By Eric Russ, Art Market Views contributor
Christie’s June 9 antiquities sale failed to match the success of Sotheby’s sale a day earlier. The event included 202 lots, a third of which failed to sell, including many of the highest estimated lots. The sale tallied $10.4 million, towards the lower end of the projected $9 million to $14 million range.
The bright spots included a few Roman works. A Roman bronze head of Hercules, circa 1st century A.D., exceeded a $50,000 high estimate and sold to a phone bidder for $140,500. Next followed a Roman marble head of a handsome Apollo, circa late 1st-early 2nd Century A.D., which sold for an $902,500, triple the high estimate.
Next up was a Roman marble head of Venus, circa 1st-2nd century A.D., sold to a man in a light red button-down shirt, standing at the back of the room where dealers tend to hover, for $422,500, more than double the high estimate.
The top price was paid for a headless Roman marble statue of Isis, circa 1st-2nd Century A.D. which went for $962,500, above the $800,000 high estimate. She stands, right leg forward,…
By Eric Russ, Art Market Views contributor
A marble sarcophagus depicting the rape of Persephone, dating from around 190 A.D. surpassed a $600,000 high estimate at Sotheby’s last week, selling for $1.9 million. The elaborate coffin, emblazoned with a toga-clad procession, was the top lot in a robust $11.3 million sale held June 8. Ninety percent of lots found buyers.
Also popular: a first century 13-inch tall marble head of a pensive, wizened Greek poet, likely Hesiod, estimated to sell for up to $500,000. Three phone bidders vied for the bearded bust, and all were outbid by a man standing in the back of the salesroom who landed the work for $1.7 million.
The same unidentified buyer’s shopping spree included an Attic red-figured cup depicting a man holding a staff, attributed to the Brygos painter, circa 470 B.C, which made $50,000, topping a $7,000 presale estimate. He also snagged an Attic red-figured column krater with three men and a horse, circa 450 B.C., paying $116,500, more than twice the high estimate.
Both works were among a large collection of Green pottery being sold by New York artists Sideo Fromboluti and…
By Eric Russ, Art Market Views Contributor
Christie’s May 26 Latin American auction pulled in $16.6 million sale last week, led by a tropical 1932 painting by Mexican artist Miguel Covarrubias which fetched more than three times the high estimate, selling for $1 million.
The evening started strong with 11 Mexican lots, including established art historical figures such as Rufino Tamayo, Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco.
Covarrubias’ wryly titled Offering of Fruits for the Temple, was estimated to sell for more than $200,000 and sold for $1 million to an unnamed Asian buyer. (Asians were active at Sotheby’s the night before, mainly for works by Botero). The painting features a bevy of serene and sensual Balinese women, toting bananas, and other fruit.
Two abstract contemporary artists ranked among the evening’s best sellers. Brazilian artist Adriana Varejao’s 1997 Paisagem II, sold for $542,500, over a $300,000 high estimate, continuing the week’s fervor for Brazilian works of art. Venezuelan artist Jesus Rafael Soto’s dizzying Rond et carre jaune, comprised of yolk-yellow painted wood and metal rods with nylon string, sold for $494,500, above a $220,000 estimate—a record for a sculpture by…
By Eric Russ, Art Market Views Contributor
Sotheby’s Latin American auction totaled $21.7 million on Wednesday night, nearly twice the $12.2 million sold a year ago. It was highest tally achieved for an evening Latin sale at Sotheby’s, according to the house. (A day sale on Thursday raised the tally to $26.9 million).
On a night when Colombian artist Fernando Botero garnered much of the presale buzz with a separate single-artist sale—the house’s first since 1992—the Brazilians performed with gusto.
The evening consisted of three consecutive sales: modern works from a private collection, the Botero-thon, and a standard “various owner” sale.
“The Botero sale was a bit of a risk,” said Sotheby’s Carmen Melian, head of the Latin department, during the post-sale press conference. While the artist can usually be counted on to perform as predictably as Warhol, nearly a quarter of lots failed to sell. The sale totaled $7.5 million, with Asian private collectors snagging the three priciest lots, including a 1992 bronze Man on a Horse, for $1.2 million, an auction record for a Botero bronze.
Bidding gained momentum during the various owner sale. Brazilian sculptor Cildo Meireles’…
Link to story here on AiA website.
Christie’s auctioneer Christopher Burge usually rules the saleroom with an iron gavel. But last night, amid a rousing $301.7 million contemporary art sale, he lost control. For nearly 16 minutes, the auction was hijacked by a pair of dueling collectors, competing for a blue 1963–64 Warhol Self-Portrait, tagged at $20 million to $30 million. Tossing protocol to the wind, the contestants—an anonymous European collector on the phone and a client of private dealer Philippe Ségalot, also on the phone-bid in unorthodox, mind-numbing $100,000 increments, rather than the typical $1 million chunks, as the price tag climbed north of $20 million.
