58 posts categorized "Auctions"

November 14, 2014

Artist Keltie Ferris... Painting Breaks the $100,000 Mark!

So for all those fans of amazing women contemporary painters.. you had good reason to celebrate last night.  At the Christies Afternoon sale yesterday, one of the US young women painters crossed a major hurdle. The $100,000 mark for a secondary market painting! WOW.. and it couldn't happen to a nicer more talented gal.

Congrats to Keltie Ferris.. he paintings have been an impressive few years of powerful color expressions. She's had some strong success in the gallery and museum world, but yesterday who entered an eleite club of young living artists selling for over $100,000. It's a group generally reserved for only hot young ego maniacs guy painters.. so it's refreshing to see Keltie's success!

This are the lot details at Christies:

Lot Description

Keltie Ferris (b. 1977)
oil, acrylic, oil pastel and spray paint on canvas
80 x 80 in. (203.2 x 203.2 cm.)
Executed in 2011.


Horton Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2011


London, Saatchi Gallery, Abstract America Today, May-September 2014.



She was born in Louisville, KY, 1977, so not even 40 yet! 
She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY 

More details about Keltie can be found here..


and at her NYC gallery... Mitchell-Innes Nash.. http://www.miandn.com/artists/keltie-ferris/works/1/

A Big MAO Congrats to Keltie Ferris! We can't wait to see more of your paintings!

October 07, 2010

George Eastman House.. Auction... Ends.. Today and Tomorrow!

George Eastman House 2010 Benefit Auction (Story contributed by Alvina Lopez, yes.. MAO now accepts story submissions!)


The George Eastman House, home of the International Museum of Photography and Film, is currently holding its 2010 Benefit Auction, the first since 1977. The Auction is scheduled to run from Sept. 27 though Oct. 7, which live viewings at Sotheby's New York from Oct. 1 through Oct. 4. While the viewings may have past, interested collectors, individuals, dealers, and other parties can still participate in the online auction, held at iGavelAuctions.com. The auction is open to any interested party and because there is no reserve on the items, individuals can place bids from several hundred to several thousands of dollars.


Here is the auction link.. you can bid online now



Proceeds from the auction will be used to help the Eastman House maintain its four million piece collection, which includes photography and camera equipment, photographs, motion pictures, and other related literature. The funds will also help the House continue research and educational programs, as well as maintain the National Historic Landmark house and surrounding gardens.


(Photo by Lyon, Danny,Portrait of Nancy,1990, currently bid at $1,200.00 ...join the bid here... )


The idea for the benefit was born nearly two years ago and auction committee has taken great pains to amass a collection worthy of the George Eastman name. A call for donated auction items was placed to museum members, collectors, dealers, photographers, film makers, and community members. The donations began pouring in from over 20 countries, including Germany, Israel, Australia, Japan, Canada, South Africa, Mexico, and the Netherland, as well as from across the United States. In total, the Eastman House collected over 300 photographs from almost every photographic genre and movement, rare books, and cameras for the 2010 Benefit Auction.


The George Eastman House is the oldest photography museum and one of the oldest film archives in the world. The home was built by George Eastman, founder of the Eastman Kodak Company, in 1905 and open to the public in 1949. Today, the museum is a leader in film preservation and photograph conservation and is a registered National Historic Landmark.


For more information on this event or the museum, visit the George Eastman House website at www.eastmanhouse.org, or the online auction website, www.iGavelAuction.com.



This guest post is contributed by Alvina Lopez, who writes on the topics of accredited online colleges .  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: alvina.lopez @gmail.com. 

May 13, 2010

Ryan Humphrey's New Show, with a work in the coming DPA Charity Auction!

Artist Ryan Humphrey's New Show at DCKT Conemporary Gallery is his best work to date, and he's even got one of his works coming up at Monday's DPA Re:FORM Charity Auction!

So, you might remember Ryan.. as the precocious Bad Boy Contemporary Artist who was featured on the first tragic season of America's Top Design Reality TV Show.

If you have a chance, be sure to stop into see Ryan Humphrey's newest show "Early American" at the DCKT Contemporary Gallery on the Lower East Side. It's an amazing installation of high art meets new american hip-hop design with a bit of Witty car culture thrown into the mix. Each piece in the show will leave you with a smirk on your face, and you might even get a giggle out of it.  but over all MAO left the gallery thinking, Ryan has found his true artistic voice, and he probably has produced his best work to date for this show.

Here's a short part from the official gallery Press Release..

Early American, RYAN HUMPHREY’s third solo exhibition with the gallery. HUMPHREY explores duality through an altered, customized version of an 18th century American interior. The installation hijacks the format of a formal and affluent interior, infusing it with cast-offs and objects more likely found in a rural garage than an antique shop. Class and taste are called into question and the hierarchy of materials associated with social stratification is discarded.

We particularly loved Ryan's painting, "UnderTow, 2010."  (photo #1) Which we were told was made from 100% old NY City 1970's Black and White Junked Police Cars. It's just a wonderful appropriation of the Ryan_Humphrey_UnderTow_2010 famous Hokusai, "The Great Wave of Kanagawa", of the 1820's.

So, if like MAO, you're a Ryan Humphrey Fan, then you have a great chance to get one of his cool works for a songat this Monday night's Drug Policy Alliance's Re:FORM Charity Auction at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. Gallery.

Ryan has donated this mutli-image 2 panel work.. tying in his Evil Knievel Bad Boy Biker, with a whole lot of Art History. it just resulted in a  wonderful and Witty work.


(Photo #2, Ryan Humphrey |Hearts of Darkness 2, 2009|Mixed media on fabric, linen, and canvas |2 panels, each 20 1/4 x 15 inches|Courtesy of the artist and DCKT Contemporary, Inc., New York| Estimated retail value: $3,500 )

Even if you're not a in the know, hip Ryan Humphrey Fan.. at the DPA event

there are also some great donations from a number of super star artist to consider.. Kara Walker, Donald Beachler, Fred Tomaseli, John Waters, William Wegman, and Ross Bleckner. So, there's still time for you to place absentee bids here...

See you all at Sikkema Jenkins on Monday Night!


December 01, 2009

An Exciting Rare PhotoBook Auction... Just Started Up!

An Exciting Rare PhotoBook Auction... Just Started Up! Check this out!

Danny_Lyon_Bikeriders For those readers of this site... it's no surprise MAO is an crazed photobook collector.

So much so, we are almost scared to tell anyone about this opportunity.. but iGavel  is starting to do auctions of Rare Photobooks!

The ever resourceful Dan Cooney almost too nice to be an art photography dealer, has just posted a great list of very hard to find, mostly 1st edition photobooks.

We checked them all out this weekend.. and we'd have to say..some of these book made us actually drool.


MAO is crazy,and pathetic an obsessed collector of rare photobooks, and this was an impressive line up for a first attempt book auction.

Some of the true highlights are..

  1. 1st edition Danny Lyon, The Bikeriders from 1968. (Pictured here)
  2. Nobuyoshi Araki, Tokyo Lucky Hole, First Edition, 1990
  3. Andreas Gursky 1994 - 1998, Signed
  4. Signed copies of Richard Avedon books.. The American West, and a signed copy of his An Auto-Biography 1993.
  5. 3 Lewis Baltz books.
  6. William Eggleston's Guide, Signed First Edition, from 1976.
  7. Henri Cartier Bresson, The Decisive Moment, Signed!
  8. Lary Clark's Punk Picaso, and a signed limited edition copy of his Tulsa...

and Yes.. the list of rare books goes on and on.. Cindy Sherman, Bruce Davidson, Nan Goldin, Herb Ritts, Walker Evans, Aaron Siskind, Ed Ruscha, and a few Bruce Weber books... Plus there's

even a Limited edition with a print by Bernd and Hilla Becher.

OK.. enough..there's too many to choose from.. MAO is almost broke already in a whirl wind just thinking about these coming up for auction. 85 Book lots.. all super hard to find.

Anyway.. if you're looking to add a few important books to your photobook library.. this seems like an amazing chance to pick up some real goodies.

OH.. and if anyone was still wondering what to get MAO for Christmas... hint..or even hint... cause MAO has been a very good boy this year!!

PS...be sure to sell Dan..MAO sent you.. and he'll give you the special MAO reader discount assistance.

iGavel Rare PhotoBook Auction.. Bids are starting already..don't miss it.

October 29, 2009

Diane Arbus Photo Up for Auction at the Aperture Benefit!!

Diane Arbus Photo Up for Auction at the Aperture Benefit!!

Check it out here...

Diane_Arbus_John_Gruen_Jane_Wilson Yes.. so far this rare Diane Arbus photo has a current bid of only $1,750. Welcome to the Art Recession...That's too low to be believed!!

So..one of the most important photographers in history has a photo for sale at Monday's Aperture Benefit auction. Can you ask for a better opportunity to add something amazing to your art collection?

This is one of her very standard 14.25 in x 14.25 in, Gelatin Silver Prints made by photographer Neil Selkirk for the Arbus Estate.

We've seen similar prints sell at Sothebys and Christies auction for well over $15k.

It's was donated by the Fraenkel Gallery in San Fran who represents the estate.

Diane Arbus, Photo of : John Gruen and Jane Wilson, NYC, 1965, Printed later, FRAMED, signed, titled, dated, and editioned '4/75' by the photographer's daughter, Doon Arbus, in ink, and stamped on the reverse, framed, 1963, printed later by Neil Selkirk (MoMA, unpaginated; Revelations)

Estimated value : $5,500

So. even if you're not a Diane Arbus fan.. this is just one of the works of art that will be auctioned off at the Benefit Monday night.

You can still get your Aperture Ticket Here!


The Lighthouse, Chelsea Piers, 6:30–10:00 pm

Cocktails and Silent Auction
Dinner, Award Ceremony, and Live Auction

For more information, contact:
Michiko Simanjuntak Grasso
(212) 946-7149 or [email protected]

October 27, 2009

The Aperture Foundation Benefit and Art Auction is Coming!

The Aperture Foundation Benefit and Auction is Coming!

YES my little MAO-ettes.. one of the best art charities around is having their annual fund raising party.

As every devoted MAO reader knows.. we can't do enough to support this charity.

Tickets are still available..for both the Auction, and the Dinner.

Here are the details...
Aperture Foundation Benefit & Auction - Honoring Joel Meyerowitz,
Howard Greenberg, and Susana Torruella Leval

Auction Featuring works by Diane Arbus,
Bruce Davidson, Atta Kim, Malick Sidibé, and more

The Lighthouse, Chelsea Piers

6:30-8:00 pm
Cocktail and Silent Auction

8:00-10:00 pm
Dinner, Award Ceremony,
and Live Auction.. Buy your tickets online here..

Or To order tickets, please contact Michiko Simanjuntak Grasso at [email protected] or (212) 946-7149.


They also have some amazing art donations by some famous artists up for sale at the silent and the live auctions.

Many of these will sell for much less than a gallery would charge.  It's exactly these types of Art Charity auctions which are the perfect place to find some inexpensive gems for your cutting edge art collection.

This week we're going to point out a few items we're excited about in the auction.

Our first exciting auction pick is by super star artist.. Ruud van Empel.

Live Auction #15.

Ruud_vanempel_2_Boys 2 Boys #1, 2009

Cibachrome print, edition of 25

16 1/2 x 14 in., framed

Estimated Value: $ 5,500.. Starting bid just $1,650.00

Courtesy of the artist and Stux Gallery, New York

This photos is a hyper real creation constructed in almost a pure digital space. Ruud is probably regarded as one of the early pioneers of the digital age of Art Photography and Photoshop.

Ron Exley wrote in the book PhotoArt (Dumont 2008):
'Dutch artist Ruud van Empel has taken digital manipulation of photography to a new level'
In 2011 the Groninger Museum will present a retrospective of his work.

Anyway.. We think this a cool magical image in so many ways.  Plus Ruud is one of those super hot hot artists who's work MAO has always liked.. but was never been willing to pay the full price or to get into a crazy bidding war at an auction house.

Honestly.. MAO thinks in Miami last year, we saw an extortionist art dealer asking $100,000+ for one of Ruud's older sold out large prints.  So getting to buy this amazing image for your art collection at the Aperture Charity event for next to nothing.. is just a super win win!  

October 23, 2009

Edward Burtynsky Photos.. Defied Recession Gravity

Edward Burtynsky Photos.. Defied Recession Gravity.

For those long time MAO readers.. it will come to no surprise that MAO is an avid fan of Canadian Photographer Edward Burtynsky. Yes.. we know.. Edward's work is big, colorful, over-hyped, straightforward, expensive, often pretty, very "corporate", safe, etc.. just about everything most fine art photography scholars and contemporary art snobs love to poke fun of.. but yes.. MAO loves his images.

But.. here's a little secret.. The auction world LOVES Burtynsky Too!!

So while photo auction results have been poor.. some artist's works are still breaking records. 

Check out this outcome from last week's October 15th, Phillips Photography Auction Sale in London..


