Sold to Richard Green – artmarketblog.com

Sold to Richard Green – artmarketblog.com

Thomas Gainsborough R.A., A Pug, oil on canvas

Thomas Gainsborough R.A., A Pug, oil on canvas

While browsing through the top results of recent auctions, as provided by Sotheby’s through their press releases, I came across something that I don’t see to often – the identity of a buyer listed in the release. Usually under the heading “Buyer” there is an indication of what sort of buyer they are and sometimes where they are from. Examples of the usual identities given to buyers are: UK Private, UK Trade, Private European Collector, London Trade or, as is often the case, a buyer is listed as anonymous. I continued perusing the press releases when I came across another with the same buyer once again identified as having purchased a painting that had achieved one of the ten highest prices of the auction. The buyer in question was the very well known London art dealer Richard Green who dabbles in everything from 17th century Old Masters to 20th century British art but is best known for his dealings in Old Master paintings.

In a market where a high level of discretion is the norm for both buyers and sellers it is interesting that a dealer in Old Master paintings, of all people, would be so transparent with their dealings. It makes sense though that if you are a dealer and want to sell a painting that having your name on the press release identifying you as the successful bidder would not only advertise your business but attract potential buyers. This tactic seems to be working quite well for Mr. Green whose business seems to be fairing extremely well in the current climate. There is, however, more to the story of Richard Green and his success as an art dealer. Much more in fact. To start with, the two works that I said were listed by Sotheby’s as having been purchased by Mr. Green are rather revealing. The first painting was purchased on the 9th of July from the Sotheby’s Early British Paintings sale and was an oil on canvas by Thomas Gainsborough titled “A Pug”. Listed with an estimate of 100,000-150,000 pounds, “A Pug” was purchased by Green for £993,250 (including premium) which, other than being more then six times the high estimate, was the highest price of the auction. The second work was a painting by Herbert Olivier titled “Summer Is Icumen In” which Green purchased  from Sotheby’s July 15 Victorian & Edwardian Art sale. He paid for 331,250 pounds against an estimate of 80,000—120,000 pounds estimate – a new record for the artist at auction and the third highest price of the sale.

Richard Green is known for identifying then purchasing works of art that he, as a results of his research, has identified as being undervalued. In fact, there are many reports of Green uncovering hidden gems which he then manages to on-sell for many times more than he paid for them. Both “A Pug” and “Summer Is Icumen In” were purchased by Green for well above the high estimate which suggests that Green identified these two works as being undervalued. One thing is for sure, he would not have paid what he did for these two works unless he was confident that they would appeal to his wealthy clientele and that he would be able to make a profit from them. Exactly what Green knows about these two paintings that makes them so much more valuable than the estimate provided by Sotheby’s I do not know. What I do know is that the research Green does, and his scholarly knowledge of the art he deals in, has played a major role in his success. One of the smartest dealers around if you ask me.

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

Niki de Saint Phalle Braves the Crisis – artmarketblog.com

Niki de Saint Phalle Braves the Crisis – artmarketblog.com

ndsp 1After the sale of three Niki de Saint-Phalle’s giant Nanas in Germany in December 2008 for €750,000, the Paris sale last month of her Le Banc produced another excellent result. The French-American artist – whose works are collected all over the world – is generating good sales performances in spite of the crisis.

Born in France and raised in the United States, Niki SAINT-PHALLE de successfully steered her career under the two flags at a key moment in the history of art and of the art market. Indeed, at the start of the 60s – when Niki de Saint-Phalle was creating her first Tirs and Nanas – the art market’s centre of gravity was being pulled across the Atlantic towards the United States and the American Pop Art phenomenon. Niki, who was associated with the New Realists in France, created the most distinctly “Pop” works of the French movement using a playful iconography of curves and colours. By successfully establishing herself as a female artist on both sides of the Atlantic, Niki de Saint-Phalle managed to join the ranks of artists whose price-indices enjoy international recognition (unlike some of the other New Realists, including her partner Jean TINGUELY). Nevertheless, the market for her work has remained more dynamic in France, and 35% of her auction sales take place in her native country. In terms of sales revenue, the geographical breakdown of her auction sales (often involving monumental pieces) is as follows: 38% in France, 31% in the UK and 15% in the United States.

