Records and masters steer international art auctions in autumn of 2013

 

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Madhusree Chatterjee
New Delhi, Nov 19  (2013)

British auction  house Christie’s created 16 new world auction records at its two-week fall sale of Impressionist, Modern and Post War contemporary arts which totaled  $1,076,080,500 (£677,930,715/€796,299,570) that included an important collection, ”Dialogue Through Art: Works From the Collection of Jan Kruger. The sale drew buyers from 42 countries.

The success of the autumn sale which began Nov 4, 2013 marks a new phase of optimism in the art market that was facing a downslide in the 2012 to the first quarter of 2013 after several economies in the developing countries slowed down –especially in the emerging hubs across Asia. But the new season of sale that began in October has breathed new life in the collectors’ market with veterans surfacing once again for works of established masters and bringing new buyers.       

The sale showed that masters were still the highest revenue earners in the auction market despite the entry level popularity of contemporary arts.  

Steven P. Murphy, CEO, Christie’s International, said “art made headlines last week as the enthusiasm from clients was memorably demonstrated at the highest levels while also seen throughout the different sales.”

Murphy said, “After several months of exhibitions of the season’s key highlights across the globe from London, Moscow, Hong Kong and Shanghai to New York, we welcomed over 11,000 visitors to our Rockefeller galleries during the public exhibitions. When works of art of true quality, great significance and by the most significant artists are curated and presented to collectors, the audiences at different levels for acquiring these works compete enthusiastically.”

Christies said it was witnessing a “broadening pool of clients who were able to participate at the highest levels above $20 million” as “well as many new collectors through the online only sale”. A sale of Picasso Ceramics brought 45 per cent new visitors from 109 countries, Christie’s said.    

The trend is a continuation of the past week’s record breaking sale of a 1969 triptych by Francis Bacon that sold Tuesday night at Christie’s for $142.4 million, described as the highest price ever paid for an artwork in an auction. A report in The New York Times said the work, “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” depicts Bacon’s friend and rival Lucian Freud  sitting on a wooden chair against an orange background .   

Bolstered by its north-bound sale figures in the international market, Christie’s is hosting first auction in India on Dec  19 with a selection of works by Indian masters from the family collection of Kekoo Gandhi, who owned the Chemould Prescott Road Gallery in Mumbai – now managed by his descendants.  The auction house said it wanted to lure the emerging Asian markets to its India sale in Mumbai.  

Some glimpses from the autumn post war modern art sale:           

Frank Stella, Mitered Squares, alkyd and graphite on canvas, painted in 1966.
Estimate: $1,000,000 – 1,500,000 | Price Realized: $2,573,000

Francis Bacon, Three Studies Of Lucian Freud, oil on canvas, in 3 parts, painted in 1969. Estimate on request | Price Realized: $142,405,000

Pablo Picasso, “Mousquetaire”, buste, colored wax crayons and brush and India ink and gray wash on paper, Executed on 19 July 1967
Estimate: $600,000 – 800,000 | Price Realized: $1,805,000

Alberto Giacometti, Diego en chemise ecossaise, oil on canvas, painted in 1954.
Estimate: $30,000,000 – 50,000,000 | Price Realized: $32,645,000

A Dialogue Through Art: Works from the Jan Krugier Collection (New York, 4-5 November 2013) Total: $113,732,000 / £71,439,170 / €84,161,680
Top Lot: Pablo Picasso, Claude et Paloma, oil and ripolin on panel, painted in Vallauris, 20 January 1950. Estimate: $9,000,000-12,000,000 | Price Realized: $28,165,000

 

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