Lot #88

Edward_Burtynsky_Oxford_tire_pile_1999Edward Burtynsky

Oxford Tire Pile #1, Westley, California, 1999
Colour coupler print. 68.6 x 86.4 cm. (27 x 34 in).  Signed in ink, printed title, date and number 1/10 on a label affixed to the reverse of the mount.

ESTIMATE £7,000-9,000

Actual Realized Total Sale Price including Auction House Premium

£30,000....Or... Approx $ 49,200 !!!

PROVENANCE Acquired directly from the artist

EXHIBITED Manufactured Landscapes: The Photographs of Edward Burtynsky, touring exhibition, including National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 31 January – 4 May, 2003 and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, 7 October 2005 – 15 January, 2006 (each another example exhibited)

LITERATURE Yale University Press, Manufactured Landscapes: The Photographs of Edward Burtynsky, 2003, p. 112; Steidl, China: The Photographs of Edward Burtynsky, 2005, p. 18


OK.. so just a few MAO stupid thoughts about this photo and these auction results...

  1. Wow..It's a pretty cool photo
  2. This was not the largest size print this image comes in.
  3. $49,200 is a ridiculous huge number.. to pay for a living photographer's image
  4. Why was the auction presale estimate so low? Like how clueless were the stupid people at Phillips?
  5. One high auction result does not mean too much, it may have been just 2 hedge fund guys with little wankers huge egos trying to out do each other
  6. Other Burtynsky images have also done well before.. but nothing quite like this.
  7. The image was in the recent Brooklyn Museum Show
  8. God Damn that a lot of tires!!
  9. Up until a few weeks ago..You could probably have bought this photo from one of the too many 7 Official Burtynsky Dealers around the world for only $25,000
  10. There are 9 More of these photos out there in this size.. plus at least 3 (or maybe 6) more in the larger print size.. plus some artist proofs floating around..plus he could always print more..
  11. MAO owns one of these phoos that he really should consider selling soon!! that should probably come out of cold storage.
  12. Who'd want to hang this depressing image on the wall in their home?
  13. Burtynsky is a great photographer and history will show him as one of the most important from our generation
  14. There are several better Burtynsky images in the MAO Collection..and we need to call Phillips our insurance company ASAP.

Well.. So...what do you think?

FYI.. For those who don't know.. there's a new Burtynsky Show "OIL" at the Corcoran Gallery Of Art in Washington DC, he also has a new great book Edward Burtynsky: Oilpublished by Steidl.

Plus there are NYC and  Toronto Gallery shows which just opened up. It's the Nicholas Metivier Galleryin Toronto, and in NYC, it's in the old Charles Cowles Gallery (R.I.P.) Space on 24th street at the newly relocated & renamed  Hasted Hunt Gallery Hasted Hunt Kraeutler Gallery..The show in NYC is up until November 28th.

May 28, 2009

Heritage Auction House to Open in NYC.. and Senior Jobs are Available!

Heritage Auction House from Dallas, Texas to open up offices in NYC.. and now senior JOBS are now available!

Brian_Ulrich_Powerhouse_Gym Well the one good thing a recession does for business is it opens up new opportunities for those looking to seize the day!

While the stuffed peacocks at  Sothebys, and Christies have been taking massive losses, cutting expenses, laying off staff, Bloomsbury, Bonhams.. and now Heritage Auction Houses are all expanding in New York City!! YEA!! Now if they would just start cutting their auction fees!

So if you're looking for a new job in the Art Auction world.. you might get in contact ASP with Heritage Auctions. 

{Note Photos from blogger/artist Brian Ulrich, Photo #1 - Power House Gym, 2008 and Photo #2 - Brian_Ulrich_Checkout Untitled Thrift (Check Out), 2006, chromogenic print , 30 x 40” , edition of 5.... FYI Brian's new show,"Thrift and Dark Stores" opens up at wonderful Julie Saul Gallery Tonight.. Don't miss it! }

We at MAO wish all three of these new expanding auction houses all the good fortune in the world!!

Good Luck, and please send MAO free catalogs !

Here's the latest email MAO got from our friends at the ambitious people at Heritage in TX (yes..there are actually a few savvy art people in Texas!!)


Heritage seeking top experts, opening NY and LA Galleries

Dear Mike @ MAO,

We just Love your great art website, and since you are obviously a major player in the New York City art world we need your help!

While other auction firms have reported shrinking sales and significant lay-offs, Heritage, the world's third largest auction house, is adding multiple world-class experts to its current staff in over 25 different categories. These experts will, in some cases, head new departments and in others will enhance existing department expertise. We have positions open at our headquarters in Dallas as well as at our new state-of-the-art galleries in prime locations in both Midtown Manhattan and Beverly Hills, scheduled to open in late 2009, or in early 2010.

We believe Heritage's business model of transparency and respect for our bidders' time is the wave of the future, as clients are discovering us in record numbers (read our Mission and Values statement here). In fact, we recently enjoyed our most profitable quarter ever (Jan-Mar 2009), as well as the best April in our 33-year history as an auction house. Our 2009 sales volume will likely match or exceed our record 2008 numbers even as the other major auction houses report 60% sales decreases.

Heritage is now ready to hire the world's best experts to support existing departments and launch new ones, especially in the following categories, though we will consider many other areas as well, including sub-categories:

  • American Art
  • Ancient Coinage
  • Antiquities
  • Asian Art
  • Books, Maps, and Prints
  • Decorative Arts
  • European Art
  • Jewelry and Timepieces
  • Latin American Art
  • Modern and Contemporary Art
  • Photography
  • Vintage Automobiles
  • Wine

These are top, high profile positions; we are seeking ambitious candidates who will bring their excellent reputation, business ethics, strong work ethic, organizational skills, and knowledge to represent Heritage in the best light. Preferred candidates will have more than 5 years in a major auction house environment, or experience as a commercial dealer (a combination of both would be ideal). Writing and public speaking talents and skills are a plus. Job duties will include obtaining consignments; supervising the vetting of condition; authentication of properties consigned; reviewing inquiries; proofing of cataloging, essays, and advertising copy; marketing specific objects to important clients, and supervising two or more auctions per year with full bottom-line responsibility in the case of department heads.

If you know someone who might be interested and if you feel they have the qualifications we seek, please ask them to email their resume and salary history to [email protected].

Thanks you,

Heritage Client Services
[email protected]
3500 Maple Ave. 17th Floor
Dallas, TX 75219-3941

May 12, 2009

The Best Kept Secret in the NY Art Photography Auction World.. iGavel.com

The Best Kept Secret in the Art Photography Auction World.. www.iGavel.com

OK.. so promise to please keep this just between us MAO readers.

MAO is not sure if he's the only smart awake one who's noticed, but we've found that most of the big greedy auction houses have been stupid slow at reducing reserve levels, and the presale price estimates.  So the big art and photography auctions are doing very poorly, and not selling many of their auction lots cause the minimums are unrealistic too high (think very 2007).

Vik_Muniz_dinosaud_dung But here is your chance to get some amazing art photography bargains.

Tomorrow is the iGavel Photo Auction (www.iGavel.com) and this time it includes some real gems with very low reserve levels.

Works by Alfred Steiglitz, Karl Struss, August Sander, Alexander Rodchenko, Helen Levitt,  Margaret-Bourke White, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, George Platt Lynes, Todd Webb, and even a lot by Vik Muniz (Photo #1) ..plus many more. It's a very impressive list of photographers.

The auctions all end tomorrow, and for you bargain hunters, there are not many bids yet so it's well worth checking out.

Some of these lots have starting bids as low as only $500.

Josef_Sudek_photographie There's even several really hard to find photobooks.. like the 1956 publication of Josef Sudek Fotografie Book, First Edition starting at only $325.00. (Photo #2)

By the way.. no bidding against MAO!! And if you have any questions about any of the lots.. Just call, auction organizer,and too nice and honest to be an art dealer Daniel Cooney at

email: [email protected]

phone: 212.255.8158

mail:   Daniel Cooney Fine Art
          511 West 25th Street, #506
          New York, NY 10001

Oh, and be sure to tell Dan, MAO sent you, cause Dan will give all the MAO readers the special MAO big discount white glove service. 


April 03, 2009

Nan Goldin Selling Several Personal Items At Christies Paris...

Nan Goldin is selling some of her personal items At Christies Paris on April 7th...

OK.. for all those Nan Goldin photography fans and fanatics (like MAO).. you have to see this! AMAZING!

Keeping in the spirit of, Her Art is Nan's Life (or is that, Her Life is her Art ?).. now is your chance to buy some of the very personal items from the life of legendary photographer Nan Goldin.

Nan is selling about 25 lots in an up coming "Arts Decratifs 16eme au 19eme Et Histoire Naturelle" at their Paris Auction house. This auction is a total kitchen sink of items, but Lots 97 thru to Lot 122 are all from the home of Nan Goldin.  There is no specific reason in the auction catalog for her selling these items.. just that it's stuff she's collected, and it was now time to sell them all.

And, well.. let's just say.. they are very "Interesting" items.. and maybe give a little extra in-site into the crazylife of Photographer Nan Goldin. We're still trying to figure out what in the world this one is...Lot 102 and what is she doing with it?

Nan_Goldin_dildo This lot (#122, pictured here..)is clearly The Grand Finale from her fascinating collection of insane fun stuff.. How can you pass this one up? Anyone have a bid?

Lot 122 Description :


Estimated Price Range :  $265 - $398
En bois mouluré et lacqué noir, portant des inscriptions gravées et dorées, muni d'un trou de préhension
Longueur: 16 cm. (6¼ in.)


April 01, 2009

Sotheby's and Hedge Fund Billionaire Steven A. Cohen... in Bed Together?

Sotheby's and Hedge Fund Billionaire Steven A. Cohen... in bed together?

So starting on April 2nd, and running till April 14th.. Sotheby's will be "hosting" a show of Steven A. Cohen's private art collection. The show is titled "WOMEN" to include 20 works with all female subjects. For Details click here ==> Sotheby's sells out to big share holder.

This show, just so happens to almost coincide with Sotheby's big Spring Modern and Contemporary Art Auctions.. wow, what a strange coincidence.

The claim is none of the work will be offered for sale, and this is just Mr. Cohen's nice way of giving the little people public a chance to see his high end art collection.  And isn't it sweet of Sotheby's to do something soo generous for thier clients and public.

FYI, there were rumors Mr. Cohen was trying to sell several works of Art just a few months ago. He had reportedly consigned at least 8 paintings to NY dealers, and once the art market crashed he had pulled the consigned work from art dealers.

Also of note.. after a recent stock purchase, Mr. Cohen, now owns over 5.76% of Sotheby's...making Steven the 3rd largest owner in the auction house. 

Richard_Prince_Graduate_Nurse_02 So.. we guess there are other ways to dump an art collection skin a cat.

Hmmm... Maybe the page from the Billionaire Art Opportunist Collector playbook could be :

  • Step 1.. Buy lots of Art, push prices way up, and tell everyone who'll listenin the media you're a wise long term buyer.

  • (Photo #1, Richard Prince, "Graduate Nurse, 2002",Ink jet print and acrylic on canvas,89 in x 52 in.   FYI... A description from Sotheby's.. "This work is one of the best paintings Prince ever made, particularly because of its monumental scale and the rich, painterly quality of the brushstrokes")

  • Step 2.. Buy an art auction house (or a Whopping controlling interest in one),

  • Step 3.. Stage a show of the great works having auction house experts tout your collection..

  • Step 4..Tell everyone these art works, on proud display, are not for sale

  • Step 5... Wait for someone stupid enough to say.. I wish I could have a collection like the one by this well known art collector, which just happens to be on display in the auction house.

  • Step 6.. To be determined.... Hmm.. possibly.. Cash out..??   

Which reminds MAO of an Art joke...

Q:  How does one sell 100 Million Dollars worth of Contemporary Art?

A:  First Buy $200 million of Contemporary Art.. and then try to sell it!

OUCH! OK.. Well.. Maybe MAO is just being a bit too much of a bitch cynic... What do you think? Nice of Mr. Cohen and Sotheb'ys.. or totally self serving ?

Anyway.. here's a story by Lindsay Pollock of Bloomberg News wrote...


