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November 08, 2007

Sothebys Falls over 30%...Killing the Golden ART Goose!!

Well...they say The size of the Hangover is always commensurate with the magnitude of the Party.

If you had any question "how well" the Fall Impressionist and Modern Auctions went yesterday... take one look at this chart of Sotheby's Stock!


Here's the detailed story by Linda Sandler of Bloomberg News...

Download Sothebys_stockFalls_afterFallAuctions.txt

Welcome to the dawn of a new era in Art.. now will someone pass the Aspirin!


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I don't think last night's Sotheby's auction was (or should be) the start of any huge downward spiral. I think it was a singular event. It was a mediocre sale with overly high estimates coming after a big stock market drop. And all those Kees Van Dongen works really stunk up the place. The whole sale reeked. The contemporary sales will kick ass next week.

Screw art. I'm stocking up on the canned food and rifles!

I think the auctions next week will more indicative of what will happen next in the art market.
There is a Jeff Koons Blue Diamond (Christie's)vs. a Koons Hanging Heart(Sotheby's) and two very similar Rothko's going against each other from each auction house.Can't wait to see the results.

Did you receive my last note?
If you are interested in my last offer let me know (by e-mail). Prices will go back next week.I am holding some in case. Please advise.

Meanwhile the little Canadian dollarette is holding its own...

Frankly, if Allan Stone's collection doesn't sell, I'll know something is really wrong. He had such a great eye.

See MAO!

World Record For Henri Matisse at Christie's Impressionist and Modern Art Sale at $33.6M
L'Odalisque, harmonie bleue, painted in 1937 by Henri Matisse, realized $33.6 million. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2007.

NEW YORK.- The auction of Impressionist and Modern Art staged at Christie’s New York yesterday evening realized $394,977,200, the second highest total ever achieved in fine art auctioneering and second to Christie’s Evening Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art held exactly one year ago, which included the fabled Bloch-Bauer Klimts and totaled $491 million. The pre-sale total estimate for the sale was $350/480 million. The sale was 85% sold by value and 81% by lot. Buyers were 48.5% American, 24% European, 3% Asian, 1.5% Russian, 1.5% Latin American and 21.5% others.

“The enduring importance of works of art as a stable and consistent store of cultural and economic values was demonstrated in tonight’s dazzling sale of paintings, drawings and sculpture created by the artistic geniuses of the past century. Matisse, Picasso, Monet and Signac continue to captivate and delight a worldwide audience of collectors,” said Marc Porter, President, Christie’s Americas. “We look forward to the continuation of our sales next week with Selections from the Allan Stone Collection offered on the evening of November 12 and Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale, taking place on November 13.”

The sale offered two spectacular examples of Odalisque-flavored paintings, one by Picasso and one by Matisse and both works flew high. L’Odalisque, harmonie bleue, painted in 1937 by Henri Matisse, realized $33.6 million and became the evening’s most expensive work, also setting a new world auction record for the artist. One of Matisse’s favorite subject matters, the odalisque, is portrayed in delicate colors and accentuates Matisse’s femme-fleur idea, the woman as the epitome of beauty, sensuality and fertility. The picture was bought from Matisse’s dealer by the family who offered it in this evening’s sale, an impeccable provenance, which was one of the many attractive qualities of this masterpiece.

Picasso was the evening’s darling. His works caught high prices throughout the sale, starting with the wonderfully simple study of an apple done in 1918 which fetched $825,000 and finding its apotheosis with his spectacular Femme accroupie au costume turc (Jacqueline), painted on 26 November 1955, which achieved $30.8 million. The crowning, definitive painting in a group of ten portraits of his companion Jacqueline Roque, Femme accroupie is perhaps the most Matisse-like of all his Les Femmes d’Alger-related works. Other Picasso highlights of the sale were his 1968 Homme à la Pipe, which fetched $16.8 million and the exquisite Dora Maar portrait from the collection of Lydia Winston Malbin which sold for $16.3 million.

In vibrancy, color-harmony and expressiveness, few portraits reach the heights that Modigliani conquered with his Portrait du sculpteur Oscar Miestchaninoff, 1916. The work fetched $30.8 million, and was the second most valuable painting of the evening. Modigliani appeared on the scene a second time with Jeune fille assise en chemise, which portrays one of the sitters that the artist worked with in Cagnes-sur-Mer, a village in the South of France. Jeune Fille realized $16.8 million.

After setting a world auction record for Signac in the May sale with Arrière du tub, at $11.7 million, the evening proved to be another crucial Signac moment when Cassis. Cap Canaille sold for $14 million, breaking last year’s record. Cassis fully captures the grandeur of Cap Canaille, the highest falaise in all of France, in all its magnificence, and was a centerpiece in the Signac retrospective exhibition held at the Metropolitan Museum in New York in 2001.

