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The contemporary art market experienced a record-breaking year in 2013/14, smashing through the $2 billion mark for the first time, according to new figures released on Tuesday.

US artists Jean-Michel Basquiat, who died in 1988, Jeff Koons and Christopher Wool remain the market's biggest stars accounting for sales at auction of 339 million euros ($436 million), according to Artprice, a Paris-based organization which keeps the world's biggest database on the contemporary art market.

In the year from July 2013, sales of contemporary art at public auctions reached $2.046 billion dollars, up 40 percent on the previous year, Artprice's annual report said.

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Paige Powell remembers the first time she met the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, who would later become her boyfriend. Although “The Andy Warhol Diaries” cites Aug. 9, 1983 as the couple’s first date, for Powell, the enduring impression came earlier.

It was 1981, around the time she saw a show of graffiti artist A-One over at Fashion Moda in the South Bronx. Her boyfriend at the time, Jay Shriver, Warhol’s technical assistant, took her to Basquiat’s loft on Crosby Street.

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The Art Gallery of Toronto (AGO) has announced that it will host the first-ever major retrospective of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s (1960-1988) work in Canada. The show, which will run from February 7, 2015 to May 10, 2015, will feature over 140 paintings and drawings from private collections and public museums across Europe and North America. After its time at the AGO, “Basquiat” will travel to the Centro Cultural Banco de Brasil in Rio de Janeiro, in July 2015.

Basquiat, who rose to fame in the 1980s, is best known for his graffiti-tinged Neo-expressionist and Primitivist works. Drawing inspiration from the street culture of his native New York, Basquiat explored serious topics, including politics, racism, and social hypocrisy, in his work.

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One of the most glamorous figures in the London art scene is the subject of a £3 million High Court writ over allegations that she purchased two contemporary works for a client who was unable to pay for them.

Olyvia Kwok successfully bid for "Water-Worshipper" by Jean-Michel Basquiat and "Idilli" by Cy Twombly at Sotheby’s.

Miss Kwok runs an art and jewels investment firm for clients “who tend to be individuals or families with a net worth in excess of $30 million” and made her bids at the sale in February.

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The French multinational luxury goods conglomerate, LVMH Group, announced that the long-awaited Fondation Louis Vuitton Pour la Création (or the Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creation) will open on October 27 in Paris. The Foundation will be housed in a building commissioned by LVMH’s chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Bernard Arnault, and designed by the Canadian-American architect, Frank Gehry. The €100 million building, which resembles a cloud of glass, is located in Paris’ Bois de Boulogne district.

The 126,000-square-foot structure features 11 exhibition galleries that will house the modern and contemporary art collection of the LVMH Group, which includes works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Takashi Murakami, and Jeff Koons, as well as masterpieces from Arnault’s personal holdings. The Foundation, which promotes contemporary artistic creation both in France and internationally, will also host temporary exhibitions, artist commissions, multi-disciplinary performances, and events.

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A public square in Paris’s 13th arrondissement will be named after Jean-Michel Basquiat after the French capital’s City Council approved a proposal from  Jérôme Coumet, the 13th arrondissement’s mayor.

“Basquiat is one of the biggest contemporary artists,” Coumet told Le Figaro. “He defended the cause of African-Americans in the US, and was also a lover of France. He was the artist who blazed the trail for street art, and art in public space.”

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This past November, Francis Bacon’s triptych portrait Three Studies of Lucian Freud (1969) sold for $142.4 million at Christie’s, setting an artist’s record and becoming the most expensive work ever sold at auction. Less than a month later, the massive contemporary masterpiece turned up on loan, not at a modern-day art mecca like New York’s Museum of Modern Art (as Edvard Munch’s The Scream did), but on the opposite end of the US, at the Portland Art Museum in Oregon. The painting, which remained on view there through early April, was loaned by its new owner Elaine Wynn, ex-wife of casino mogul and top collector Steve Wynn. Mrs. Wynn, a resident of Nevada, was reportedly entitled to save more than $10 million in taxes by first parking the painting at the Portland Art Museum before bringing it to her home state.

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Tuesday, 03 June 2014 10:09

New York Art Dealer Robbed by Employee

A high-end art dealer was robbed at knifepoint in his Upper East Side pad by a handyman who took off with some cash — but left a showroom full of pricey artwork on the walls, officials said.

Paul Quatrochi, whose stable of wealthy collectors includes Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione, Baron Heinrich von Thyssen and Austrian Princess Michaela von Hapsburg, said he had a knife pressed against his throat for nearly 30 minutes while his guest rifled through his pockets and stole $300 in cash.

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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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On Tuesday, May 13, Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art evening sale in New York achieved a jaw-dropping $745 million -- the highest total for a single auction in art history. The sale exceeded the auction house’s results in November of $691.6 million as well as last May’s total of $495 million for postwar and contemporary artworks.

The auction, which carried a pre-sale estimate of approximately $500 million, was brimming with top-notch material. Out of the 72 lots offered, only four failed to find buyers. New auction records were set for a spate of high-selling artists, including Alexander Calder, Joseph Cornell, Barnett Newman, and Frank Stella.

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