17 févr. 2008

Auction tracking : Artists from many countries, Antiques, and cases of Romanée Conti


On March 20 in New York, important works of art from India will be sold by Christie's: "The battle of Ganga and Jamuna", inspired by the Mahabharata, is a monumental diptych of Maqbool Fida Husain (600 K$), (SOLD 1.6 M$), a painting by Taieb Mehta is typical of the early modernism in the art of this country (600 K$), (SOLD 657 K$), a strange Vagabond of Ram Kumar, 1956, is reminiscent of distortioned style of Soutine (400 K$). (SOLD 1.16 M$). Two of the most important artists in this category, Francis Newton Souza (SOLD 385 K$) and Syed Haider Raza, (SOLD 361 K$), are represented in this sale by a number of important works. As I said recently, the value of Indian art can explode from one moment to another. In addition, this type of large sale of contemporary art can bring to the fore artists who had played lesser roles.
Prices include fees.

I am now more daring in this game of predictions: my anticipation of the entry of Banksy among the greatest, when I made the announcement in December of the Bonhams sale of Urban Art, has just come true with the RED sale: a large work (2.14 x3.15 m) was sold $ 1.7 million excluding charges under Sotheby's hammer on February 14. Watch also Indian art sales by auction houses within this country, including the Emami Chisel February 23 sale (see my column of last Sunday).

Further details about the sale of contemporary art at Sotheby's in London on February 27: A Big Family of Zhang Xiaogang is very large (3 meters wide) and could therefore obtain the highest price for this artist in sales that we have already discussed (1.5 M£). (SOLD 1.7 M£ including fees). Millionaire bids are also expected, as it is now usual, for Yue Minjun. (SOLD 920 K£ including fees). Follow also one of the youngest, Liu Ye, now in his forties, with two paintings each valued 500 K£. We have already seen him in those price ranges. (SOLD 520 K£ including fees and UNSOLD).

On February 21, The Market in Tokyo sells contemporary art, including a work by Lee Ufan at 18 million yen (162x130 cm).

Regarding the Russian contemporary art, Sotheby's is attempting a second gallop trial in London on March 12, but the Russian buyers seem to be more attracted by modern art than by contemporary art. This is a follow out of curiosity, and to hear the names of lesser-known artists. (SOLD 400 K£ before fees a painting by Oleg Vasiliev). Mention one of the newest, an oil on canvas from 2007 by Vladimir Dubossarsky and Alexander Vinogradov showing a girl with a blue beetle (20 K £). (SOLD 55.7 K£ including fees).
Meanwhile MacDougall's organise an exhibition sale ("silent auction"), to conclude on March 20, on post-war Russian nonconformist art.

ImKinsky in Vienna announce for February 26 some works by Grosz (SOLD a drawing 15 K€), Kirchner (SOLD a drawing 16 K€), Klimt (SOLD a drawing 120 K€), Pechstein (SOLD a drawing 10 K€) and Schiele. (SOLD a painting showing a village 250 K€).
These prices probably do not include fees.

The market for national arts, which I announced as emerging in one of my very first articles last year, extends to all countries. Now the Scandinavians at Sotheby's London on June 10, highlighting prior to the closing of the catalog a painting by the Finnish Helene Schjerfbeck at 500 K£. It is a genre scene showing a young girl lacing her dancing shoe. (SOLD 3 M£ including fees on May 30).

North Africa is still abundant in Paris. The Millon advertising in the Gazette de l'Hotel Drouot announces a tribute sale on April 14 to Roger Bezombes (an artist whose value has increased sharply in recent years), and reproduces an oil on panel 100x170 cm from the artist's own collection. (SOLD 60 K€ before fees).

Wait also the traditional sale of Canadian art by Heffel in Vancouver on May 22, (SOLD 1,15 M Can $ including fees a painting by Tom Thomson) and that of Australian art by Deutscher and Hackett in Melbourne on April 16. (each SOLD 312 KA$ including fees a painting by Tom Roberts et a painting by John Perceval).