Les Quatre Saisons, 1872/73, a cycle of four landscapes, shows Pissarro at his most magnificent, and has widely been acclaimed to be one of his finest achievements from the early 1870s, ‘the apex of his career as a landscape painter.’ The series of four paintings realized $14.6 million. Les Quatre Saisons was the first major commission Pissarro ever received and it was only in 1891, during the sale of the works of Pissarro’s patron, Achille Arosa, that the set was publicly exhibited together for the first time. The cycle was then dispersed but reunited in 1901 and has remained in its entirety ever since. Les Quatre Saisons had two more market appearances in the last 26 years – the work fetched $6.8 million at Christie’s in 1991 and $8.9 million when offered again at Christie’s in 2004, reflecting the solid and steady market performance of a quintessential classical impressionist work.

An exquisite group of works by Paul Cézanne was led by the beautifully serene portrait of the painter’s gardener Vallier which realized $17. 4 million. The Vallier portrait fits into the series portraits of peasants and laborers, which Cézanne had begun in the late 1880s but it transcends these works in its powerful emotional charge.

Paul Gauguin's Te Poipoi (The Morning) Sells For $39 Million at Sotheby's New York
Gauguin’s Te Poi Poi which sold for US$39.2 million to Hong Kong collector, Joseph Lau.

NEW YORK.- Sotheby’s autumn 2007 evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art totaled $269,741,000 and included the top price achieved this week, Paul Gauguin’s Te Poipoi (The Morning), one of the greatest Tahitian scenes by the artist remaining in private hands, which sold for $39,241,000. The painting, which for the past 62 years had formed part of the illustrious American collection of Joan Whitney Payson, was purchased by the Hong Kong collector Joseph Lau. Auction records were established for Franz Marc, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, for a sculpture by Pablo Picasso, a work on paper by Egon Schiele and a painting by Max Ernst. Ten lots sold for more than $10 million, 12 lots sold for over $5 million and 49 sold for $1 million or more.

David Norman, Executive Vice President and a Chairman of Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Department Worldwide said, “Tonight’s sale, which brought the third highest total in Sotheby’s history, saw a market which very clearly responded to attractive, historically important property that was estimated in line with its expectations and resisted property that didn’t fit that criteria. American buyers purchased 44% of tonight’s sale by lot and Europeans bought 48%, and as noted, the top lot of the sale was purchased by Joseph Lau of Hong Kong.”

As many as five bidders competed for the finest sculpture by Pablo Picasso to ever appear at auction, Tête de femme (Dora Maar), driving the final price to $29,161,000, a record for a sculpture by the artist at auction. Also by Picasso was Homme à la Pipe, from 1969, an outstanding work from the artist’s heroic final years which brought $11,810,000.

German Expressionist works were also among the top prices achieved this evening. Der Wasserfall (Frauen Unter Einem Wasserfall), a masterpiece by Franz Marc from 1912, sold to a bidder on the telephone for $20,201,000, a record for the artist at auction, and Lyonel Feininger’s Der Grüne Brucke (The Green Bridge) brought $10,121,000.

Leading off the evening sale was a collection of five spectacular watercolors by Egon Schiele from the family of Christian M. Nebehay, a patron of the artist. The collection brought a total of $17,941,000, above a high estimate of $11.5 million and was highlighted by a riveting self-portrait of the artist - Selbstbildnis mit kariertem Hemd (Self-Portrait with Checkered Shirt). It was the subject of a battle between two bidders, finally selling to a client in the room for $11,353,000, a record for a work on paper by the artist at auction (est. $4.5/6.5 million).

An auction record was also achieved for Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot when his Juive D’Alger (L’Italienne) sold for $4,745,000, exceeding the high estimate of $3.5 million. Five bidders competed for the stunning canvas which had once belonged to the prominent American collectors, Mr. and Mrs. H.O. Havemeyer.

Other Impressionist works offered tonight were Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Femmes dans un jardin, a magnificent landscape which sold for $12,249,000, considerably in excess of the $9.1 million it brought in 2006, and Le Palais Dario by Claude Monet which sold to a bidder in the room for $10,401,000.

Three bidders competed for Joan Miró’s Le fermier et son épouse (The Farmer and his Wife). The gouache, which was painted in 1936, a year of extraordinary significance in the development of the artist’s work, was among the top ten lots of this evening’s sale bringing, $10,401,000.

Contemporary Art: "A product of the untalented, sold by the unprincipled to the utterly bewidered...." Just deserts would be a crash in the contemporary art market that has nothing to do with asset valuations. Alas, the two are now totally intertwined.


where's the report on last night's contemporary sales?

I was sure I'd find one here. ;-)

Here it is!

At an Enthusiastic Christie’s Sale, ‘One Million Dollars Is the New 10 Grand’
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Published: November 14, 2007
Despite fears that the art market might finally begin to crack, an overflowing salesroom of enthusiastic bidders last night at Christie’s proved the naysayers wrong as 16 record prices, for artists including Jeff Koons, Gerhard Richter and Lucian Freud, propelled the market for postwar and contemporary art to new heights.

