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December 16, 2008

The Holiday Art Sale Season... 48.5% off a Basquiat... My How times have changed!

The Holiday Art Sales... 48.5% off a Basquiat... My How times have changed!

It's quite amazing how fast the art world can adjust to these difficult impossibe changing times.

Brian_ulrich_Bloomington_MN_2004 We have to say.. MAO was RIGHT not surprised how "Discount" become the most popular word uttered at Art Basel Miami Beach 2008.

But clearly.. this is the time of stress for the private art dealer community. It would seem, rumors of gallery closings has quickly become the newest sport in the gutters streets of Cheslea these days.

In fact, some tenatious people are resorting to new and interesting sales techniques... See story below..

 What next? Gallery Coupons? Blue Light specials? Door Buster pre-opening show sales?  Will there be going out of business sales?

So.. Does discounting art make it seem less attractive to have the work in your art collection? What do you think?

(photo by Brian Ulrich, Bloomington, MN, 2004, part of his Copia - Retail Project, c-print)

Here's an interesting story published this morning on Bloomberg news... by Katya Kazakina.


Asher Edelman’s Holiday Sale: Buy Basquiat for 48.5 Percent Off

2008-12-16 05:00:01.1 GMT  By Katya Kazakina

Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Asher Edelman, the corporate raider turned art dealer, has dressed the windows of his Manhattan gallery in the spirit of the times: "Holiday Super Sale," one sign says. "Totally Insane!" reads another. "No Kidding!" entices the third.

"All dealers are offering discounts now," said Edelman. "I am just being open about it."

The sale, which runs through Dec. 21 at Edelman Arts, offers discounts ranging from 25 percent to 50 percent on works by 20th century masters such as Willem de Kooning and Alberto Giacometti as well as the gallery’s contemporary artists.

A canvas by Jean-Michel Basquiat is $3.35 million, down 48.5 percent from last year’s asking price of $6.50 million. The unsold paintings by Berlin-based Christopher Winter, whose show just closed at Edelman Arts, were slashed by 40 percent.

John Chamberlain’s sculpture of twisted automobile parts can be picked up for $975,000, down from $1.25 million. A large landscape painting by Alex Katz is now available for $80,000, down from $150,000.

Unlike retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue or Target, advertising discounts and publicizing prices are among the taboos of the art market. Most galleries offer a 10 percent discount on primary market works. Important collectors and museums often get 20 percent off the asking price.

"We are not a boutique," said dealer Richard Feigen, who specializes in old masters and postwar art. "We don’t put on sales."

Pushing Sales

Other dealers are trying to boost sales in a global financial crisis. "It’s a season when people are shopping for presents for friends and family and I am sure people are trying to capitalize on that," said artist Thomas Beale.

Honey Space, a nonprofit gallery in Chelsea that Beale founded last year, will hold a three-day sale to raise money for its operations Dec. 18 through Dec. 20. In order to create interest, Beale sent e-mails advertising the works by more than 25 emerging and established artists priced between $10 and $999.

"It’s partly reflecting on the economy right now," said Beale. And partly, it’s to "appeal to a larger group of people."

Another Chelsea gallery, Caren Golden Fine Art, sent an e- mail about its new show featuring 12 young artists with an unusual mention of prices -- $850 to $6,000.

The exhibition is aptly titled: "The Brand New Deal."

--Editors: Mary Romano, Daniel Billy.

To contact the reporter of this story: Katya Kazakina in New York at +1-212-617-4837 or [email protected].


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Does discounting make a work less attractive??? No way! I've largely been on the sidelines the past few years, making only a couple of big purchases, waiting for prices to come down. Now I'm ready!

But I do notice that I'm getting pickier, since there are more opportunities. I want somebody's best piece, and won't settle for second-tier.

I don't think they need to discount prices at all.

I think they simply need to bring prices back in line with reality.

is almost hilarious
if wasn't tragic.

is totally hilarious

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