 SAC’s Cohen Shows Off $137 Million ‘Woman’ at Sotheby’s Exhibit
2009-04-01 04:01:00.25 GMT

By Lindsay Pollock and Philip Boroff
     April 1 (Bloomberg) -- Steven Cohen, who runs the $14
billion hedge-fund manager SAC Capital Advisors, is raising his
profile as an art collector with an unusual loan show at
Sotheby’s in New York.
     Starting tomorrow, the auction house will display 20 rarely
seen works by such artists as Andy Warhol and Vincent van Gogh.
They have a combined market value of about $450 million, dealers
say. The pieces, owned by Cohen and his wife, Alexandra, all
depict women.
     Auction houses often host special exhibitions to showcase
sales in advance. In this case, Sotheby’s and Cohen say the show
will offer nothing for sale, although it does coincide with
Cohen’s increasingly close ties to the auctioneer.
     As of March 6, SAC owned 5.9 percent of the company, up
from 4.6 percent on Dec. 31, according to filings with the
Securities and Exchange Commission.
     Cohen, 52, has paid large sums as he built up a major art
collection. He’s best known as the 2004 buyer of Damien Hirst’s
$8 million formaldehyde-soaked shark, on loan to New York’s
Metropolitan Museum of Art.
     More recently, he snagged two pieces by Jeff Koons,
including the shiny 9-foot-tall “Hanging Heart (Violet/Gold)”
sculpture, according to people familiar with the transaction.
Another heart from the same series fetched $23.6 million at
Sotheby’s in 2007.
     Last year, Cohen consigned at least eight paintings to New
York dealers to sell, among them works by Willem de Kooning,
and Pablo Picasso. He hoped to raise money for a major
purchase that -- as financial markets tumbled -- he ultimately
decided not to make, according to sources close to Cohen. They
declined to disclose his target.

                      ‘Business Prospects’

     The Sotheby’s exhibition has provoked curiosity. “Cohen is
doing what he can to improve business prospects at Sotheby’s,”
said William N. Goetzmann, a former museum director and Yale
School of Management professor. “He is improving the value of
his art by showcasing it in a dramatic fashion.”
     With the art market in a funk, Sotheby’s and Christie’s
International are scrounging for goods to sell in the May
auctions, auction house sources say.
     Sotheby’s is publishing a 48-page hardbound illustrated
color catalog, with an essay by art historian Joachim Pissarro.
And it has allocated prime 10th-floor exhibition space to Cohen
for a week-and-a-half, twice as long as the house ordinarily
devotes to profit-making auction previews.
     During the past decade, Cohen, based in
, has bought voraciously, acquiring through art
adviser Sandy Heller and dealers including Gagosian Gallery,
Acquavella Galleries and the firm Giraud Pissarro Segalot.

                         Eclectic Tastes

     The Sotheby’s exhibition reveals Cohen as a man of eclectic
tastes, who chased down a wide range of major artworks, buying
at auction and from other collectors including Steve Wynn and
David Geffen.
     “It’s an opportunity to see works that everyone has been
talking about and not a lot of people have seen,” said Tom L.
Freudenheim, a former assistant secretary for museums at the
Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
     The show includes the 1952-53 de Kooning “Woman III,”
acquired from Geffen for $137 million, as well as Cezanne’s dour
1900 “Portrait of a Woman,” which Cohen acquired for $10
million at Christie’s in 2004. Other auction booty includes
Marlene Dumas’s 10-foot-wide “The Visitor,” purchased at
Sotheby’s in London for a record $6.3 million last July.
     Last summer, as Cohen prepared to make the mysterious major
purchase, he approached Sotheby’s about selling a group of
artworks in the November auctions -- including a work by Koons
and a painting by Maurice de Vlaminck -- valued at around $100
million, according to dealers and auction-house sources. The
group was ultimately not put up for sale.
     The works he withdrew from sale at private galleries in
Manhattan included Picasso’s “Homme a la Pipe,” insured for
$20 million, and currently on view at Gagosian Gallery.
     “The Cohens are continually refining their collection when
the opportunity presents itself,” explained spokesman Jonathan

--Editors: Manuela Hoelterhoff, Jeffrey Burke.

February 12, 2009

The Christies Contemporary Art Sale in London...goes as Expected

The Christies Contemporary Art Sale in London...goes Down as expected.

Well..The results are in, and it wasn't exactly a strong auction.

The one silver lining was that so far, Contemporary Art Photography seems to be holding in well.

Andreas_Gursky_Prada_III One Example.. (Photo 1, Andreas Gursky, Prada III, 1989, 67 x 118 inches)  The one big photo lot was #27 and it sold for more than the already lowered  presale estimate. 

  • Andreas Gursky

  • Prada III (1989) Color coupler print mounted on Diesec in wooden artist frame.

  • Presale Estimate : 180,000 - 220,000 British Pound Sterling

  • Actual Hammer price : 225,000 Sterling + Auction House Premium

  • Total Sale Price : 271,250 Sterling

But is sounds like the rest of the big evening  sale was almost a total bust not very strong!

Check it out.. The website, ChelseaArtGalleries.com does a great job with post auction analysis

Here's a story by Scott Reyburn of Bloomberg News...


Christie’s Sale Total Halves; $12.2 Million Rothko, Bacon Fail
2009-02-12 01:02:44.150 GMT

By Scott Reyburn
     Feb. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Francis Bacon and
Mark Rothko
went unsold last night as nervous bidders paid only
half the amount Christie’s International estimated it would raise
in its first test of the contemporary-art market in 2009.
     The two pictures -- the only works valued at more than 2
million pounds -- had been estimated by Christie’s to sell for a
total of as much as 8.5 million pounds ($12.2 million) in London.
Both failed to attract a single bid. The auction total of 7
million pounds was below the presale low estimate of 14.5 million
pounds, both based on hammer prices.
     Dealers said contemporary-art prices have dropped between 30
and 50 percent over the last six months during the bank crisis
and economic slump, deterring buyers and sellers. Christie’s
ended up with its lowest total at a February auction of
contemporary art in London since 2004.
     “I was surprised by the number of unsolds,” Offer Waterman,
a London-based dealer, said in an interview. “The material
wasn’t as strong as last week and the mood was down. There were a
lot of empty seats in the room.”
     Seventy-nine percent of a shrunken offering of just 29 lots
found buyers. The auction, conducted by Jussi Pylkkanen,
Christie’s European president, was over in 36 minutes. Its total
of 8.4 million pounds with fees was 88 percent below the 72.9
million pounds achieved at the equivalent auction last year,
where a Bacon triptych sold for 26.3 million pounds ($51.5
million). Sotheby’s 17.9 million-pound contemporary-art auction
on Feb. 5 was 81 percent down on 2008.
     “The markets hate uncertainty,” said Amy Cappellazzo,
Christie’s deputy chairman, Americas. “Steadiness hasn’t yet
been achieved.”

                            Bacon Hope

     Bacon’s 1954 picture, “Man in Blue VI,” had been in the
same private collection since 1971 and had been expected to sell
for between 4 million pounds and 5 million pounds.
     The 5-foot-high canvas has a large dark background and a
small, blurred figure. It was one of seven paintings Bacon made
of an unknown man with whom the artist had an affair while living
in the Imperial Hotel, Henley-on-Thames, England. Unusually, the
image was painted from life, rather than from photographs, as was
Bacon’s normal practice, said Christie’s. It had never previously
been offered at auction.
     “The Bacon was perhaps too academic for the public and was
perhaps estimated too high,” said Pilar Ordovas, Christie’s
European deputy chairman of contemporary art.

                            Green, Blue

     Six lots later, Rothko’s 1968 abstract, “Green, Blue, Green
on Blue” failed to sell. The 3-foot 4-inch high work on paper
laid down on canvas had been expected to fetch between 2.5
million pounds and 3.5 million pounds, the London-based auction
house said.
     It was not fresh to the market, having been sold for $6.1
million at Christie’s in New York as recently as November 2007.
This put off potential buyers, said Christie’s.
     With the two highest-estimated lots failing, Jeff Koons’s
2003 playfully computer-manipulated 9-foot-high oil on canvas,
“Monkeys (Ladder),” led the auction with a low-estimate price
of 1.4 million pounds with fees paid by Gagosian Gallery, Koons’s
     The U.S. dollar price was almost exactly half the $4 million
the similar-sized and similarly painted 2000 Koons canvas,
“Cheeky,” raised at Sotheby’s in New York in November.
     A Koons stainless-steel sculpture of a model railroad car
filled with bourbon, from the artist’s 1986 “Luxury and
Degradation” series, sold to a telephone bid for 445,250 pounds
against a low estimate of 400,000 pounds. In May 2008, another
railroad car from Koons’s same limited-edition series sold at
Christie’s, New York, for $1.9 million.

                           Smiley Faces

     Takashi Murakami’s 5-foot diameter “Flower Ball (Brown)”
painting, featuring more than two dozen of the Japanese artist’s
trademark flower smiley faces, sold for 397,250 pounds against an
estimate of 300,000 pounds to 500,000 pounds. In February last
year another, identically sized “Flower Ball” painting in red
sold for $1.65 million at Sotheby’s in New York.
     Richard Prince’s artist’s proof of his 4-foot-wide 2001
limited edition photo, “Untitled (Cowboy),” showing a mounted
cowboy riding past a pond, failed to sell against a low estimate
of 240,000 pounds.
     Only three of the evening’s 29 lots sold for hammer prices
of more than the high estimate. Among these, the 10-foot-wide
Andreas Gurskycolor-coupler-print photograph, “Prada III,”
featuring rows of black woolen jumpers in a display case, managed
a hammer price of 225,000 pounds, translating to 271,250 with
auction house fees. From an edition of six, this had a high
estimate of 220,000 pounds. Like the Murakami, it was bought by a
telephone bidder.
     Christie’s said 66 percent of the buyers were from Europe,
27 percent from the U.S., 4 percent from the U.K. and 4 percent
from Asia.
     Christie’s charges a premium of 25 percent on the hammer
price up to and including 25,000 pounds, 20 percent up to and
including 500,000 pounds and 12 percent for more than 500,000

     (Scott Reyburn writes about the art market for
Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)



November 19, 2008

An Emerging Photographer Auction.... check it out!

An Emerging Photographer Auction.... check it out!

So for all those people feeling the intense pain of this art crash recession... here's an opportunity.

Dan Cooney and iGavel are holding an Emerging Photographer auction.

All the prints starting bids are set at only $200. What a great way to do some early MAO Christmas Shopping.

Noah_kalina_igavel_photoMAO was lucky enough to check out these photos last week.. some are great and all are edition-ed (We're not sure on how big some of these editions are, so you'll have to ask Dan for the size specifics of these editions).

Of the 25 photos, we at MAO particularly loved the works by Cara Phillips, Will Steacy, Laura Noel, Dana Miller, and Noah Kalina. (Hint to Dr. Quiz: please bid on these.. cause MAO has been a very good boy this year!!)

In fact, when you read the details, some of these "Emerging" artists are not so emerging. Many already have impressive bio's.. and their work has been selling in galleries at much higher prices. So there are really some great values to be picked up here!

Who knows.. Maybe the next Struth, Sherman or Eggleston is to be found in this list!

(Photo #1, by Noah Kalina, Untiled 20080629 D1FG, Digital C-Print, 20 x 24")

Bidding is open now.. and ends on Dec 10th. Check it out!

November 13, 2008

Some of the Contemporary Art Auction Results are in.....

Train_wreck_at_Montparnasse_1895 As expected, the auction reserves were too high, and the buyers were all too scared.

Very few lots reached even the low end of their presale estimates.. so the fall begins.

Here's  an initial story from Lindsay Pollock and Phillip Boroff of Bloomberg news... we're sure there's going to be many more!

(Since MAO as been worrying about thinking of all our friends at Paris Photo this week.... we choose... Photo #1, Train Wreck at Gare Montparnasse, Paris France, 1895)


Eli Broad Goes Shopping as Sotheby's Art Auction Falls Short

2008-11-12 06:39:27.760 GMT By Lindsay Pollock and Philip Boroff

Nov. 12 (Bloomberg)


Eli Broad and fashion designer Valentino were among the collectors who converged on Sotheby's in New York last night to pick through big-name contemporary art at discount prices.

``It's a half-price sale,'' said Broad, a 75-year-old billionaire who predicted for years that prices would fall. ``Things are a little more reasonable.'' Broad snagged Ed Ruscha's 1969 mustard-hued ``Desire'' fo $2.4 million, 40 percent under the $4 million low estimate.

The 43 lots that sold in the 63-lot auction totaled $125.1 million, far below the presale low estimate of $202.4 million.

Twenty lots, or 32 percent, failed to sell, including several tagged with hefty estimates guaranteed by the auction house.

It was the lowest selling rate for a multiple-owner evening sale of contemporary art at Sotheby's since November 1994.

Sotheby's comparable auction in May totaled $362 million, almost three times last night's tally.

Even so, after last week's main impressionist sale at Sotheby's sold 64 percent of lots, dealers were relieved.

``It wasn't so bad,'' said Marc Glimcher of PaceWildenstein. ``That's the overwhelming feeling.''

The evening got off to a strong start. John Currin's 1999 ``Nice `N Easy,'' depicting two nude young women, went to an anonymous telephone bidder for a record $5.46 million. The seller was Los Angeles television executive Dean Valentine. Currin's previous auction record of $847,500 was set at Christie's International four years ago with a painting of two men making pasta.

Unsold Lichtenstein

The evening's marquee lot, Roy Lichtenstein's 1963 ``Half Face With Collar,'' attracted no bids. The archetypical pop-art painting, featuring a businessman tugging at his collar, sported a $15 million to $20 million presale estimate.