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Andy Warhol "Liz."

Untitled, (Red, Blue, Orange, by Mark Rothko
“One million dollars is the new 10 grand,” said Andrew Fabricant, a Manhattan dealer, as he left the salesroom. “This was supernatural.”

In addition to the regular collectors and dealers, there was some star power in the audience, too. Sarah Jessica Parker sat in the second row, seeming to hang on every bid. Marc Jacobs, the fashion designer, was hard to miss with his blue hair, bright green scarf and diamond earrings. And upstairs, secreted away in a sky box, were Hugh Grant and Elizabeth Hurley.

Mr. Grant was there for more than entertainment. Christie’s had splashed his Warhol, a celebrated 1963 image of Elizabeth Taylor, across its advertisements for last night’s auction and put it on the catalog’s cover.

The 40-inch-square painting is from a series of 13, each with a different-colored background. Mr. Grant’s “Liz” is set against a deep turquoise blue and carried an estimate of $25 million to $35 million.

Few expected it to sell, because the image is considered heavy-handed and not as sharp as the others in the series. Yet Christie’s had given Mr. Grant a guarantee — an undisclosed sum to be paid regardless of the sale’s outcome — said to be $20 million.

Two bidders competed for the painting, which sold for $21 million, or $23.5 million including Christie’s buyer’s premium. It was a good investment for the actor, who bought it in 2001 for $3.5 million at Sotheby’s New York.

Although “Liz” sold below its estimate, it fetched the second-highest price of the evening. The entire sale produced a strong total: $325 million, against an estimate of $271.2 million to $373.3 million. Of the 66 works offered, all but five sold. (Final prices include Christie’s commission: 25 percent of the first $20,000, 20 percent of the next $20,000 to $500,000 and 12 percent of the rest. Estimates do not reflect commissions.)

David Rockefeller’s success last spring in selling his 1950 Rothko for $72.8 million, a record price for the artist, has drawn many more Rothkos to auction. “Untitled (Red, Blue, Orange),” a classic abstract canvas from 1955, became the most expensive work of the evening.

Five bidders tried for the painting, which sold to a telephone bidder for $34.2 million, against a high estimate of $30 million.

Another Rothko, “No. 7 (Dark Over Light),” a black, orange and cream 1954 canvas estimated at $20 million to $30 million, fared less well. A telephone bidder was able to buy it for $18.7 million ($21 million including the premium). It was not the only work that barely sold. Jeff Koons’s “Diamond (Blue),” measuring 7 feet wide and nearly 8 feet tall, has rested on its four gold-colored prongs outside Christie’s in Rockefeller Center for weeks now.

But it drew only one bidder. Larry Gagosian, the Manhattan dealer who represents the artist, bought the polished and colored stainless steel sculpture for $11.8 million, under its $12 million estimate. Still, the price was a record for the artist at auction.

A 1992 painting by Lucian Freud got a far more enthusiastic reception. “Ib and Her Husband,” a 1992 portrait of the artist’s daughter Isobel and Pat Costelloe nestled on a bed, brought $19.3 million, another record price. The seller was Janet Ketcham, a Seattle collector. The catalog listed the estimate as “on request,” but auction house experts had expected the painting to bring $16 million to $18 million.

Betting on the strength of the market, Kent Logan, a San Francisco collector, offered “Burning Gas Station,” a 1965-66 painting by Ed Ruscha. His gamble paid off. The painting, which was estimated at $4 million to $6 million, was snapped up by Mr. Gagosian for $6.9 million, another record price.

Norman and Norah Stone, also from San Francisco, were the sellers of “Piney Woods Nurse” (2002) by Richard Prince, whose retrospective is now at the Guggenheim Museum.

Mr. Prince also scored a record price. The painting was bought by Jay Jopling, the London dealer, for $6 million, soaring above its $2.2 million high estimate.

Mr. Richter’s photo-based painting “Düsenjäger” (1963), a depiction of a cruising jet plane from the collection of Susan and Lewis Manilow of Chicago, was estimated at $10 million to $15 million. It sold to a telephone bidder for $11.2 million, a record for the artist at auction.

Laurence Graff, the London jeweler, was among the evening’s busiest buyers. Sitting in the front row, he snapped up several classic images by Warhol and Basquiat. For “Elvis 2 Times,” a 1963 Warhol based on a publicity image for the movie “Flaming Star,” he paid $14 million, or $15.7 million with the premium. He also bought a 1982 painting by Basquiat titled “Sugar Ray Robinson,” a brightly colored hulking figure in shorts and gloves, for $6.5 million ($7.3 million with premium), against its $6 million to $8 million estimate.

“I got some nice things,” Mr. Graff said as he was leaving Christie’s after the sale. “I was particularly pleased by the ‘Sugar Ray’ Basquiat. I was prepared to go much higher.

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