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Displaying items by tag: Art Market

Friday, 22 February 2013 14:50

Historic Agnew’s Gallery to Sell Archive

London’s historic Agnew’s Gallery, which announced earlier this month that they will be closing after nearly 200 years in business, plans to sell off its extensive library and archive after its doors shut on April 30, 2013. The remarkable archive is considered one of the most important and complete records of art market dealings to take place over the past two centuries. While Agnew’s specializes in Old Master paintings, the gallery has dealt in everything from Rembrandt (1606-1669) masterpieces to modern canvases by Francis Bacon (1909-1992).

The archive contains stock legers, which are extremely important to provenance research related to the gallery’s areas of expertise. There has been some speculation that the Getty Institute in Los Angeles will bid on the archive as they run a significant provenance research center. However, it is likely that officials will want to keep the archive in the UK.

The gallery’s chairman, Julian Agnew, will continue to work as an advisor to clients and plans to keep the company’s family name.  

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Thursday, 21 February 2013 13:22

Francis Bacon Paintings Discovered

Six paintings by Francis Bacon (1902-1992) have been discovered on the backsides of amateur works by Lewis Todd (1925-2006), a former caricaturist for the Cambridge Daily News. Bacon preferred to paint on the unprimed backs of canvases because of their raw quality. While the Heffer Gallery of Cambridge supplied art materials to both Bacon and Todd, it is unclear how the canvases found their way to the gallery. Heffer often provided Todd with rejected canvases, which he cut up and used for his own impressionist compositions.

The six paintings appear to be part of Bacon’s “Pope” paintings, which he executed during the 1950s. The series depicts freeze-frames of eerie religious figures and includes some of Bacon’s best-known works. The Francis Bacon Authentication Committee has confirmed that five of the six works are genuine after paint sample tests revealed that the paint is the same paint Bacon used during the 1950s and 1960s.

The newly discover Bacon paintings will be sold at Ewbanks Auctions in southern England on March 20, 2013. A strong force in the art market, a previous sale of Bacon’s garbage, journals, and discarded artworks garnered nearly $1.5 million at Ewbanks in 2007. The auction house has a set a pre-sale estimate of $152,570 for the newly discovered paintings, but wouldn't be surprised if they fetched closer to $300,000.       

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Wednesday, 13 February 2013 14:30

Sotheby’s Contemporary Sale Garners $116 Million

Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening Auction in London totaled $116 million on February 12, 2013. The sale featured a number of works by art market powerhouses such as Francis Bacon (1909-1992), Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988), and Gerhard Richter (b. 1932). Bacon’s oil on canvas triptych Three Studies for a Self-Portrait (1980), which sold for $21.5 million, was the evening’s top lot. German collector, Jurgen Hall, who plans to loan the work to a major international institution, purchased the painting.  

44 of the 54 lots offered sold and over 20 works brought more than $1 million dollars. Highlights included two Richter paintings, Wolke (Cloud) (1976) and Abstraktes Bild (769-1) (1992), which sold for $11.9 million and $12.8 million respectively. Basquiat’s Untitled (Pech/Oreja) (1982-83), a large-scale acrylic, oil stick, and paper collage, went for $10. 7 million and another one of his hefty works, Five Fish Species (1983), sold for $7.8 million. Both works were purchased by New York-based art dealer Jose Mugrabi.

While there were some major sales, the auction fell comfortably within its pre-sale estimate of $95.7 million to $132.2 million. The contemporary auctions will continue tonight, Feburary 13, 2013, at Christie’s London.

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Wednesday, 30 January 2013 12:34

Christie’s to Host Online-Only Warhol Auction

Christie’s will be holding an online-only auction of works by Andy Warhol (1928-1987) from February 26 through March 5, 2013. The sale, which aims to grant a broader audience the chance to own a Warhol original, will benefit the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

125 paintings, drawings, photographs, and prints by Warhol, an art market powerhouse, will be available. The works feature a wide range of pre-sale estimates, spanning from $600 to $70,000. The online format allows interested buyers to browse available works, make bids, and receive notifications by phone or email about the sale and status of their bids.

Although this is Christie’s first online-only Warhol sale, the auction house will be hosting more throughout 2013 as part of an ongoing partnership with the Warhol Foundation. The weeklong digital sale marks the first time Christie’s has ever offered online-only Post War and Contemporary art sales.

Highlights from Christie’s online sale include one of Warhol’s famous Campbell’s soup cans filled with concrete (circa 1964), four gelatin silver prints of Steven Spielberg stitched together (circa 1976-1986), and a graphite on paper drawing titled Madonna and Child (circa 1981).

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When Henry Kravis, the co-chairman of the global investment firm KKR & Co., and prominent art collector Donald L. Bryant Jr. purchased a triptych by Jasper Johns (b. 1930) in 2008, the duo agreed to take turns exhibiting the works in their homes before eventually donating them to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In a lawsuit recently filed by Kravis and his wife, Marie-Josée, the couple claims that Bryant violated their agreement when he refused to hand the works over to them on January 14, 2013. The Kravises stated that Bryant is essentially holding the works hostage until their agreement is amended, nixing the pledge to donate the paintings.     

Considered one of the most important living American artists, Johns completed the three works titled Tantric Detail I, Tantric Detail II, and Tantric Detail III in 1980 and 1981. A powerful presence in the contemporary art market, Johns’ triptych is said to be worth between $15 million and $25 million. MoMA announced the Johns acquisition in a 2008 press release saying that the works were a “promised gift” from Bryant, who was one of the museum’s trustees at the time, Marie-Josée, the president of MoMA’s board of trustees, and her husband, Henry.