Broad gave paddle No. 434 a workout, buying a large orange Donald Judd aluminum and Plexiglas sculpture for $1.1 million and a small Robert Rauschenberg painting for $2.6 million. For the Broad Art Foundation, he bought Ruscha's ``Desire'' and a gaudy Jeff Koons sculpture for $2.2 million.

Prices include a buyer's premium, or commission, of 25 percent of the hammer price up to $50,000, 20 percent of the price from $50,000 to $1 million and 12 percent above $1 million.

Estimates do not include commissions.

The tanned front-row fixture Valentino Garavani scored two Andy Warhol paintings and a Joan Mitchell canvas with little competition, after being outbid during the frothy May sales. Gap Inc. founder Donald G. Fisher bought a glossy Gerhard Richter for less than the low estimate. Actor Steve Martin and Blackstone Group Vice Chairman J. Tomilson Hill III were among the collectors witnessing how the contemporary art market held up after the Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 39 percent this year.

Fuld Collection

Christie's holds its contemporary auction tonight, featuring Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Officer Richard S. Fuld Jr.'s drawing collection, estimated to bring in about $20 million. Works by younger artists go under the hammer on Nov. 13 at Phillips de Pury & Co.

Last night's top lot was French painter Yves Klein's 1960 blue, roughly surfaced, 6 1/2-foot-tall ``Archisponge (RE11)'' which has 13 sponges and dozens of pebbles affixed to the canvas.

It sold for $21.4 million, below its $25 million estimate, to an anonymous phone bidder.

Guaranteed Guston

Museum of Modern Art trustee Donald L. Bryant Jr. sold Philip Guston's 1954-55 flesh-toned ``Beggar's Joy'' for $10.2 million, almost a third below its $15 million estimate. He'd paid $1.6 million in 1996 at Sotheby's in New York. According to the catalog, the seller was given a guaranteed minimum price.

Sotheby's anticipated that the auction would not sell a number of lots. As in last week's impressionist auctions, sellers locked in guarantees months earlier. Last week, Sotheby's projected in its third-quarter earnings statement that it would book $17 million in losses from guarantees to sellers at this week's contemporary sale.

Demand for recently fashionable artists such as Richard Prince, Damien Hirst and Takashi Murakami thinned. ``It's a buyer's market,'' said Josh Baer, publisher of the Baer Faxt, an art market newsletter.

--Editors: Stephen West, Le-Min Lim.

October 08, 2008

Phillips de Pury sells the company to the Russians!

In yesterday's news wire we heard the auction house, Phillips de Pury & Co has sold itself Majmoscow_wideweb to theRussians! The new owner will be The Mercury Group of Moscow.

Mercury is a luxury department store owner in Russia.

Here's the details of the story..from Bloomberg News.

Congrats to Phillip's Simon de Pury  for selling out at the top of the market.... !

We guess.. the Russians are not just buying our American Contemporary Art.. but now they are buying an entire art auction house!

It will be interesting to see with a new deep pocket owner, if Phillips tries to expand and take market share away from Christies, and Sothebys... Hey... Now.. maybe a good time to cut those crazy buyer premiums !!


Russia's Mercury Group Buys London Art Company Phillips de Pury

2008-10-06 15:05:45.990 GMT   By John Varoli

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Moscow-based Mercury Group has bought control of Phillips de Pury & Company, the New York and London- based auction house said today in an e-mailed statement.

Phillips's founder and chairman, Simon de Pury, retains his position and stake in the company as part of what the e-mailed news release calls ``a strategic partnership.''

``We have seen tremendous growth in the company over the last four years,'' said De Pury in the statement. ``This partnership with a major player in the luxury sector will allow us to provide a unique platform to new and fast-growing markets.

Russia has clearly emerged as an important art market.''

Phillips said in the statement that its contemporary-art sales rose 80 percent in the first half of 2008 compared with the same period in 2007. Besides auctions, Phillips conducts private sales, selling exhibitions, and helps clients build collections.

Mercury owns the TSUM department store in downtown Moscow, and the Barvikha Luxury Village in a Moscow suburb. Its shops sell brands such as Gucci, Prada, Giorgio Armani and Rolex. It also has showrooms for Ferrari, Maserati and Bentley cars.

In October 2007, the Luxury Village hosted the first contemporary-art exhibition in Russia by Gagosian Gallery, the art world's global leader in exhibition space.

``For us, particularly, it represents a substantially expanded capital base,'' said Ariel Childs, spokeswoman for Phillips de Pury, in a telephone interview. ``It means we can grow. It's an added level of support that we are very pleased to have. I would expect that we'll be holding sales in Moscow. We will keep our focus on contemporary art and design and the core business values will remain.''

July 22, 2008

A Photography Collector... Auction Secret... iGavel.com

A Photography Collector Auction Secret!!

OK.. My little MAO-ettes..There's a cool new photo auction up on IGAVEL.COM

Actually, We're almost hesitant to even tell people about this one.. cause our greedy self we would rather keep this gem all to ourself!! So if anyone sees MAO bidding.. You all have to promise, DON'T BID against MAO!! THANKS.

Herb_ritts_naomi_campbellSo..It's smaller than Sotheby's, Christies and Phillips but this up and coming photo auction is run by the almost too honest to be a NYC art dealer, a real photo professional, and ex-Sotheby's specialist Daniel Cooney Fine Art <http://www.danielcooneyfineart.com/>

This time Dan's put together a very high quality sale of 68 lots

Auction photo's include work by : Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Luis Gonzalez Palma, Herb Ritts, , Edward Steichen, Edward Curtis, Bert Stern, Todd Webb, George Tice, Helen Levitt, Wynn Bullock, Bruce Davidson, Brett Weston, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Greg Gorman, Mona Kuhn, Candida Hofer, and John Dugdale just to name drop a few!

(Photo by Herb Ritts, Naomi Campbell, 1990, 20 x 16, signed, #15/25, Lot 1090553)

Wow!! That's one impressive list!! And many of them will sell for some really low prices.

Some of these lots have sweet low reserve levels, there's even several lots with starting bids of $200! There's also a few lots of hard to find photo books and vintage Aperture magazines... FYI...they are the next hot art collectible!!

So, you have a few (7) days left to go and inspect the lots before bidding.  They are all at a gallery in Chelsea :

Daniel Cooney Fine Art
                  511 West 25th Street
                  New York, NY 10001
                  212 255 8158
[email protected]

Oh.. and FYI.. if you meet Dan.. Please tell him Mike at MAO sent you.. I hear he gives all the smart MAO readers a special auction discount catalog!!

June 26, 2008

Show me the Monet....!!

Claude Monet's Water Lilies painting, "Le Bassin aux Nympheas," sells for a record of $80.45 Million this week.

Monet_Le_Bassin_aux_nympheas_1919 (Photo # 1, Claude Monet, Le bassin aux nymphéas,

signed and dated 'Claude Monet 1919'

oil on canvas,

39½ x 79 1/8 in. )

OK.. so the art world is not totally crashing yet... and clearly quality is always in strong demand. Here's a story by Scott Reyburn about this Claude Monet Sale.

Download Monet_record_waterLilies.txt

But the real question is.. Do high end record sales like this one, translate in to higher prices for more "affordable" contemporary art?

Well..here's an interesting lot coming up in one huge Contemporary photography sale at Phillips in London on Monday, June 30.

 Lot 52.  Vik Muniz

Waterlilies, after Claude Monet (Pictures of Magazines, Still-life), 2004
Colour coupler print, flush-mounted to aluminium. 185.4 x 180.3 cm (73 x 71 in).  Signed and dated in ink, printed title, date and number 4/4 AP on a gallery label affixed to the reverse of the frame.

Vik_Muniz_Waterlilies_Monet_a Estimate... 12,000 - 18,000 Sterling, or

$24,000 - 36,000 US Dollars.

Here's the Phillips description about this lot :

Muniz works from the premise that art and popular culture strive to create the illusion of reality, whether of glamour, coherence or physical space, through suspension of disbelief. With gleeful perversity, he flings a monkey wrench into the gears of that verisimilitude, setting out to create, in his words, the worst possible illusion. He begins by using unexpected materials to re-create familiar, iconic images from art history and popular culture – paintings by Monet, Goya and Warhol, well-known photographs from Life magazine, images of film actors and characters. He then documents his re-creations in crisp, vibrant photographs.

So, If you didn't have a spare $80 million, and missed your chance to buy an original Monet painting...

Maybe you can still buy a much more hip cool contemporary photographic interpretation of it...

Here you go..my little MAO-ettes..get your auction paddles ready!

So what do you think the final sale price for this beauty will be??

MAO's uneducated guess : $50,000

June 11, 2008

NYC Photography Auction News...

NYC Photography Auction GOSSIP News...Photography expert Rick Wester has taken a new position as adviser at Bloomsbury Auctions in NYC.

Rick_wester_bloomsbury There's nothing yet on the Bloomsbury website confirming this, but there was a story in Art + Auctionmagazine this month, saying Rick is going to help start up Photography Auctions for Bloombsbury Auction house in NYC this Fall.

We at MAO love Rick.. we were sad to see him leave Phillips cause he was doing such an amazing job. But we wish him all the best in his new job, and we look forward to another auction house featuring photography in NYC.

So move over. Christies, Sotheby's, Phillips, and Swann..cause there's a new kid in town!!

P.S. and from what MAO can tell by the Bloomsbury website..they are only charging a 20% premium on the first $300,000 and 10% thereafter.

May 30, 2008

Christies and Sotheby's are INCREASING the Buyers Premiums!!

YES..my little MAO-ettes The greedy "nice people" over at ..Christies and Sotheby's are both raising their already outrageous auction buyers premiums!

Greedy_pig_auction_houses_at_trough As if the last round of rate increases were not stupid enough... ?

This seems totally crazy to MAO, given we're in the middle of a recession with Art fairs, and art dealers shutting down everywhere .. 

But, we guess the auction houses are feeling overly secure enough to start ripping off charging their clients even more !!! 

As we say on wall street,

Bulls make money, bears can make money, but pigs get slaughtered.

So here's the bad news..

Effective 2 June 2008

Country & Saleroom Location(s) Premium Threshold
United States Los Angeles
New York

Wine Sales only
Up to $50,000
$50,001 - $1,000,000
$1,000,001 and above
No threshold

May 14, 2008

Christies Contemporary Sale Goes Very Well!

So the much worried about anticipated Christies Post War and Contemporary Art sale went very well last night.   Oh..and in case you were wondering... that enormous rush of air everyone in NYC heard last night..was the huge sy-of-relief being let out by every bloated contemporary art dealer in Chelsea.

Mark_rothko_number_15 So at $33,641,000, Lucian Freud now rules now the roost.. a pretty average Rothko sold for over $50 millioncrazy oblivious American collectors bought 70% of the lots last night, and Sotheby's stock is now up 4% this morning.  What Gloom and Doom..?? Pish-posh! The contemporary art world is all fine and dandy...full speed ahead!  I knew that Kool Aid tasted great.

(Photo #1, Mark Rothko, No 15, 1952, 91 3/8 x 80 inches, oil on canvas)

Well... With $348.3 Million in sales just last night just at Christies.. Let the good times Roll!

Here's some more details by Lindsay Pollock and Philip Boroff of Bloomberg news.
     May 14 (Bloomberg) -- Lucian Freud, the 85-year-old flesh-
and-flab-loving British painter, became the world's priciest
living artist at auction last night when his graceful portrait of
a 280-pound civil servant named Sue fetched $33.6 million at
Christie's International in New York.
     The 1995 Freud was one of eight records smashed in an
exuberant sale featuring the male clique of auction stars that
includes Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon and Richard Prince. Tom
Wesselmann, Prince, Sam Francis and Adolph Gottlieb also fetched
new highs.
     The 57-lot sale tallied $348.3 million, the second-highest
total for the category and closer to the top of the $282 million-
to-$398.6 million presale range. Just three lots didn't sell and
Americans took home 70 percent of works sold. It was as if buyers
were oblivious to talk of recession and remnants of the credit
crisis in the world outside the Rockefeller Center salesroom.
     ``Defying gravity tonight,'' said billionaire Eli Broad as
he stepped out of the salesroom, accompanied by wife Edye, and
Joanne Heyler, director of the Broad Art Foundation.
     The top lot was a 1952 Mark Rothko painting, with red bands
on a yolk-yellow background, that fetched $50.4 million.
Estimated to sell for about $40 million, it rode the Rothko wave
that began a year ago, when David Rockefeller sold a pink-and-
yellow canvas for a record $72.8 million at Sotheby's.