Her Nanas – buxom women made with fibres glass and painted in bright colours – easily reach and exceed the estimate. Niki created her first Nanas in papier mâché and fibre in 1965, inspired by a friend’s pregnancy. Initially uncoloured, her joyous Venuses soon acquired multi-coloured surfaces – leading a playful revolution against gloominess. The very large and unique pieces – including some of her later works produced from the 1990s – sell for over €100,000. Her best-ever auction result was generated by a giant Nana (270 cm) in painted polyester which fetched $1m (nearly €780,000) at Sotheby’s in New-York during the sale of the Vanthohournot Collection on 14 November 2006. Two years before this record, a Nana of the same dimensions fetched €360,000 in Paris (Sotheby’s, 18 July 2004 La vie en rose – La danseuse rose).

ndsp 2The price range for the Nanas is very broad because Niki made them in various different sizes and sometimes produced limited editions of the same piece. For a small Nana from the 1960s (less than 30 cm), one would expect to pay between €15,000 and €30,000. Indeed, a Mini nana acrobate of 20 cm doubled its price estimate in Paris last month when it sold for €26,000. With strong demand for her work already developing during her lifetime, Niki de Saint-Phalle decided to make her work available to a broader public by producing prints and small porcelain Nanas edited in 200 copies, some of which can be acquired at auctions for around €3,000 (one such piece recently fetched €2,800 at Venator & Hanstein in Cologne).

The price index for her sculpture-furniture is also regaining momentum. On 27 May 2009, a sculpture of a man reading a newspaper on a bench watched by an imaginary animal entitled Le Banc (1 of 3 copies) fetched €460,000, substantially more than its estimated value. The fact that the piece was presented at Christie’s sale of a collection of pieces by François-X. & Claude LALANNE – hybrid works on the cusp of art and design – undoubtedly contributed to the result: the high number of furniture-sculpture pieces at the sale and the good results for the Lalanne works was the perfect context for the sale of the Saint-Phalle work.

Copyright@Artprice.com

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

1700 Times Estimate at Brunk Auctions – artmarketblog.com

1700 Times Estimate at Brunk Auctions – artmarketblog.com

"The Plasterers" by John Koch painting

"The Plasterers" by John Koch

Smaller auction houses rarely get the sort of attention given to the big four auction houses which is a shame because the smaller auction houses produce their fair share of exciting results and top sales.  Brunk Auctions, a North Carolina based auction house that sells fine and decorative arts as well as collectibles, ephemera and jewellery, recently had the sale of their lives when two seemingly ordinary pieces of Chinese ceramics sold at their May 9-10, 2009 Auction for what can only be described as astonishingly high prices.  The first piece, a Chinese famille rose vase described as a 20th century copy of a Qianlong period (1736-1795) piece, had been purchased from a yard sales by it’s owner and was given an estimate of $400 – $800.  At the fall of the hammer this apparently cheap knock off had sold for an incredible $1,075,000 or more than 1790 times mid estimate.  Obviously several people knew something about this piece that the owner and Brunk Auctions didn’t.  The next item was a Chinese decorated jar described as an 18th or 19th century copy of a Jialing period (1522-1566) piece and was given an estimate of $600 – $1,200. Once again the price headed north at a rapid rate finally settling at a dizzying $60,000 once again suggesting that several people knew something about this piece that the owner and Brunk Auctions didn’t.

Plenty of other items soared past their estimate at the same auction such as the Jean Dubuffet “Tapis” wool-pile carpet weave tapestry which sold for $11,000 against an estimate of $2000-$3000 and a Tamara de Lempicka print titled “Femme a la Mandoline” which made $10,500 against an estimate of $4,000 – $8,000. The high price for the de Lempicka print is likely to have been influenced by the new auction for the artist’s work set at Christie’s on the 6th of May as well as the number of other excellent results for the artist’s work sold at auction recently. Although selling for a price within the estimate a spectacular major work by the American Realist John Koch called “The Plasterers” sold for $210,000 against a $175,000 – $250,000 estimate which was still a good result. A revival in the interest of classical style sculpture is sure to have been a factor in the results for a marble bust of Prince Borghesi whcih trippled its high estimate selling for $12,000.

The following Brunk auction held on the 30th of May which included the collection of Florence and Bill Griffin produced some more outstanding results proving that smaller auction houses are capable of playing with the big boys. Art wise, two portraits by American folk artist Edwin B. Smith were highlights of the auction selling for well above their high estimate. The first, a portrait of Robert Ransome Billups sold for $80,000 against an estimate of $30,000 – $50,000 and the second, a portrait of Elizabeth Ware Fullwood sold for $36,000 against an estimate of $12,000 – $18,000. Edwin B. Smith is not a particularly well known or highly regarded artist on the world stage but is a very important artist to the area of Georgia, USA which was the theme of the auction and the home town of Florence and Bill Griffin. Furniture from the Georgia region also sold extremely well with the highlight being a fine Georgia paint-decorated cellaret or liquor stand which sold for $105,000 against an estimate of $30,000 – $50,000.

