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Monday, 03 June 2013 18:03

SFMOMA Breaks Ground on New Expansion

San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) broke ground on its highly anticipated expansion on Wednesday, May 29, 2013. Around 300 supporters gathered to witness the kick-off of the construction project that will add 225,000-square-feet to the museum. The renovated space is expected to reopen in 2016.

 Snøhetta, an international architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design firm based in Oslo, Norway and New York City, designed SFMOMA’s expansion, which is expected to cost around $610 million. 89% of the capital has already been collected through fundraising. Officials upped their original estimate for construction from $555 million in May.

 SFMOMA’s expansion will more than double the existing exhibition space and provide nearly six times as much public space as their currently Mario Botta-designed building. The renovation will create a new outdoor terrace, a sculpture terrace, and state-of-the-art conservation studios. The museum will also take a more environmentally sensitive approach to day-to-day operations. SFMOMA hopes to gain LEED Gold certification by reducing their energy costs, water use, and wastewater generation.


 

 

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Friday, 05 April 2013 16:24

Export Ban Placed on Raphael Drawing

A temporary export bar has been placed on a drawing by Raphael (1483-1520) titled Head of a Young Apostle. The Renaissance masterpiece, which is worth upwards of $47 million, is one of finest works held in a British private collection.

The drawing has been a part of the Duke of Devonshire’s collection at Chatsworth since the 1700s and was sold at Sotheby’s in December for $47.8 million, nearly three times the drawing’s low estimate. The Raphael work, which broke the auction record for a work on paper, was sold to benefit the Chatsworth’s long-term future and that of its collections. The UK’s arts minister, Ed Vaizey, hopes that an export bar will provide enough time for an interested buyer to raise the money necessary to keep the drawing in the country.

Head of a Young Apostle was created between 1519 and 1521 as a study for one of the figures in Raphael’s final painting, the Vatican’s The Transfiguration.

 

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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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Sotheby’s hosted a number of sales in Hong Kong this past week. On October 7th, the Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian paintings sale achieved $15.5 million, soaring past the pre-sale estimate of $5.8 million. The sale achieved the highest auction total for this category and the painting Fortune and Longevity by Lee Man Fong, an Indonesian modern master, set a record for any Southeast Asian painting when it sold for $4.4 million. The final price for the painting was almost three times the pre-sale estimate.

The Contemporary Asian Art sale totaled $15.1 million and Tiananmen No. 1 by Chinese symbolist and surrealist painter, Zhang Xiaogang, was the top lot at $2.69 million. Liu Wei’s Revolutionary Family Series – Invitation to Dinner was the second highest sale at $2.24 million, a world record price at auction for the Beijing-based artist who works in various mediums including video, installation, drawings, sculpture, and painting.

The 20th Century Chinese Art sale brought in $24.6 million and sold 90% by lot. Works from Europe, the United States, and around Asian sold well and many were above their pre-sale estimates. The top lot was Potted Chrysanthemums by the Chinese modern art pioneer, Sanyu, which sold for $3.99 million.

The following day, the Fine Chinese Paintings sale totaled $53.2 million, the highest of the four art auctions. Offering many works from private collections, the total sale was more than double the pre-sale estimate and sold 97.2% by lot. The two top lots at the auction, Zhang Daqian’s Swiss Peaks; Calligraphy in Xingshu and Fu Baoshi’s Lady at the Pavillion, both sold for $2,974,278.

Last year China beat out the United States as the world’s largest art and antiques market and the autumn sales reflect that power swap. There was a bit of controversy when a 60-year-old Taiwanese Buddhist sister demanded that a $1.65 million sale be halted at the Fine Chinese Paintings auction. Sotheby’s canceled the sale of a painting by Zhang Daqian after Lu Chieh-chien requested a court hearing to prevent bidding on Riding in the Autumn Countryside (1950) which she claims was the property of her family and had been consigned without consent.

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While sales totaled $3,486,127 million at Sotheby’s American Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture auction on September 28th in New York, 35% of lots went unsold. Sotheby’s did slightly better than Christie’s in the American Art arena, but both sales are a testament to the lackluster performance of mid-season auctions.

“Sotheby’s did put a few more important paintings in the sale,” said Debra Force of Debra Force Fine Art, Inc. “The question is whether the clientele is there to buy it.” It appears that the clientele interested in purchasing Rockwells were at least in attendance. Is He Coming? (1919), a quintessential Norman Rockwell painting of a young boy and his dog peering up the chimney on what appears to be Christmas Eve, brought in $602,500. The final price was $300,000 more than than the paintings high estimate ($200,000–$300,000).

Sotheby’s sale featured more than 200 paintings, drawings, and sculptures and included property from two noteworthy private collections belonging to Margie and Robert E. Petersen and Susan Kahn Rosenkranz and Richard Rosenkranz. Highlights included works by Rockwell Kent, Marsden Harley, Grandma Moses, and Ben Shahn with Kent and Moses taking two of the top five lots. Moses’ On the Banks of the Hudson reached the third highest price of the sale at $92,500 but still brought in considerably less than its high estimate of $120,000. Rockwell Kent’s Adirondack Farm, Summer sold for $86,5000 (estimate: $25,000–$35,000), the fourth highest sale of the auction.

While the highlights of the auction could have made more money in a more important sale, the quality is there. "Maybe more important collectors need to get used to looking at these mid-season sales," says Force. 

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Held in New York on September 25th, Christie’s American Art sale counted two Norman Rockwell works on paper as the top lots. Study for ‘The Runaway,perhaps the artist’s most iconic image, brought in $206,500. The original estimate for Study at auction was $80,000–$120,000. In 1958, the completed work, which features a young boy at a diner in conversation with a policeman, was used as a Saturday Evening Post cover.

The other Rockwell that fared well was Keeping His Course (Exeter Grill) which had an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000 and ended up selling for $218,500. The work was originally conceived as an illustration for the book Keeping His Course (1918) by Ralph Henry Barbour. A less recognizable Rockwell, A Man’s Wife, didn’t quite reach it’s $30,000–$50,000 estimate and ending up selling for $27,500.

Edgar Alwin Payne’s Western painting La Marque Lake, High Sierra more than doubled its $25,000–$35,000 estimate when it sold for $80,500. Other works that exceeded expectations were Andrew Wyeth’s watercolor, Front Door at Teel’s (estimate: $50,000–$70,000), that realized $93,700 and Josef Mario Korbel’s Andante (Dancing Girls) (estimate: $30,000–$50,000), a bronze that brought in $62,500.

The auction offered over 160 lots including Impressionist and Modernist works, Western pieces, illustrations, and bronzes. Artists on the block included Stuart Davis, Milton Avery, Will Barnet, Edward Hopper, and William Merritt Chase. Expected to reach in excess of $2.5 million, the total sale realized for the auction was $2,649,475.

While the auction reached its estimate, only 63% sold by lot and 76% by value. Debra Force of Debra Force Fine Art, Inc. said, “63% is terrible but there are many reasons for the poor performance. September is too early in the season for a sale. People are just getting back from summer, putting kids in school, and it’s in the middle of the Jewish holidays.” Force added, “The important collectors don’t look at these mid-season sales. They should, but they’re waiting for the major sale.“

Gavin Spanierman of Gavin Spanierman Ltd. echoed Force’s sentiments. “63% is pretty scary if you’re a seller but that’s representative of mid-season sales. However, the fact that the two Rockwells did well considering they were not phenomenal, shows that there is strength in the market.”

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