This was the longest bidding battle in recent memory, and Burge’s indulgence suggests Ségalot may have been bidding on behalf one of his most powerful clients, Christie’s owner, François Pinault. In the end, Ségalot bailed and the shooting match terminated as his opponent bid a final $38.4 million for a four-panel portrait that epitomizes Warholian cool.
The sale’s strong result, with 62 of 65 lots finding buyers, was a sharp reversal from a rocky Tuesday night at Sotheby’s. The rival house…
Link to story on AiA website here.
Andy Warhol’s role as art market Viagra endured at Sotheby’s last night. Four of his canvases, spanning periods and subject matter, ranked among the 10 most expensive in a high-profile evening auction in New York. The priciest was also the largest and earliest: a 1964 panel painting titled Sixteen Jackies, depicting a somber Jacqueline Kennedy in shades of blue and gold. Bidding was tempered. Dealer Jose Mugrabi, who stockpiles Warhols, tossed out a few lowball bids before an anonymous phone bidder prevailed, paying $20.2 million, near the low end of a $20 million to $30 million estimate.
The evening’s other star lot, Jeff Koons’s 1988 porcelain Pink Panther, sold rather anticlimactically for $16.9 million, below the projected $20 million to $30 million range. As part of an aggressive marketing push, Sotheby’s promoted the work with a video conversation about the piece between Koons and Tobias Meyer, Sotheby’s worldwide head of contemporary art. The artist is unusual in his willingness to participate in the secondary market sale of his work. The anonymous seller was publisher Benedikt Taschen.
While Koons’s prices have not…
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A raw, twisted steel 1958 John Chamberlain sculpture, Nutcracker, sold for $4.8 million last night at Sotheby’s in New York. The price achieved an auction record for the artist, selling to a Gagosian Gallery representative who paid more than double the presale $1.8 million high estimate. Gagosian recently signed on the 84-year-old artist, following a two-decade partnership with Pace Gallery.
Nutcracker was the most coveted artwork on offer in a single-owner sale from the estate of Upper East Side dealer Allan Stone, who died in 2006 at the age of 74. The sale included 42 lots totaling $54.8 million, topping the $46.8 million high estimate. The lure of estate material and low estimates resulted in a healthy 93 percent of lots finding buyers.
While results were steady, the mixed quality of works on offer was more suited to a day sale than an evening sale. Nevertheless, Sotheby’s gave the Stone estate the royal auction treatment, having snatched the business away from Christie’s, where a first round of works were sold in 2007.
Stone was a compulsive buyer who…
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An appearance by Leonardo DiCaprio brought frisson to Christie’s staid Impressionist and Modern art auction last night. Poorly disguised under obligatory blue baseball cap and puffy black parka, DiCaprio was the evening’s hottest accessory, appearing as a sidekick of New York dealer Helly Nahmad.
The May 4 auction totaled $156 million, missing the presale projected range of $162 million to $231 million. The final tally was less than half of the $335.5 million raised a year ago on the strength of material consigned by the estate of collector Frances Brody. Without any marquee estate property this season, both Sotheby’s and Christie’s offered a grab bag of artworks, wildly ranging in quality. Sotheby’s May 3 sale bested Christie’s, fetching $170.5 million.
“There is a whiff of uncertainty left over from the past couple of years,” said dealer Andrea Crane of Gagosian Gallery. “We are looking at sales that were cobbled together. Collectors are still sitting back and determining whether this is the right time to sell.” Other market professionals agreed that shaky economic conditions kept trophies off the block. “The world is…
New York’s two-week spring auction blitz got off to a lackluster start last night at Sotheby’s, as a quarter of the artworks on offer during the Impressionist and Modern art sale failed to find buyers. The sale pulled in $170.5 million, towards the low end of a $159 million to $230 million pre-sale estimate. “This was not a memorable group of artworks,” said advisor Linda Silverman. “But given the lack of quality, they did O.K.”
Surrealist works sold well, but buyers generally rejected aggressive estimates, even for artists like Picasso and Gauguin.
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A new evening print sale held yesterday at Phillips de Pury’s swank uptown branch totaled $3.6 million, focusing on modern and contemporary works by blue chip names. Seventy-six percent of lots found buyers.
The sale’s top lot was a 1972 portfolio of ten screenprints of Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong, co-published by Leo Castelli and Multiples. The set was estimated to sell for over $600,000 and made $938, 500. The seller was an unnamed Denver based collector.
Other strong sellers included Bruce Nauman’s 1985 neon Double Poke in the Eye II, from an edition of 40, initially produced as a benefit for the New Museum. Estimated to sell for over $200,000, the Nauman brought $290,500. Ellen Gallagher’s 2002 Bouffant Pride, estimated to sell for above $20,000, sold for $32,500.
An abstract, Japanese inspired black and white 1971 Willem de Kooning lithograph, Untitled (Bather I) given by the artist to a favorite waitress at an East Hampton luncheonette, sold for $17,500, topping the $15,000 estimate. The piece was signed “To Concetta with Love.”