The internet has given smaller auction houses the ability to operate on a national or international level as is the case with Brunk Auctions who use liveauctioneers.com to accept online bids and promote their sales.  I am often surprised by the quality and rarity of the items that are sold by the smaller auction houses and would encourage everyone to take a greater interest in the smaller national and regional auction houses that operate in their area.  The advantage the smaller national and regional auction houses have over the big four is that they are more likely to come across those surprise objects that the owner does not know the value of or realise the significance of.  People who own very valuable works of art and know the value of those works of art are more likely to go to one of the big auction houses whereas someone who has no idea what an item they own is worth is more likely to take that item to a local auction house.  The moral of the story is that smaller auction houses are well worth keeping an eye on.

For more information see http://www.brunkauctions.com

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

Helping Humble Arts and Supporting MOCP – artmarketblog.com

Help Humble Arts and Support the MOCP – artmarketblog.com

 Stein, Amy $300.00  Hillside from the series Domesticated, 2007 C-print 11 x 13 3/4 inches on 14 x 16.75 inch paper Edition of 50.  Available from the MoCP

Stein, Amy $300.00 Hillside from the series Domesticated, 2007 C-print 11 x 13 3/4 inches on 14 x 16.75 inch paper Edition of 50. Available from the MoCP

The financial crisis has undoubtedly had a significant effect on the arts especially those non-profit organisations that are the backbone of the art world. Many non-profit art organisations have funding programs that involve the sale of works of art so why not help support the arts and take advantage of some of the bargains currently available. The Humble Arts Foundation is a well known not-for-profit organisation that works to advance the careers of emerging fine art photographers. Like many other arts organisations, the Humble Arts Foundation is doing it tough. There are two ways you can help the Humble Arts Foundation. The first involves making a tax deductable donation of $15 or more which, if 3500 people obliged, would give Humble enough funds to continue supporting and exhibiting the work of emerging art photographers through 2012. The second way you can help support Humble is by purchasing one of their fantastic limited edition prints. To sweeten the deal a discount of 30% is available to those who use the code HAF30 which makes the Humble prints even better value.

To make a donation go here:
https://www.fracturedatlas.org/site/contribute/donate/1138

or to view the available prints go here:
http://humbleartsfoundation.org/editions/index.html

Another photography related organisation that I’m sure would love your support is the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago. According to their website the Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP) is the only museum in the Midwest with an exclusive commitment to the medium of photography. By presenting projects and exhibitions that embrace a wide range of contemporary aesthetics and technologies, the Museum strives to communicate the value and significance of photographic images as expressions of human thought, imagination, and creativity. The MoCP recently launched their 2009 series of fine photographic prints which includes works by Amy Stein and Michael Wolf. To see all the fantastic prints available check out:
http://mocp.org/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=11
**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

Dissecting Christie’s Feb 09 Art Auction Pt. 2 – artmarketblog.com

Dissecting Christie’s Feb 09 Art Auction Pt. 2 – artmarketblog.com

christies-feb-09A few weeks ago I posted the first half of the results from the Christie’s February 2009 Impressionist and Modern Art auction along with information relating to whether each lot had been sold at auction previously and if it had, when it was sold and how much it sold for. My purpose for doing this is to show that there is always far more to art auction results than the statistics provided by the auction houses will tell you. Just because an auction results in a high hammer total, high percentage of lots sold by value and a high percentage of lost sold by number doesn’t mean that the auction was a complete success. The statistics that the auction houses provides could be masking the fact that a majority of the works sold in the auction had been sold at auction before for a higher amount meaning that the people selling these works were selling at a loss. Although the purpose of the auction house is to sell works of art and not to ensure people make a profit on the works they are selling; the factors that may be beyond the control of the auction house, such as whether a person makes a profit or not, should still be used as a measure of the success of an auction. In the next post in this series I will look at the data I have provided in this and the previous post and provide an analysis of the data.

See part 1 of Dissecting Christie’s Feb 09 Art Auction here:

http://artmarketblog.com/2009/02/17/dissecting-christies-feb-09-art-auction-pt-1-artmarketblogcom/

Continuation of data relating to lots sold at the Christie’s February 09 Impressionist and Modern Art auction:

-Otto Mueller (1874-1930) Sitzender Akt in Landschaft, c.1927: Sold for £769,250 ($1,106,182) against an estimate of £650,000 – £850,000 ($926,250 – $1,211,250). No previous auction sale history

-Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) Dame en face mit plisiertem Kleid (Damenbildnis en face) , c. 1898: Sold for £1,385,250 ($1,991,990) against an estimate of £600,000 – £800,000 ($855,000 – $1,140,000). Previously sold by Christie’s on the 9th of November 2004 for USD$1,000,000 (GBP 524,700) against an estimate of USD$750,000 – 950,000 which represents an increase in price of $991,990

-Marino Marini (1901-1980) Gentiluomo a cavallo, c. 1937: Sold for £769,250 ($1,106,182) against an estimate of £700,000 – £1,000,000 ($997,500 – $1,425,000). No previous auction sale history

-Ossip Zadkine (1890-1967) Torse de femme, c. 1925: Sold for £421,250 ($605,758) against an estimate of £300,000 – £500,000 ($427,500 – $712,500). No previous auction sale history

-Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Les mariés aux deux bouquets, c. 1980: Sold for £541,250 ($778,318) against an estimate of £400,000 – £600,000 ($570,000 – $855,000). No previous auction sale history

-Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) Buste d’homme, 1971: Sold for £1,497,250 ($2,153,046) against an estimate of £1,200,000 – £1,800,000 ($1,710,000 – $2,565,000). No previous auction sale history

-Max Ernst (1891-1976) Temptation of St. Anthony, 1945: Sold for £97,250 ($139,846) against an estimate of £100,000 – £150,000 ($142,500 – $213,750). No previous auction sale history

-Julio González (1876-1942) Le rêve (Le baiser) 4/6, c. 1934: Sold for £577,250 ($830,086) against an estimate of £400,000 – £600,000 ($570,000 – $855,000). Number 5 of the edition of 6 was sold by Christie’s in 2002 for GBP 220,000 against an estimate of GBP 250,000 – 350,000 which represents a theoretical increase in value of GBP 377,000.

-André Masson (1896-1987) Le météore, 1939: Sold for £169,250 ($243,382) against an estimate of £120,000 – £180,000 ($171,000 – $256,500). No previous auction sale history.

-Joan Miró (1893-1983) Femme entendant chanter le coq aux éclats violets, 1972: Sold for £892,450 ($1,283,343) against an estimate of £500,000 – £700,000 ($712,500 – $997,500). No previous auction sale history.

-Paul Delvaux (1897-1994) Faubourg, 1956: Sold for £277,250 ($398,686) against an estimate of £200,000 – £300,000 ($285,000 – $427,500). Previously sold by Sotheby’s in 1975 – price unknown

-Francis Picabia (1879-1953) Geminis, 1936: Sold for £385,250 ($553,990) against an estimate of £120,000 – £180,000 ($171,000 – $256,500). Previously offered for sale at Christie’s Paris in May 2008 but failed to on an estimate of EUR 250,000 – 350,000. Previously sold by Sotheby’s in 1975 – price unknown.

-Joan Miró (1893-1983) Personnage, 1976: Sold for £481,250 ($692,038) against an estimate of £280,000 – £380,000 ($399,000 – $541,500). Previously sold by Sotheby’s in February 2004 for GBP 172,000 against an estimate of GBP 150,000 – 200,000 which represents an increase in price of GBP 309,000.

To be continued…..

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

YSL Collection Boosts French Market Share – artmarketblog.com

YSL Auction Boosts French Market Share – artmarketblog.com

yslThe Bergé -YSL sale was a historical sale in more than one sense: the €373.5m total for the three-day auction is the world record for a private collection and the European record for an art sale of any sort. Moreover, the collection’s Fine Art generated a sum equivalent to 66.7% of total 2008 art auction sales in Paris and 53.2% of total French art auction revenue in 2008. Indeed, this total of €206m ($264.9m) for art works (excluding antiques, furniture and objects) could well modify the 2009 global auction revenue ranking by allowing France to recover the third place it has lost to China since 2007.

The first session of Christie’s Bergé – YSL sale opened on 23 February just as Wall Street posted its lowest level for 12 years (S&P 500 at 743.33 points). Despite the economic and financial alarm bells, Artprice’s AMCI suggested strong buy intentions from art market players (70.8% of respondents). These intentions were confirmed on the first day of Impressionist and Modern art sales which generated a total of €182m, a figure substantially higher than the previous world record for a private collection sale: €163,6m from the Victor and Sally Ganz collection in 1997 at Christie’s New York.

By the end of the evening on Monday 23 February, Christie’s had generated a number of new records for works by the grand masters of Modern art. These included €32m for Henri MATISSE’s Les Coucous, €26m (€6m above its estimate) for Constantin BRANCUSI’s sculpture Madame L.R., €7.9m (pulverising its “under-estimate” of €1.5m) for Marcel DUCHAMP’s historic ready-made Belle haleine-Eau de voilette, €19.2m for Piet MONDRIAAN’s Composition avec bleu, rouge, jaune et noir and €4.4m for James ENSOR’s Le Désespoir de Pierrot.