In their lawsuit, the Kravises ask that Bryant relinquish the works to them so that they can fulfill their vow to donate the paintings to MoMA.  

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On a recent visit to the Andy Warhol Foundation in New York, gallerist Daniel Blau was allowed a glimpse of rare, early drawings by Andy Warhol (1928-1987) that had remained out of public view for over 20 years. The 300 drawings, which were completed in the 1950s, will be published for the first time next week.

The drawings stand in sharp contrast to Warhol’s highly recognizable pop art works and reveal a lesser-known side of the artist as a talented draughtsman. The works will be published in a book edited by Blau and are currently being exhibited at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark (on view through February 21, 2013). After another exhibition in The Netherlands, the drawings will be put up for sale, surely a welcomed addition to the highly sought after Warhol works currently on the market.

Blau has a longstanding relationship with the Andy Warhol Foundation and organized his first show of the artist’s work in 1995. He has held a number of Warhol shows since then. From Silverpoint to Silver Screen, Warhol: The 1950s Drawings, which is being published by Hirmer, will be available on January 28, 2013.  

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Saturday, 15 December 2012 06:06

Edith Halpert & The Art Market

At the mention of Edith Halpert’s (1900–1970) name most modern art dealers, gallery owners, and auction appraisers can’t help but applaud. A renegade of the modern art world, Halpert brought recognition and eventual market success to a number of unsung artists. “Some critics and dealers thought she was at risk showing the artists she exhibited during her early days, but for her it was the intrinsic relevance of the art in which she believed,” says Allan Kollar of A.J. Kollar Fine Painting.

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On December 5, Sotheby’s in New York will help cosmetics executive, Leonard Lauder, auction off jewelry that once belonged to his wife, Evelyn, and mother Estée. The collection is worth at least $13.4 million and includes a 47.714-carat heart-shaped yellow diamond with connections to the Duchess of Windsor, a Van Cleef & Arpels brooch featuring a pair of ruby tulips and diamonds, a flawless 6.54-carat fancy intense pink diamond ring by Oscar Heyman & Bros, and a 22.16-carat platinum and diamond ring from Graff.

Part of Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction, the proceeds from the 35 pieces will benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, an organization founded and championed by Evelyn Lauder. Additional pieces from the collection will be offered in New York as part of the Important Jewels auction in February 2013, also sold to benefit the Research Foundation. Leonard Lauder, chairman of The Estée Lauder Company and acting chairman of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation said, “We are pleased to be partnering with Sotheby’s for this important auction. Each piece of jewelry is unique and very special.”

 The auction comes at a time when high-end jewelry has been outperforming most of the art market. Buyers and collectors continue to seek recession-proof assets and have turned to quality jewelry designed by big names such as Bulgari and Van Cleef & Arpels for stable investments. Sotheby’s said its jewelry sales were up 19% this year.

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David Hickey, one of America’s foremost art critics is known for his acerbic commentary, but his latest tirade against the world of modern art is downright scathing. Hickey, a professor, curator, and author, told the Observer that he will be walking away from contemporary art, a genre he says has been ruined by rich collectors who are more concerned with money and celebrity than quality.

Hickey claims that art editors and critics have lost their edge, spending more time catering to the wealthy people who hold the reigns on the contemporary art market than surveying the actual work (which he says is also lacking). Hickey is not alone in this claim. A number of contemporary art curators, museums, and galleries have deemed the work of such artists as Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, and Antony Gormley bloated and empty – the result of too much fame and not enough criticism. While the notion of the artist as celebrity is not new, today’s market is saturated with it and gaining status has taken precedence over making revolutionary, ground-breaking art.

A former dealer, Hickey is attuned to considering art in monetary terms but his objections stem from his belief that contemporary art has become too broad, too elitist, and lacks discretion. Hickey’s retirement will remove an important critical voice from the equation. He plans to complete a book on the pagan roots of America, aptly titled Pagan America, as well as a book of essays titled Pirates and Framers.

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Thursday, 18 October 2012 16:27

Getty Institute Buys Knoedler Gallery Archive

165 years ago, the Knoedler Gallery opened its doors in New York and went on to help create some of the country’s most celebrated collections including those of Paul Mellon, Henry Clay Frick, and Robert Sterling Clark. Throughout the years, top-notch works by artists such as van Gogh, Manet, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Louise Bourgeois, and Willem de Kooning passed through the gallery. When the Soviet government sold hundreds of paintings from the State Hermitage Museum in Leningrad in the 1930s, they chose to work with Knoedler to sell paintings by masters like Rembrandt, Raphael, and Velazquez.

Knoedler’s exemplary past is often forgotten as the gallery’s present has been mired in lawsuits and accusations that the company’s former president, Ann Freedman, was in the business of selling fakes. Last year, Knoedler Gallery closed its doors for good.

This week, Los Angeles’ Getty Research Institute announced that it had bought the Knoedler Gallery archive. Spanning from around 1850 to 1971, the archive includes stock books, sales books, a photo archive and files of correspondence, including letters from artists and collectors, some with illustrations. The Getty was interested in Knoedler’s archive because it offers an expansive glimpse into the history of collecting and the art market in the United States and Europe from the mid-19th century to modern times.

The archive was purchased from Knoedler’s owner, Michael Hammer, for an undisclosed amount. Meticulously preserved, the archive will be available to scholars and digitized for online research after the Getty catalogues and conserves it all.

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