                         Lanky, Tanned

     Real estate developer Aby Rosen, lanky plastics magnate
Stefan T. Edlis, Michael Ovitz and perennially tanned fashion
designer Valentino Garavani were spotted in the crowd.
     ``The very important went very high,'' said Valentino, after
the sale.
     Christie's didn't miss any marketing angles. The firm's
billionaire owner Francois Pinault hosted a dinner Monday night
honoring Jeff Koons. In November, Koons's 3,500-pound, hot-pink,
stainless-steel ``Hanging Heart (Magenta/Gold)'' sold for $23.6
million at Sotheby's New York, establishing him at the time as
the priciest living artist at auction.
     Tapping the boom market for contemporary art, the auction
house offered a famous mid-century home, the Richard Neutra-
designed ``Kaufmann House'' at the sale. The five-bedroom house
in Palm Springs, California, fetched $16.8 million, near the low
end of $15 million-to-$25 million estimate.
     Christie's sale was the first postwar and contemporary
auction of the week. Sotheby's auction, starring a Bacon triptych
expected to fetch about $70 million, is tonight. Phillips de Pury
& Co. follows on May 15.

                         Twisted Portraits

     Enviable returns studded the sale. Bacon's 1976 ``Three
Studies for Self-Portrait'' fetched $28 million. In 1999, the
somber twisted portraits sold for $2.9 million at Christie's in
London and six years later made $5.2 million in New York.
     Prince's campy ``Nurse'' series paintings went for less than
$100,000 five years ago. Last night, ``Man-Crazy Nurse #2'' went
for $7.4 million. The seller was television producer and MoMA
trustee Douglas S. Cramer. Hedge fund titans Steven Cohen and
Daniel Loeb are among Prince's devotees.
     ``I would've expected a correction by now,'' said Broad.
``It's just a question of when.''

                         `Wild One'

     Warhol dominated the field with eight lots. A spare black
1966 silkscreen ``Double Marlon,'' using a film still from Marlon
Brando's bad-boy ``Wild One'' film, fetched $32.5 million, more
than a $30 million estimate. In 1992, the work sold for $935,000
at Sotheby's in New York.
     San Francisco film producer and punk rocker Henry S.
Rosenthal sold a 1962 Warhol ``Campbell's Soup Can (Pepper
Pot),'' which he said his father bought in 1962 for a few hundred
dollars. For the last 30 years, the painting has hung in
Rosenthal's warehouse in San Francisco's skid row. Last night, it
fetched $7.1 million.
     ``It was a difficult decision to sell,'' said Rosenthal, 53.
``But as the painting became absurdly valuable, it became more
nerve-wracking to keep it.''
     Gerhard Richter's 1987 riff on abstraction, the yellow, blue
and red ``Abstraktes Bild (625)'' sold for $14.6 million. The 13-
foot-wide canvas fetched $3.4 million five years ago at
Christie's in New York.
     ``There is no recession in the art market,'' said Norman Rau,
collector and president of Sandusky Radio. ``I wish traditional
media was this good.''
     Last week, Christie's and Sotheby's held impressionist and
modern art auctions. Overall the two weeks of sales were
projected to total up to $1.8 billion.
     Sale prices include a buyer's commission of 25 percent of
the hammer price up to $20,000, 20 percent of the price from
$20,000 to $500,000, and 12 percent above $500,000. Estimates do
not include commissions.

May 13, 2008

Benefits Supervisor Sleeping by Lucian Freud... the poster child for Art Excess ?

So.. the Spring Contemporary Auctions are about to begin.. and the biggest question in what's left of MAO's mind.. is : Will "Benefits Supervisor Sleeping" by Lucian Freud...become the new poster child for Art Excess in 2008 ?

Tonight at 8pm.. we will know the answer! Christies Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale. We checked out the painting first hand.. It's big and it's beautiful..and it's nothing but flesh!

Lucian_freid_benefits_supervisor_sl Lot 37, Lucian Freud (b. 1922)
Benefits Supervisor Sleeping
oil on canvas
59 5/8 x 86¼ in. (151.3 x 219 cm.)
Painted in 1995

This heavyweight painting with a huge pre-sale estimate of $25,000,000 to $35,000,000, has the potential to break the all time record for the highest price ever paid at auction for a living artist's work, crushing the Jeff Koons' Hanging Heart which currently holds the insane record at $23,500,000. Now that's PHAT!

Go Lucian go!

Here's a story in the Telegraph with some more details about this curvaceous painting.

May 07, 2008

Christies Impressionist Auction Total falls Below the Low end of the range

It's HAMMER Time in NYC my little MOA-ettes!

Sadly.. last night Christies first attempt didn't do so well with their big Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale.

Of the significantly pair back auction of only 58 Lots.. 14 failed to find a buyer. Ouch! A 24% failure rate! Not good!

Several Picasso's, a Monet, a Matisse, and even a  Gauguin (pre-sale est $4 to $6 million) which was stated in the catalog as "The appearance of Gauguin's Le rêve, moe moea in this sale is a most fortuitous event." all went unsold.

Giacometti_femme_debout_ii One of the only successful lots of the auction was the amazing 8+ feet tall, Alberto Giacometti, Grande femme debout II sculpture.. which sold for a record $27,481,000. Nice!!

So.. maybe Impressionist art is just way out of favor with the billionaire jet set. MAO remembers the last round of super high end impressionist and modern sales last fall in London which also failed to meet expectations... but the following Contemporary Art auctions still managed to go reasonably well.

I feel a cold breeze... but we shall see next week!!

Here's some additional commentary from Lindsay Pollock and Philip Boroff at Bloomberg news..

    May 7 (Bloomberg) -- Monet and Rodin failed to prevent
Christie's International from missing its low estimate for an
evening impressionist and modern art auction for the first time
in four years.
     Last night's sale in New York totaled $277.3 million as 14
of the 58 lots failed to find buyers. The auction had been
projected to tally $287 million to $405 million. Europeans,
taking advantage of a weaker dollar, bought more than half the
lots, while U.S. buyers took 32 percent, compared with almost
half at the previous impressionist sale in November.
     The result suggests that at least $318 billion of credit
losses and writedowns at banks, a slump in the U.S. currency and
a dip in global equity markets may have slowed the international
art market.
     ``It's a rational market that is slightly more rational
than the last go-around,'' said John Good, a director of
Gagosian Gallery.
     Christie's said last night's total was still its third-
highest for the category. The top lot was a $41.5 million
cerulean blue painting by Claude Monet, showing an iron railway
bridge over the Seine, near Paris. Christie's estimated that
``Le Pont du Chemin de Fer a Argenteuil'' would fetch about $40
million. An anonymous phone bidder set a record for the artist,
outspending the previous high set last year by about $5 million.
     The seller was the Nahmad art-dealing family, which bought
the work for $12.4 million at Christie's in 1988.

                         Monet Lilies

     ``I'm very happy,'' patriarch David Nahmad said, standing
in the crowded aisle of the Rockefeller Center salesroom after
the auction. He was outbid for the evening's second-priciest
Monet, the 1908 ``Nympheas,'' which fetched $11.7 million.
     The evening's rejects included a garishly colored Venetian
vista by Monet, estimated at up to $12 million; a tepid Van Gogh
landscape, with a high estimate of $16 million; and a portrait
of a chubby nude maiden by Renoir with a $5 million to $7
million range.
     A dearth of museum-quality impressionist and modern
paintings shifted the focus to sculpture, which accounted for 3
of the top 10 lots.
     Alberto Giacometti's 1960 ``Grand Femme Debout II,'' a 9-
foot-tall bronze of a woman, fetched an artist record $27.5
million, well above the $18 million estimate. The winning bidder
was Gagosian Gallery, which declined to comment on the purchase.
The artwork was one of five abstract forms in plaster and bronze
by postwar Swiss sculptor Giacometti. Sotheby's offers another
six Giacomettis tonight.


     ``Grand Femme'' is an attenuated female figure, with a tiny
Kate Moss-like waist and stick-like arms. It was originally a
commission for Chase Manhattan Bank's Wall Street headquarters.
Giacometti didn't visit the site, or New York, and the work was
never installed there.
     French sculptor Auguste Rodin also smashed records with his
1897 bronze ``Eve,'' estimated to sell for $9 million to $12
million. It fetched $19 million.
     The anonymous seller acquired the sculpture for $4.8
million at Christie's in New York in 1999 and displayed the work
outdoors. Eve has muscular crossed arms and her graceful head is
tucked in shame.
     Sale prices include a buyer's commission of 25 percent of
the hammer price up to $20,000, 20 percent of the price from
$20,000 to $500,000 and 12 percent above $500,000. Estimates do
not include commissions.
     Christie's sold $395 million of impressionist and modern
art at its November sale in New York. The dollar is down more
than 12 percent against the euro in the past year and reached a
record low of $1.6019 per euro on April 22.

     (Lindsay Pollock and Philip Boroff write on the arts for
Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are their own.)

April 19, 2008

Paul Evans and George Nakashima.. now Co-Kings of Modern American Furniture Design

The collecting world wakes up to the amazing furniture of Paul Evans.

Paul_evans_bronz_sculpturedfrontcab For the last several years.. collectors not MAO have been falling all over themselves pushing up the prices of George Nakashima furniture.  Even books on Nakashima are hard to find.
And, if you've ever seen one of his natural wood tables.. you know, his furniture is amazing.

But the work of Nakashima's New Hope Pennsylvania contemporary, furniture maker Paul Evans..had never managed to get as much attention or demand the same sky high  from the design collecting elite. Well..that was until last weekend. 

This time, we saw jaws drop, tongues wagged, and auction records shattered..as collectors clamored to buy the several beautiful lots of Paul Evans bronze work for sale from the Sollo Rago Auction house this past weekend.

We've blogged about Paul Evens works before, but, some of these were the most amazing pieces of modern American furniture Dr. Quiz and MAO have ever seen. The bidding wars were intense insane cause MAO got outbid on everything!

We hope, this one Paul Evans cabinet (shown here),  went to the MAO collection a major American museum, because we've never seen a finer example.

Lot 100, Paul Evans, Sculpture Front Cabinet...Pre-Sale Estimate, $80,000 - $120,000... Actual Total Sale Price : $ 228,000.

(photo : PAUL EVANS Two-door vertical Sculpture Front cabinet, vibrantly painted with edges trimmed in 23K gold-leaf, the red-washed interior with three gold-leaf drawers and numerous compartments, 1972. (From the collection of Dorsey Reading.) Signed Paul Evans '72 D. 82" x 36" x 20" )

Now if only someone would publish a book on Paul Evans work..since we don't know of any yet!!

April 08, 2008

Phillips Cancels tonights historic Diane Arbus Auction

In a surprise move, Phillips de Pury & Co. which had a huge historically important 100% Diane Arbus sale of the Hubert Museum work, scheduled for tonight... abruptly canceled it this morning.

They have announced the entire collection will be sold privately.  Hopefully, this means, that all of these amazing historic images will all go to a Diane_arbus_hurbert_museumpublic institution..instead of being broken up and sold on the auction block....never to be seen together again. Maybe the Met.. which already owns the entire Diane Arbus Archive will buy it!

The canceled auction had consisted of 20 vintage Diane Arbus photographs, many which were thought to be totally unique. These photographs were of a Times Square private freak side show, known as the Hubert Museum.  These  photo's were a classic photographic treasure trove of unknown Arbus work.. and these were almost found accidentally.  Actually the story of this portfolio's finding is almost as interesting as the images themselves. Here's a story about this collection of images...

Sadly..they've already taken down the images and the story details from the Phillips Website..but the single catalog of just this Diane Arbus Portfolio is still available.. and a must have for any Arbus Obsessed photo collector. (Photo by Diane Arbus, Hubert Museum, auction catalog cover image)

Here's the Phillips press release..


NewYork – April 8 – A rare and important collection of early photographs by DianeArbus chronicling life at Hubert's Museum, the legendary dime museum in Times Square, New York is to be sold privately by Phillips de Pury & Company

The collection composed of over 20 vintage prints and selection of the museum's archive was scheduled to be sold at auction in an evening sale tonight at the company's Chelsea galleries. Instead, the works will be sold privately and the spring Photographs auctions will commence tomorrow morning, April 9 with the 10am sale of the Corbeau et Renard Collection,Assembled by Gerd Sander to be followed by the various owner Photographs sale at 2pm

March 24, 2008

Christies Photography Book Auction.. Thursday April 10th.. With prices not to be believed!

Christies Important Photography Book Auction.. April 10th.

One of MAO's many obsessions.. is collecting first edition signed photography monographs. And while there are tons of Contemporary Art and Photography auctions coming soon to be very worried blog about, it's important to see a major auction house conducting one of their first significant Photographic Art Book Auctions. We at MAO think photo monographs are one of the only few undervalued art collectibles out there.. and this Christies auction will mark a milestone for the art world.

Just a few reasons to pay-attention to collecting Photo books...