And France? A cello calcined by Arman will be sold by Versailles Enchères, a specialist in modern French art, on April 13. So we are to compare the price of this work under plastic (153x103x15 cm) (SOLD 288 K€ before fees) with the work of the Albou sale, a cut cello on board 162x122 cm, sold 300 K € before fees by Artcurial on January 29.


On April 8, during the sale of the properties of an American Turf Club, Christie's New York offers a hunter and his horse in a landscape by John E. Ferneley Sr (250 K$).

Very original, inviting to be followed: Bonhams sells a collection of art pieces related to rock and roll in New York on May 14. The major groups have inspired artists including Rick Griffin, whose large painting entitled The Flying Eyeball is a symbol of the psychedelic art (250 K$). (UNSOLD).


On April 24 in New York, Sotheby's sells the vast collection of English furniture from the estate of a merchant in New York. There's something for every George: a mahogany George II armchair, rococo and armoried, shall reach 800 K$. (SOLD 937 K$ including fees). A large George I cabinet bureau is estimated 400 K$ (UNSOLD) and a pair of George III tables inlaid with marquetry 500 K$. (UNSOLD). (SOLD 853 K$ including fees from a low estimate of 500 K$ a semi-elliptical George III commode with exceptional marquetery attributed to Mayhew et Ince).

In the Gillot sale being prepared by Christie's in Paris on 4 and 5 March, I already devoted an entire article to a Parisian ivory diptych (number 217 on sale) (SOLD 276 K€ including fees).
I tracked also in the catalogue:
At number 8, an Iranian candle stick from the fourteenth century (150 K€) (SOLD 2.65 M€ before fees)
At numbers 40 and 41, from Cairo, two Mamluk wooden panels of 1330 (200 and 300 K€), another dated 1320 at number 45 (250 K€) (SOLD 1.1, 1.9 and 1.3 M€ before fees)
At number 49, a Mamluk mosque lamp from circa 1500 (150 K€) (SOLD 550 K€ before fees)
At number 194, a golden and enamelled copper binding representing Christ, by the workshops of Limoges circa 1185-1190 (150 K€) (SOLD 320 K€ before fees)
At number 259, an illuminated manuscript of Gratian decretum, circa 1320; this set of 17 sheets includes 8 paintings (no doubt under-rated at 70 K€) (SOLD 108 K€ including fees)
At number 305, a hunting tapestry from Brussels circa 1510-1525 (100 K€) (?)
At number 365, a Spanish-Moorish albarello circa 1500 (50 K€) (SOLD 300 K€ before fees)
... And many disparate cheap items.

Bonhams hold its first sale specialized in chess and other games on May 13 in London. (SOLD 10 K£ before fees a set of ivory chess pieces where characters are prehistoric beasts, recent Russian work).

We have already announced the sale of Rolex sports watches by Antiquorum New York on April 17. This specialty is the subject of an excellent article on the Antiquorum website.
(RESULTS: this sale is now the reference for valueing Rolex diving watches, which obtained the highest prices among the many other pieces of the same brand.
As you see below, the highlight was given to the depth : the leak is considered as a technical feat. Results are shown before fees.
The lot 210, announced as extremely rare, guaranteed down to 610 meters, was sold 200 K$.
The other two watches of same depth guarantee were sold at almost the same price, starting from lower estimates: the number 201 to 210 K$ and the number 209 at 200 K$.)

Sotheby's sells French wines in New York on April 10. Among them two cases of 6 magnums of Romanée Conti (100 K$ for 1966 (SOLD 121 K$ including fees) and 110 K$ for 1971 (SOLD 169 K$ including fees)) surrounded by 900 bottles from the same domaine! Five Romanée Conti 1959 are expected to 40 K$ each. (?) (SOLD a lot of two magnums 57 K$ including fees). The domaine of La Tâche is also abundantly represented. (SOLD a lot of 6 magnums 1959 90 K$ including fees).


I can see over my column that I used to treat Sotheby's better than Christie's, not by preference, but apparently because I find better in the press releases of Sotheby's the information highlighting the important objects. It would be easy to rebalance if I had sufficient time to incorporate the magazines of the auction houses, which is not the case. To be improved!