-recession years.

The sale of postwar and contemporary artworks has increased by 11 percent from 2012, led mainly by sales in the United States, which increased by 25 percent in 2013. Last year, astronomical auction records were set for Andy Warhol ($105.4 million), Francis Bacon ($142.4 million), and Roy Lichtenstein ($56.1 million). The report solidified the U.S.’ role as the international art market leader, representing 38 percent of the market by volume, a 5 percent increase from 2012.

China accounted for 24 percent of the market, a slight decline from 2012, while the U.K. represented 20 percent. 

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On Sunday, December 1, Sotheby’s wrapped up Beijing Art Week, a series of sales that marked the company’s first commercial auction in mainland China. The auction house offered $212 million worth of western and Chinese art, jewelry and furniture in three private sales and an auction.

During the Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art auction on Sunday night, a record was set for Chinese-French artist Zao Wou-Ki. the artist’s 1958 oil-on-canvas abstract work, which was sold by the Art Institute of Chicago, brought $14.7 million. Wou-Ki’s previous record was set on October 5 during a sale at Sotheby’s Hong Kong when a work sold for $11 million.

China is home to the fastest growing art market and the success of the Beijing sales indicates that there are active buyers on the mainland.

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On November 12, Christie’s Evening Sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art in New York achieved an unprecedented $691,583,000 – the highest total for any auction in art market history. The top lot was Francis Bacon’s triptych, Three Studies of Lucian Freud, which garnered $142,405,000, a world record for any artwork ever sold at auction.

The highly anticipated painting, which was was expected to sell for $85 million to $95 million, portrays Lucien Freud, Bacon’s friend and fellow artist. Executed in 1969, the work is one of Bacon’s most important paintings and unites two of the most significant figurative artists of the 20th century.

The sale set ten new world auction record prices for Bacon, Jeff Koons, Christopher Wool, Lucio Fontana, Donald Judd, Wade Guyton, Vija Celmins, Ad Reinhardt, Willem de Kooning and Wayne Thiebaud. Three works sold for over $50 million, 16 went for above $10 million, and 56 works exceeded $1 million. In addition, Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dog (Orange) achieved $58,405,000, a new world auction record for a living artist and the most expensive contemporary sculpture ever sold.

Brett Gorvy, Chairman and International Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art at Christie’s, said, “We are thrilled to announce an historic total of $691.6 million for this evening’s sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art. It is the second time this year that Christie’s has broken the highest total in auction history. Collectors from 42 countries registered tonight with strong bidding from American, European and Asian collectors but also from institutions. The sale was heavily focused on icons and masterworks, achieving an astonishing 10 record prices and breaking the record for any work of art ever sold at auction. Beyond the records, 10,000 art lovers flocked to Christie’s galleries in the last week to engage with and enjoy the remarkable selection of artworks on display.”


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In fall 2013 a Berlin/Hong Kong-based entrepreneur will launch Larry’s List, a database of over 3,000 international art collectors, to help galleries and art dealers find new buyers. Galleries will pay between $9 and $19 to view a profile, while artists can search their collectors for free.

Founder Magnus Resch assembled a team of 25 art market researchers who combed 27,000 sources worldwide. Resch claims that his endeavor is the most comprehensive global research project carried out on art collections. His goal is to have art dealers purchase profiles to target emerging markets. For example, if a New York-based dealer is trying to get in on the art boom in Hong Kong, they will have an accessible way to identity new customers in a largely unfamiliar market.

Larry’s List is headquartered in Hong Kong and has an office in Berlin along with regional contributors.

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