  1. Early want-to-be art collector, since the can't afford the actual photographic art works.. an easy and interesting compromise is to collect the photo books. They are cheap (most are only $25 to $50), and if you go to a book signing.. you can get them signed for free!! YEA!!
  2. Over the last few years, as art book publishing has become a totally money loosing business.. Many publishers are gone, and collectors have realized.. these photo books are hard to get, and undervalued.
  3. The world is going totally digital, and electronic/on-line books are going to become the norm.
  4. Artists first books are frequently small editions, represent the artists most important work. Many of these monographs have gotten destroyed as general circulation copies at public libraries, and coffee table books. Hence artist signed first edition books in good condition have become very rare.
  5. The artist monograph is an important part of art history, it allows you to see the artists full vision, and comprehend a total artistic project.
  6. Photo books frequently force artists to edit their photographic material to their strongest images.
  7. Most used book stores are long gone.. So there are actually only a few places to even buy these old monographs. Hence Christies has begun to enter the photography book auction business.

It looks like some huge records are about to be set.. it's a very high quality Photo book auction coming up at Christies on April 10th. Some of the MAO highlights are :

Cartier_bresson_decisive_moment So, it will be interesting to see if any of these lots go for such sky high prices.. many of these book could have been purchases as recent as 2 years ago.. for almost nothing..

But the catalog essay by Andrew Roth, astutely points out..

"... this is the first major collection offered at public auction, and at present there isn't a significant public holding of inscribed or association copies of rare photobooks in the US."

(photo of CARTIER-BRESSON, Henri. The Decisive Moment. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1952. Folio (14.25 x 10.5 inches), original boards, original dust jacket)

So what do you think... Time to buy?

March 06, 2008

Art Report Says 60% of February Sale Lots Missed Estimate

Well... there's been some record art sales going on in London the last few days... and while to the total Jill_greenberg_deniability sales dollars might be bigger then ever.. prices are really starting to show some real scary weakness. Could this huge art party really be over??

Here's a story today by Scott Reyburn from bloomberg news... (photo added by MAO.. photo created by Jill Greenberg, "Deniability, 2005" )

U.K Art Report Says 60% of February Sale Lots Missed Estimate

2008-03-06 01:05 (New York) By Scott Reyburn

March 6 (Bloomberg) -- About 60 percent of lots in a record series of contemporary-art auctions in London failed to achieve expected prices, according to research company ArtTactic.

The evening sales at Christie's International, Sotheby's and Phillips de Pury & Co. raised 189.8 million pounds ($378.4

million) in February, the most for a series of contemporary sales in the British capital.

According to London-based ArtTactic's March ``Rawfacts''

bulletin, published today, most items sold for bids (or were left

unsold) below or at the lower end of their catalog estimates, indicating that sellers and auction houses' expectations were not being met. These bid prices did not include auction-house fees, ArtTactic said.

ArtTactic's Managing Director Anders Petterson said that 73 percent of works at Christie's Feb. 6 evening auction failed to achieve mid-estimate prices. The equivalent contemporary-art sales at Sotheby's and Phillips de Pury on Feb. 27 and Feb. 28 saw 61 percent and 53 percent of lots, respectively, unable to attract mid-estimate bidding.

``The auction houses are continually raising the stakes at the top end of the market,'' said Petterson. ``But this masks how demand is slowing in the middle. Auction valuations of contemporary art are now out of synch with demand.''

Petterson, a former JPMorgan Chase & Co. bond trader who founded ArtTactic in 2001, said a majority of the lots at Sotheby's, Christie's and Phillips de Pury's evening auctions of contemporary art in London and New York has been failing to achieve mid-estimate prices since October 2007.

Bacon Sales

ArtTactic said 10 lots accounted for 70 percent of the total of sales at both Christie's and Sotheby's, where Francis Bacon paintings sold for 26.3 million pounds and 20 million pounds, respectively.

Sotheby's total of 95 million pounds with fees was a record for any contemporary-art sale held in Europe, the auction house said.

In total, including the 4.4 million pounds with fees achieved at Phillips's Feb. 29 day sale, Sotheby's, Christie's and Phillips de Pury took 250.1 million pounds with fees for their February auctions of contemporary art. This was a record for a London series of sales, representing a 59 percent increase on February 2007.

``There's a huge difference in price between the best and the very good,'' said Cheyenne Westphal, chairman of contemporary art, in an interview after Sotheby's sale.

Westphal said there are 26 other versions of the 1983 Gerhard Richter ``Kerze (Candle)'' painting that sold for a quadruple-estimate 8 million pounds, setting a record for the artist, according to the auction result tracker, Artnet.

``The problem for the auction houses is that they have to find these masterpieces for every sale,'' said Petterson. ``From what we're hearing from dealers, things are slower. From now on, every auction is going to be a test of the market.''

(Scott Reyburn writes about the art market for Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are his own.)

February 25, 2008

New Online Art Auction Tools..Artnet and AuctionBlip

In a world where the big art auction houses are jacking up to 25% their auction buyers premiums... Gavel_fight There's now a new on-line art auction competitor to the big guys..YEA!  The internet art powerhouse, ArtNet.com has launched a new web based auction service... and bidding starts today! It will be interesting to see if a pure web-based high end art auction site can succeed and take market share when Sotheby's.com couldn't make a go of it.. and shut their web-auctions all down with big losses a few years ago.

Check it out <click here..> They have 24 works up for auction by  artists, including Todd's favorite artist Gregory Crewdson, plus top priced works by.. Massimo Vitali, Louis Nevelson, Andy Warhol, and Alexander Calder.  Some other the interesting benefits from ArtNet.com are..

  • No buyer's premium
  • Each seller is authorized and registered (which sounds like these are mostly art dealers dumping moving inventory..it's not clear if private individuals can list items for sale as well)
  • There are listing fees ($25 per item) and the sellers pay only a 10% commission
  • ArtNet.com has linked in tons of sales history, performance charts, and other ArtNet inventory prices relating to the work...very cool!
  • Credit Card payments are allowed (with a 3% fee)
  • If you buy an item that is not delivered as indicated in the description, the sale can be rescinded and your purchase price refunded

There's also a new on-line Auction service we found a few weeks ago... AuctionBlip.com

This is a very cool website, which gives the user advance notice of auctions around the world.

The user just provides a list of "Key Words" that interests you, and you get daily listings (with links) of any items coming up for auction that fit your list. They search over 50 different auction companies.

For example.. a recent search for artist Andy Warhol.. found well over 10 auction listings... and that didn't include Sotheby's or Christies.

Oh.. and one last thing.. Don't forget about good old iGavel.com.. they have a new photography auction coming up.. another place to get a great auction deal!!

February 06, 2008

24% goes unsold at Christies Impressionist & Modern Sale in London

This Blog is starting to sound like a bad country western song... If it weren't for bad news there would be no news at all.

Basquiat_palm_springs_jump_1982 So it sounds like even with the strong British Pound and the even stronger Euro.. people still didn't buy at this weeks Christies big Impressionist and modern Art sale.  24% went unsold, and many lots selling at the low end or even below the pre-sale estimates. Yikes!

Which doesn't bode well for tonight's Contemporary sale. aka..the big art crash of 2008.  (photo Sale 7565, Lot 9, Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) Palm Springs Jumpsigned, titled and dated ‘“PALM SPRINGS JUMP” JeanMichelB 1982’ acrylic, oilstick and gold paint on canvas, 72 x 84 in.Executed in 1982, Estimate on request)

Here's some more details of the bad news by Linda Sandler and Lindsay Pollock of Bloomberg news..


Christie's Fails to Sell 24% of Art as Many U.S. Buyers Retreat, 2008-02-05 11:47 (New York)
     Feb. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Christie's International failed to
sell 24 percent of the art at a London auction last night as U.S.
buyers retreated in the wake of losses in the credit and equity
     Christie's, which vies with Sotheby's to be the largest
auction house, sold 76 percent of the impressionist and modern
art lots, down from 81 percent at its November sale. Collectors
in the Americas took 15 percent of the items; they took home
about half of the sale at Christie's in November.
     The supply of U.S. buyers appears to be shrinking amid the
worst housing slump in a quarter-century, with fallout spreading
through the economy, hurting builders, retailers, wholesalers,
buyout funds and mortgage lenders.
     ``The average rich aren't rich anymore,'' said Asher
Edelman, a former Wall Street raider who is a private art dealer.
``The average rich are probably the guys who buy everything
except the top-priced lots.''
     Writedowns at banks and declines in real-estate values have
knocked out many buyers for less expensive works. Bankers and
brokers aren't getting bonuses, and the value of developers'
properties is declining, Edelman said. Delinquencies on home
loans have surged to record rates, leading to $133 billion in
writedowns and credit losses at the world's biggest banks and
securities firms in the past year.
     Prices for modern artworks including Pablo Picasso have
risen 2.5 times since 2002, according to Art Market Research's
index of the central 50 percent of works. The same index more
than halved after the 1990 art-market crash and stayed down
through 2002 before starting to climb again.

                          Trouble Selling

     The most desired works continue to appreciate. A Picasso
painting of his mistress Dora Maar took 5.7 million pounds ($11.2
million) with commission last night, after failing to sell in
2002 at a low estimate of $4 million.
     Still, a five-foot-high Picasso canvas of a man with a rifle
sold near its low estimate before commission, taking 5.6 million
pounds. Among the top 10 most expensive lots, works by Juan Gris,
Henri Matisse and Paul Signac sold near their low estimates.
     The auction results indicate that sellers are having a
harder time monetizing their collections. Three out of nine works
from the collection of Maurice Wohl, a U.K. office developer and
Israel backer, didn't sell. One of his paintings, a 1910 Kees van
Dongen oil of an exotic dancer, took a record 5.6 million pounds.

November 16, 2007

Paul Evans Furniture sells well at Sotheby's

With contemporary art prices soring out of control this week.. it probably went almost totally unnoticed that at today's Sotheby's Design auction.. one of MAO's favorite furniture loves, had a piece sell for a shocking amount of money.

Lot 80, Paul Evans, This small 1960 cabinet sold for $157,000 (including the auction house premium)

Paul_evans_at_sothebys A Very beautiful piece of 1960's furniture.. with an equally beautiful price tag!

But Dr. Quiz, and MAO got into quite a debate the other night...

The Quiz-ling asked.. Should Modern Furniture like this be selling for these crazy prices??

And my thought was.. could MAO name 10 well known (household names) designers in the world of Modern American Furniture...??

The answer was sadly no!

We came up with..

Nakashima, Eames, Kagan, Evans, ...  Esherick, ahm... maybe Niemeyer, Stark, Arad, um.. mmmm.. aa..

So, we guessed ..if a silly old, Blue and Orange Rothko can sell for a gazillion dollars..!! Maybe these modern design masters are still under valued?? Hmmm.... Maybe?? What do you think?

Also, if you're in The City, and are all Contemporary Art-ed out... be sure to check out The Modernism Fair this weekend at the Armory on 67th street and Park Ave...It might be a great place to find some under valued treasures!!

November 16 - 19, 2007

noon - 8pm
11am - 7pm
noon - 7pm
11am - 5pm

November 14, 2007

The Contemporary Sky isn't falling....YET!

So last night's Christies Sale went very well.

Henny_penny 12 New insane records broken for several big name artists...

Here's a recap from bloomberg news...

Download Christies_contemporary_sale.txt

Even Sotheby's Stock is bouncing dead cat up 10% this morning...

So now let's see how all the mid-priced lots go.... keep your fingers crossed!

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!

November 01, 2007

A Photography Auction Secret!!

There's a cool new photo auction up on IGAVEL.COM.

Actually, We're almost hesitant to even tell people about this one.. cause our greedy self we would rather keep this gem all to ourself!! So if anyone sees MAO bidding.. You all have to promise, DON'T BID against MAO!! THANKS.

So..It's smaller than Sothebys, Christies and Phillips but this up and coming photo auction is run by the almost too honest to be a NYC art dealer a real photo pro and ex-sothebys specialist Daniel Cooney Fine Art

This time Dan's put together a very high quality sale of 124 lots.. photo's include work by : Lewis Hine, Alfred Stieglitz, Diane Arbus, Sally Mann, Joel Peter Witkin, Walker Evans, Esther Bubley, Man Ray, Bert Stern, Todd Webb, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Peter Beard, Gregory Crewdson, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Danny Lyon, Larry Fink, Arthur Tress, and John Dugdale just to name drop a few!
Wow!! That's one impressive list!! And many of them will sell for some really low prices.

Some of these lots have sweet low reserve levels, there's even several lots with starting bids of $200!

There's also a few lots of hard to find photo books... FYI...they are the next hot art collectible!!

Arthur_tress_bride_groom  (photo..by Arthur Tress, its a lot of 11 Platinum Prints..Item auction lot #891521)

So, you have a few (12) days left to go and inspect the lots before bidding.  They are all at a gallery in Chelsea :

Daniel Cooney Fine Art
                  511 West 25th Street
                  New York, NY 10001
                  212 255 8158
[email protected]

Oh.. and FYI.. if you meet Dan.. Please tell him Mike at MAO sent you.. I hear he gives all the smart MAO readers a special auction discount catalogue!!

October 21, 2007

Photography Auctions... treding water...??

So... last week while the Stock market was crashing falling... The major NYC auction houses held their fall photo auctions.

We're sad to say.. MAO bought noting!! Maybe, restraint is the better part of valor!!