However, the overall prestige of the sale and the ownership history of the works did not trigger a “buy at any price” mood and collectors remained highly selective. Pablo PICASSO’s cubist painting, over-estimated at €25m, and four paintings by Théodore GÉRICAULT with high reservation prices remained unsold. Another Géricault masterpiece, Portrait d’Alfred et d’Elisabeth Dedreux, set a new record for the artist at €8m, refreshing a previous record dating back to 1989 when Portrait de Laure Bro, née de Comères fetched the equivalent of €4.9m at Sotheby’s in Monaco.

The exceptional quality of the collection attracted the attention of the French State which exercised its pre-emption rights three times on the first day, acquiring Giorgio CHIRICO de’s Ritornante for the Centre Pompidou, Édouard VUILLARD’s Les Lilas and James ENSOR’s Au conservatoire for the Musée d’Orsay. Total bill: €10.6m, excluding fees. Over the following two days, it intervened twice acquiring a miniature portrait of Louis XIV by Petitot and some XVI century wall plates in Limoges enamel for the Louvre.

This sale suggests that the art market is showing remarkable resistance to the financial crisis and the global economic recession… as long as the works offered are of exceptional quality.

Copyright@Artprice.com

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

The YSL Art Collection Sale – artmarketblog.com

The YSL Art Collection Sale – artmarketblog.com

For at least six months, the sale of the Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent collection has been the focus of much media attention, described as the “sale of the century”. At a time when The Art Market Confidence Index (AMCI) is firmly in the red, the means allocated to the sale of some 691 lots are commensurate with the works being presented: exceptional.

Pierre Bergé has chosen Christie’s to officiate and the Grand Palais de Paris as the stage for this prestigious sale. Under the monumental glass dome, this auction marathon will last three days (from 23 to 25 February 2009) with pieces from the Far-East, others dating back to Antiquity, numerous sculptures and works of art, works in gold and silver, enamels from the 16th century, drawings from the 19th century, works signed by the major names in Art Deco and numerous Old and Modern masterpieces. Some signatures seldom seen at public auctions will be offered including Ingres, Franz Hals, Jacques-Louis David and Géricault. Among the five Théodore GÉRICAULT works on offer is one of the most famous double portraits in the entire history of painting: that of Alfred and Elisabeth Dedreux. Christie’s is expecting €6m for this work, a figure that would refresh the previous Géricault record held since 1989 by Portrait de Laure Bro, née de Comères which fetched €4.9m at Sotheby’s in Monaco.

In the Modern Art category, there is a whole series of star names: Giacometti, Juan Gris, Vuillard, Paul Klee, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Amedeo Modigliani, Edward Munch, Odilon Redon, the Douanier Rousseau, Seurat, Manet, Gustav Klimt, and more. The collection contains some truly historic pieces including an oak wood sculpture by Constantin BRANCUSI entitled Madame L.R. (Portrait de Mme L.R.). This rarity could well fetch more than Brancusi’s current record for Oiseau dans l’espace ($24.5m in 2005 at Christie’s) if it reaches its high estimate of €20m. Before it joined the Bergé / Saint Laurent collection (where Pierre Bergé like to show it alongside a Sénoufo sculpture), Madame L.R. belonged to Fernand Léger. Apart from its artistic qualities, the ownership background of this piece is an undoubted bonus. No less than six works by Fernand LÉGER will be offered for sale, including the impressive painting La tasse de thé, a hymn to 1921 modernity. Should the work reach its €15m target, it will be among the artist’s four most expensive hammer prices. The art market, which rarely sees Piet MONDRIAAN paintings at auctions nowadays, will be offered three “neoplastic” Compositions by the artist on the same day (estimated at between €5m and €10m). The paintings are large formats. Nothing larger than 50 cm has been seen at auction for five years. The most recently sold large format Mondrian painting, New York, Boogie Woogie (95.2 x 92 cm) fetched $18.75m (€14.6m) at Sotheby’s NY in 2004. Christie’s expects to generate even more from a superb cubist work by Pablo PICASSO, Musical Instruments on a Pedestal Table (estimated at €25m to €30m).

Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent did not collect works of contemporary art, preferring to focus on historical works that represent the opening of the 20th century to contemporary art. One such work is Belle haleine – Eau de voilette, a ready-made bottle on which Marcel DUCHAMP appears dressed up as Rrose Sélavy from a photograph by Man Ray. This emblematic work is estimated at €1m to 1.5m.

Copyright@Artprice.com

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.