So, There were some stupid high prices, as well as some bargains. It was also nice to see some MAO favorite artists work being well bid by wise collectors.

Strong results were all observed for.. Larry Clark (a Tulsa portfolio sold for $66k), Andre Kertesz, Herb Ritts, Abe Morell, Robert Mapplethrope, Matthew Pillsbury, Alec Soth, Massimo Vitali, and Nan Goldin.

Diane_arbus_the_king_and_queens_of_ Also noticeable...

The regular food fight bidding on work by Robert Frank, Richard Misrach, Gregory Crewdson,

and Diane Arbus (photo 1, Lot 95, Diane Arbus, The King and Queen of a Senior Citizens Dance, NYC, 1970.. sold for $36k) works..

seemed a bit less over heated.

Well..it's about time!!

But no NYC art auction would be complete without it's stupid high bids. It would

seem Irving Penn work still manages to sell at crazy high prices Lot 136 sold for $102,000...

Loretta_lux_girl_with_crossed_arms_ As did a small Loretta Lux..which just sold at the shocking price of $36,000 (photo #2, Lot 210, Loretta Lux, Girl with Crossed Arms, 2001),

also, 2 Ruud Van Empel's (one sold for a whopping $45,600),

Cindy Sherman ($300,000), and a

Hiroshi Sugimoto ($336,000).

It was also curious to note, the "Buy-In rate", the lots that didn't make it to the minimum bid.. was a bit higher than last year... almost 21% at Phillips.

Hmm signs of the market cracking..? Maybe?

or have collectors finally come to their senses and stopped buying just any old crap all the brand new untested art the auction houses keep putting up on the block?   

September 13, 2007

September Contemporary Auction Results.. no sign of trouble!!

We were just totally crushed out bid on a lot at today's Sotheby Contemporary Art Auction...

Don't all those silly bidders know we're in the middle of a MAJOR Financial Crisis???

With tons of people getting fired, home prices tumbling nationwide, seasoned trader loosing their shirts, investment bankers choking on bad leveraged loans and almost every hedge fund whiz kid out there getting wiped out!! you'd think art auction prices would not be jumping up!! guess not !!

So the Christies First Open sale..seems to have gone OK..$12.2 Million with the High Estimate at $12.6 million. Well.. here's a story by Lindsay Pollock from Bloomberg News. Download Christies_first open_Sept07

But DAMN!! The Paddles were flying in the air today at Sotheys too... Calder, Warhol, Haring, Katz and Basquiat all..selling for huge money!!

But there were some true shockers at todays sale...check these out!! Will the money madness ever end???

Allen_darcangelo_smoke_dream Lot 316..ALLAN D'ARCANGELO B.1930
SMOKE DREAM #2 signed,

titled and dated NYC 1963 on the reverse, oil on canvas, 30 x 28 inches.

8,000—12,000 USD
Lot Sold. 

Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium:  $289,000 USD

But the truly outright stupid ridiculous sale of the year..

goes hands down to this one...

George_rodrigue_blue_dog_with_candl Lot 353a...GEORGE RODRIGUE, B. 1944

signed; signed, titled and dated 2000 on the reverse

acrylic and oil on canvas 48 x 36 inches.

60,000—80,000 USD
Lot Sold. 

Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium:

$115,000 USD !!!

All I can say..

P.T. Barnum would have been proud!!

It's just amazing to think someone with $115,000 bucks to burn can have such bad taste advise .. and doesn't have at least one friend to talk them out of buying a blue dog!!

July 26, 2007

There's only one thing better than Photography Auctions...

There's only one thing MAO likes better than Photography Auctions.. and that would be Photography Auction House Gossip!! Oh.. no.. she.. didn't...!! Ooooh Yes...she did!

Lee_friedlander_revolving_doorOK..my little MAO-Gossip-ettes..
We have it on very reliable sources....
That both Phillips de Pury & Company super bright Photography Art Auction Experts,  Rick Wester and Lisa Newlin Galeano have  left the auction house.

We know this since we've recently called to talk to them.. and no one was there.. plus their names have been removed from the Phillips de Pury % Co Photography Department website..

It would seem.. Charlie Scheips who? is now their Worldwide Director and recent hire (ex..Charles Cowles Gallery Photo Dept manager) Joseph Kraeutler has been now promoted to the Director in New York.

The Phillips de Pury photography department has been truly one of MAO's auction favorites in NYC.. they have always been helpful, abnormally friendly, and clearly a force to be reckoned with. (photo by Lee Friedlander, Revolving Door)

We haven't heard where either Rick or Lisa maybe going.. but their departure from Phillips will be surely missed.   We at MAO wish both Rick and Lisa all the best in their next endeavor.  Let's hope the new directors at Phillips can continue the high quality photo auction program we have grown to know and love.

March 29, 2007

Phillips : 27 Exceptional Photographs Auction

We got an invitation to the preview party for the Phillips : 27 Exceptional Photographs sale in the mail yesterday. Our first thought...

Have the pickings become so god dam slim in the world of Art photography that all they could come up with was 27 "exceptional" photos?  Yikes!

What's even more depressing.. We looked at their website.. to see how "exceptional" these photos are... and we can honestly say.. while they were all very nice, there were only 4 or 5 we'd even consider truly exceptional. Wow.. It's such a sellers market in the world of Art Photography.

Abdre_kertesz_meudon_1928 Here's our top pick (photo #1)...A true vintage, Andre Kertesz Iconic image, in a decent size 10x7" (most vintage Kertesz works are the size of a postage stamp), and from a great provenance.


Meudon, 1928
Gelatin silver print, printed 1928-1935. 9 3/8 x 6 15/16 in. (23.8 x 17.6 cm).  Titled by the artist in pencil, '32 bis, Rue du Contentin, Paris XV' copyright credit stamp, Société Paris - Publications reproduction tax receipt stamp with 50c tax stamp affixed to the verso.

Estimate: $300,000-500,000
By the way.. Moudon... is a region/municipality in the southwestern suburbs of Paris.
This image has been on the cover of a few books, and used as the marquee image for several worlwide shows on Kertesz.
We're sure they'll have no trouble finding a buyer well above this estimate. Let the games begin!

The Auction is on April 24th at 7pm, and for those who want free drinks on Phillips, the preview party is on Thursday April 12th from 7 to 9pm. See you there!

Oh.. by the way.. Phillips is also having a second Auction of Non-Exceptional Photographs the following day, April 25th, at 10am and 2pm.

March 09, 2007

So Much For the American Art Expert Estimates ?

Well...my little MAOettes... it would seem several, would be American Art Collectors read MAO's wise advise yesterday.. and were waving their little opportunistic paddles in the air at the Sotheby's American Art Auction.

Sanford_gifford_san_giorgio_venice (Photo #1 Lot 61, Sanford Gifford, San Giorgio, Venice 1870, 26 3/8 by 52 3/8 in, oil on canvas)

Every item we highlighted as looking like good relative value vs. the insane prices of Contemporary Art today, sold for a shitload "just a bit" more than the Sotheby's "Experts" had initially suggested. 

Actually, their pre-sale estimates were so far off.. It just make us think..... were these "Experts" just completely clueless uninformed about the huge demand for these American Painters work, or were they intentionally putting out very low pre-sale estimates in order to attract the attention of many opportunistic non-American Art Specific collectors... it's not clear.

Ludwig_bemelmans_little_madeline_in_bed What do you think..Are these "Experts" Clueless... or Very Art Marketing Savvy?

(Photo #2, Lot 176, Ludwig Bemelmans, Little Madilne Sat in Bed, Cried and Cried, Her Eyes Were Red, 17.75 by 14.25 in, watercolor and ink on paper)

Anyway..here are the results of a few of the MAO favorites...Americanart_auction_results_march07

Sadly, we at MAO didn't buy anything..Grrrr!! There were just throngs of people bidding on everything in sight.

The $192,000 dollars paid for that tiny, 8 x 10 inch, Thomas Hart Benton painting was a real shock!

So actually some of these prices look pretty high..  Hmm... Maybe that huge, edition of 6, Candida Hofer photograph wasn't such a bad buy after all !!

March 08, 2007

An American Art Auction at Sotheby's Today

So maybe we've gone completely MAD here at MAO, or maybe the effects of the Contemporary Art Cool-Aid we were drinking last week at the  Armory show finally wore off.. but some of these American Art Auction pre-sale price estimates at todays Sotheby's auction look very low compared to recent absurd Contemporary Art prices.

Milton_avery_portrait_of_jane_kootz After going  weeks at only seeing still wet new paintings by 25 year old MFA grads being sold by trendy art dealers named Zach or Oliver over the local taxi garages of Chelsea for $30,000, we were a little shocked by the low estimates during this auction preview.

The auction is today at 2pm, at Sothebys, and they have some real gems at very reasonable estimates. Take a look at these 2 examples.

Lot 14. Milton Avery, 1885-1965, PORTRAIT OF JANE KOOTZ 1944, 24 x 18 inches, Oil on Canvas Board, $ 10,000—15,000 USD (Photo #1)

Thomas_hart_benton_journeys_end Lot 19. THOMAS HART BENTON  1889-1975, JOURNEY'S END, 8 x 10 inches, Oil on Canvas Board, $ 20,000—30,000 USD (Photo #2)

This Southey's auction also includes a cool Marsden Hartley drawing for $4,000 to 6,000, a beautiful Paul Cadmus drawing for $6,000 to 9,000, and then there's even some amazing Hudson River School paintings (Just one example by Sanford Gifford) with estimates of $25,000 to $45,000.. seems like good relative value.. no?

But then again, who'd ever want one of these old dead artist works, when you could buy a big editioned photo, numbered 1 of 6, by Candida Hofer for twice the money!! Crazy...NO?

Oh.. and by the way.. for those still completely addicted to over priced Contemporary Art, there's this cool new Pictures of Pigment Series by Vik Muniz, After Cezanne print now available from the Lambert Collection for sale for only 2,500 Euro's. Very nice.. we at MAO already bought one... And a big MAO thanks to new blogger David Greenblatt for pointing this sweet deal out.

March 01, 2007

Phillips Contemporary Department Taking on the Big Guys

Phillips_takes_on_sothebys_and_christies So.. given the recent bidding frenzy at this weeks Contemporary Art Auctions and the hordes of crazy people buying everything in site at the NYC art fairs, clearly the challenge for these auction houses is finding people willing to sell anything Contemporary.

So it's no surprise to see our enterprising contemporary expert pals over at Phillips & Co, Michael McGinnes.. sent us an interesting letter with the following opening paragraph...

Phillips Contemporary is now accepting consignments for our upcoming May 17th and 18th sales of contemporary art in New York as well as our June 22nd sale of contemporary art in London.  We are seeking strong examples of work from Post War to Cutting Edge and providing advantageous consignment terms to ensure the strength and balance of material included in each sale.

We just find it amusing to see every auction house ripping off  increasing their fees charged to the buyers.. and now also competitively cutting their fee agreements with the sellers.

Well.. As they've said for the last 10 years in the US Real Estate world......

Its a SELLERS Market !!

February 15, 2007

NY Photo Auction Dementia

Well.. MAO readers.. Either someone just switch my multi-vitamins for some of Dr.Quiz's back vitamins..(aka.. 600mg Tramdol) .. or did people just get way carried away at yesterday's Christies Photo auction and over pay by a few miles??

Klein_piazza_di_spagna_rome_vogue_1960 Lot 59, WILLIAM KLEIN (b. 1962)
Piazza di Spagna, Rome, Vogue, 1960 gelatin silver print, printed later
This Non-Vintage, Non-Editioned William Klein image just sold for a total cost of $48,000

I believe it can be had at almost any photo art fair for about $4,000 to $5,000..from any one of 10 "respectable" photo dealers.

Yes...it's a pretty William Klein photo.. it was on the cover of the auction catalog.. but at $48,000... IMO, someone is just burning their money!

Also, to be filed under the category of what in the world are these stupid people smoking thinking..

Lot 122.. IRVING PENN (b. 1917)
Vogue, Fashion Photograph (Café in Lima), Peru, 1948
gelatin silver print, printed 1984 signed, titled, dated in ink, 'Penn/Condé Nast' copyright credit reproduction limitation and edition stamps (on the reverse of the mount). One from an edition of 25. 19 1/8 x 18½in. (48.6 x 47cm.)

Irvingpenn_cafe_in_lima_vogue So, some obsessed fashion photo bidder paid $132,000 for this Irving Penn, sliver print.. also NON-Vintage, printed in the 1980's in an edition of 25. 

I think there's also a platinum edition of 25 out there as well.. plus this artist is still alive.. and still printing and signing, and printing and signing AP's..

Why do people get SO crazy at auction?

Maybe they've been taking lots of Dr. Quiz's back vitimins!

Will this Auction madness ever end?

FYI.. next week is the first of the NYC spring season Contemporary art auctions..so stay tuned.. for some real crazy money madness!

January 18, 2007

Sothebys...Stealing from the Rich.. to make themselves Richer!!

Bad news fellow Art Collectors.....Sotheby's has raised their commission rates they charge art buyers...grrrrrr!

Fat_pigIt's a clear sign the art market it just too fat and greedy good.

Sotheby's has raised the commission rate (buyer's premium) which was 20% on the first $200,000, and then 12% on the balance, to 20% on the first $500,000, and then 12%.

So that is the equivalent to an increase of $24,000 additional commission on an item with a selling price of $500,000. Ouch!

So?? Christies?? Are they going to raise their rates as well??

Overall it's pretty offensive given these 2 companies have an oligopoly been posting record earnings the last few years.. plus the level of customer service is such a total joke. Here's a Bloomberg News story written by Lindsay Pollock Download Sothebys_Gouge_ArtCollectors.htm

November 13, 2006

Marilyns, and Jackies and Maos.... OH MY!!

Warhol_marilyn_at_christies It's total Art Auction Mania in NYC this week.. the herds of sheep crowds at Sothebys Contemporary Art Preview this Sunday afternoon were insane. In total there's almost $80 Million worth of inflated Warhol Marilyns, Jackies and Mao's being dumped on the auction block this week.

(Photo Example : Warhol's, Orange Marilyn, from Christies Lot 32, Estimate $10 to 15 Million)

Here is Bloomberg's Linda Sandler auction preview..

Download Bloomberg_Nov06Auction.txt,

It's filled with some "outstanding" quotes,
but these two were truly too stupid close to the modern art obsessed heart..so we have to single them out...

``Warhol is like Microsoft,'' said New York private dealer Alberto Mugrabi

- Sotheby's has a small Mao image from David Whitney's collection at a $350,000 top estimate on Nov. 16 that ``could bring $1 million in this current wacky atmosphere,'' Richard Polsky said. ``The whole Mao thing is wild.''

Well..there you go, a Nov'06 MAO Quiz guess from the man who butchered wrote.. I Bought Andy Warhol.

So post your bid soon!! There's only a few days left!

November 08, 2006

Art Photography Auction Opportunity!!

So.. If you've looked though the big Contemporary Auctions Catalogs.. and been depressed by all the stupid, sky high price estimates.... If you happen NOT to have a few extra million bucks to buy a cool Andy Warhol MAO image...  If like me, you were robbed out bid by all the insane crazy aggressive bidding at the recent NYC Photography auctions. Then there's an art photography alternative auction well worth checking out. 

Actually, I'm almost hesitant to even tell people about this one.. cause my greedy self I would rather keep this gem all to myself!! So if anyone sees me bidding.. You have to promise, DON'T BID against ME!! THANKS.

Georgeplattlynes_fashionimage So..It's a bit smaller than Sothebys, Christies and Phillips but this up and coming photo auction is run by the almost too honest to be a NYC art dealer a real photo pro and ex-sothebys specialist Daniel Cooney Fine Art

This time Dan's put together a very high quality sale of 100 lots.. photo's include work by : Karl Struss, Lewis Hine, Alfred Stieglitz, George Platt Lynes, James Van Der Zee, Walker Evans, Lisette Model, Man Ray, Todd Webb, Leon Levinstein, Weegee, Aaron Siskind, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ralph Gibson, Danny Lyon, Garry Winogrand, Larry Fink, Ruth Orkin, Todd Papageorge, Bruce Weber, and David Armstrong just to name drop a few!
Wow!! That's an impressive list!! Plus, some of these have sweet low reserve levels, many are only $250!
(Example is Lot #728252, Vintage Gelatin Silver Print, by George Platt Lynes, "Fashion Image"..starting bid only $1,200)
There's many more to choose from..Here it is.. CHECK IT OUT!    So, you have a few days left to go and inspect the lots before bidding.  They're all on display in Chelsea at :

Daniel Cooney Fine Art
                  511 West 25th Street
                  New York, NY 10001
                  212 255 8158
                  [email protected]

Oh.. and FYI.. if you meet Dan.. Please tell him Mike at MAO sent you.. I hear he gives all the smart MAO readers a special auction discount catalogue!!

October 20, 2006

Candida Hofer Mania!!!

OK.. now while there were many shocking prices paid at this weeks NYC Photography Auctions.

This Lot at Phillips on Thursday Nights Food Fight Auction certainly needs to be put in the "What in the World are these CRAZY people thinking!!" category.

This 2004 photo by Candida Hofer, Handelingenkamer Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal Den Haag III, 2004, Color Coupler print, 59 1/4 by 47 1/4 inches, Signed in ink on the label, with typed title, date, and numbered 6 of and edition of 6.  Sold for a total insane cost of $90,000.



What am I missing??

October 17, 2006

Are things about to "Slow" in the Contemporary Art World?

David_wojnaowicz_buffalo Here's a review of the recent London Contemporary Art Auctions by Lina Sandler at Bloomberg News.

It sounds like these auctions didn't go very well, work by Neo Rauch went unsold, GASP! And works by Bill Viola and Martin Kippenberger sold BELOW their pre-sale estimates. OUCH! (Photo by David Wojnarowicz)

Here's the full story :

Download Fall06_LondonContemporarySales.txt

Today starts all the big Fall NYC Photography sales.. And while there are no lots expected to break last springs REFCO auction and the shocking $2.9 Million Steichen photo records. There are tons of high priced works going onto the auction block this week. We'll see how they go.

September 26, 2006

All good things come in THREEs ? Benefit Auctions Too.

One great way to find a hidden gem for your collection, and also an easy way to support your favorite arts organization is the benefit auction. The next few days there are three of my favorite events!

  1. Tonight.. is the 2006 SVA Alumni Society Auction. It takes place at 601 West 26th Street, in their 15th floor Gallery, from 6pm to 9pm.  So, check out some of their Auction Lots..  This 100 Lot Auction, features works by John Dugdale, Louise Bourgeois, Marilyn Minter, Aaron Siskind, Andres Serrano, Roni Horn, Brain Finke, Billy Sullivan, Simen Johan, Vito Acconci, Lisa Ruyter, Roy Lichtenstein, Banks Violette, Sue Williams, and Elizabeth Peyton...just to name drop a few.. See you there.. I'll be the wall street dork one in the dark blue suit.
  2. October 4th is the Dieu Donne Papermill's 7th Annual Benefit Auction. This live and silent auctions will take place at The Gallery of the Metropolitan Pavilion on West 18th Street from 7 to 11pm.  As this organization is focused on the creation,  promotion and preservation of contemporary art in the hand papermaking process, this event will feature over 40 new and unique works on handmade paper.  Artist works will include Will Cotton, Glenn Ligon, Polly Apfelbaum, Arturo Herrera, Jen DeNike, Douglas Gordon and Erik Hanson.
  3. October 7th is the 28th Annual Benefit Auction to support The Center for Photography at Woodstock. This live auction will take place at the Bearsville Theater, 291 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY at 7pm. This center provides an artistic home for contemporary creative photography with programs in education, exhibition, publication, residencies, and services for artists. This 221 lot auction will feature works by many historically important photographers, including photo's by Lewis Hine, Mitch Epstein, Helmut Newton, Brassai, Weegee, Ansel Adams, Louis Fauer, Larry Fink, Michael Kenna, Robert Capa, Gordon Parks, Paul Strand, and Edward Steichen.   But I've also found this auction an useful place to spot (and buy the work inexpensively of) new emerging photo talents such as : Julia Peirone, Sarah Pickering, Robert Flynt,  Marc Yankus, Stuart O'Sullivan, Nick Waplington, and Caitlin Atkinson just to pump up name a few.  Absentee Bids can be left here.

All three are great organizations..So be sure to  bring your checkbooks and your auction paddles!

September 08, 2006

No Reserve Photo Auction Today!

Today is the start of the Fall Season Photography food fight  Auctions! WooHooo!

Today at 2pm Christies has put together a small, almost 100%  B & W photo auction. The one twist is Larry_clark_untitled_1991the entire auction will be sold without any reserve (minimum bid).  So some of these lots may sell for way under their market value if there's little interest. In the past there's always one or two lots that go for almost nothing.. like $100 to $200!

Today most of the lots have pre-sale estimated prices well below $5,000. While there are very few iconic or important images up for sale, I think Christies intentionally low balled these estimate to sucker draw prospective buyers.

I liked Lot #45, by Larry Clark, Untitled, 1991, 1 from an edition of 2, print. Est  $2,000 - 3,000.   Christies put it on the back cover of their catalog.. but they got the edition size wrong in the listing.

So, we shall see...

June 22, 2006

ArtInfo - Valuing the Work of Artist with No Auction Trail

If you've not seen this ArtInfo.com Column by Robert Ayers yet.. it's worth a look.

I love this quote by Zack Miner of Christies, it really sums up much of what has been going on in Chelsea today:

“With the speculative way in which many people are now approaching the emerging artist market, Miner continued, “I think that something’s being lost, and that’s the role of collectors of emerging artists as true patrons.”

Roulette_wheel The bottom line is:

  • 1. Don't expect to buy the work of an emerging artist either expecting to make money, or even have it retain it's original value. It's best to think of it as your own private way to support the arts, and the artists.
  • 2. For new work by currently producing artists, most auction prices tend to be 25% to 50% less than same work at a gallery
  • 3. Only if the work is recognized as quality and the artist is perceived as hot, might it sell for much more than current gallery prices
  • 4. No one really knows what the value of an emerging artist work is going to sell for at auction..that's why they are called EMERGING ARTIST!!!

May 09, 2006

Hot Art Photography and the REFCO Premium!

Little_screamer I was just looking through the outrageous prices achieved Friday night at the second part of the REFCO Photography Auctions.  The "Little Screamer" image by Jill Greenberg's (seen to the left) immediately came to mind!! Aaaaaahhhhh!

Well, Christies deserves a big round of applause! These prices are stupid crazy high! It's also a good sign that the Photography Art Market is still Red Hot! Or at least some people have money to burn.

The Baldessari "Beach Scene/Nuns/Nurse (with choices). 1991 sold for $744,000!! That is almost 4 times the $200,00, high end of the presale estimate. Ouch!

A Rodney Graham, Lot #4, "Welsh Oak #3" 1998 sold for $168,000. That presale estimate high was only a mere $90,000.

Lot #11, which was a Diane Arbus, "Tattooed Man at a Carnival, 1970" number 57 of an edition of 75, it's PreSale Estimate was $15-20k. This one sold for a whopping $50,400. And I know for a fact, this image was readily available for less..

The huge "Avenue of the Americas" lot #26 by Gursky was possibly one of the only sane winning bids of the night.. it sold to some size queen for only $374,400, which once you take out the Auction house premium it fell to a hammer price well within the  $250,000 - 350,000 presale estimate.

Dicorcia_marylin And one of  Phillip Lorca diCorcia greatest images Lot #39,  "Marlyin; 28 years old; Las Vegas, Nevada; $30" 1990 printed in 1993, number 14 of an edition of 20, 30x40 inches, The presale estimate was only $25,000 - 30,000 and it sold for $72,000. Now I know the presale estimate looked a bit low on this lot... but $72k ??

This exact same image, size, etc.. just sold at the October 7, 2005, Phillips Photography sale for only $60,000. That's a 20% jump in price in just 7 months! That's insane a nice investment

FYI.. If you missed out on the Marlyin.. there's yet another Phillip-Lorca diCorcia Marlyin image coming up for auction at Phillips this week.

So the big Contemporary Art Auctions go this week... there's a ton of work up for sale.. so it's going to be interesting to see how high the prices go! Remember.. It's not too late to submit your guess... for our Monthly Quiz..!! That handsome Warhol may go at a high, and you maybe a winner!

April 26, 2006

REFCO Photography Auction Mania

Paddles were flying high at the over-hyped REFCO Bankruptcy Auction yesterday at Christies Auction House.

The auction room was packed with people, press, and camera crews. The sale went very well. Overall, many of the lots sold way over their presale estimates. For example, all of the MAO favorites like the, Carrie Mae Weems, and Vik Muniz lots sold well above (most at more than two times) their estimates.

There were also a few good bargains to be had as well, like the 2 Ralph Eugene Meatyard - Lucybelle Crater Photo's ($3,500), Andreas Serrano (2 large 1980's images fror $7,500), and the Peter Hujar lots (2,500 to 3,500) which all sold for almost nothing!


But we have to give

the Official MAO INSANE


Purchase of the day goes to the lucky person who bought :

Sternfeld_mclean Lot #230 Joel Sternfeld lot #230 "McLean, Virginia, December, 1978, 46"x60" modern print, for $96,000

Now while I like the image.. this is a prime example of a Photographer (screwing his early collectors) who's been "re-editioning" his early work and printing tons of new large size modern prints which are readily available.. and for way less than $96,000!

Well.. At least this photo comes in a nice new pretty REFCO frame!

So, as expected, the ART Market is still RED HOT, and I'm sure there will be more Auction Mania to come.. at the May Contemporary sales.. so stay tuned!