Art Market Magazine

Editorial

Onwards and upwards! We thought we had attained Everest with Edward Munch, who beat Picasso in terms of the world's most expensive artist. But no: the world's top fortunes seem to have an unlimited appetite, because 2013 is ending with yet more records. Last month in New York, $142.4 M went to a work by Francis Bacon, "Three Studies of Lucian Freud" of 1969 : a long, long way ahead of the record for an Old Master (£49.5M - all the same! - for a Rubens in 2002 ). So art does not have to be old to be judged as the very best by the market. Crossing the 100 million mark is no longer the prerogative of Picasso, no joined by another super artist: Andy Warhol. Should we rejoice to see such battles on the heights involving a mere handful of buyers? Happily for ordinary mortals with inquiring minds who love beautiful things, the landscape of art is not only made up of inaccessible peaks...



.Content - Number 31

Miami Beach, December 2013... While winter moves into the northern hemisphere, the big names in art are basking in the warmth preceding Art Basel, now a key stage in the race to the top contemporary art fairs. For Brussels gallery owner Rodolphe Janssens, "Art Basel Miami Beach is the number one fair in the US, because of the international quality of its collectors from not only America but also Europe and the Middle East. After Basel itself, it is the second best fair in the world." Some, like Kamel Mennour, have opted for Miami and abandoned New York's Armory Show, now less favourable than the Florida fair, which started up in 2002. Loyal to both events, Janssens says, "For me, Miami provides an opportunity to meet the top collectors from all over the US, and not just from New York, which is the case with Frieze and the Armory Show." And with an estimated £1.5 millions' worth of transactions, as the Guardian announced in December 2012, the financial potential of Art Basel Miami Beach is staggering.

ART FAIR

Art Market Magazine

Has France become the new Eldorado for collectors of Amerindian art? For a good ten years now, the speciality has been a key player in the success of the Paris market. We remember the Jenny Keifts and Thery-Atcchevinsly sales in December 2002 and March 2003 respectively, the memorable sale of the André Breton collection in April 2003, and that of the Robert Lebel collection three years later, again in Paris. During his years of exile in the US, Breton became friends with one Claude Lévi-Strauss, who, like him, was a regular visitor to 943 Third Avenue in New York: the store of antiques dealer Julius Carlebach. This was where the two men, Robert Lebel and the Surrealist artists would stock up with Indian objects. The Lévi-Strauss sale at Drouot in June 1951 was the first of its kind.

UPCOMING

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The exotic vein of this cabinet comes from one of the most inspired figures of the second half of the 19th century, Édouard Lièvre. During the famous sales of his estate in 1887 and 1890, the Pannier brothers, owners of the furniture and object production company L’Escalier de Cristal, bought the 1877 "meuble à deux corps: cabinet on supporting table" now in the collections of the Musée d’Orsay. It bears the signature of the famous company, and served as a model for the cabinet here. The Pannier brothers actually produced six pieces of furniture based on this archetype, all in rosewood, like it, but with different details in the structure or ornamentation. According to the workbook from Henry Pannier's archives, only three of them are described as "Japanese", because of the central cartouche decorating the door…

RESULTS

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In principle, a photograph can seem more affordable than a painting. This remains true for the vast majority of prints, but outstanding photographs can exceed hundreds of thousands or even millions of euros. In June 2011 in France, a seascape by Gustave Le Gray was knocked down for €917,000 at the Rouillac auction house in Vendôme: a score worthy of a modern painting. But it was still well below the ultimate record for a photograph, held by contemporary photographer Andreas Gursky with a landscape at over $4.3 M – a bid made at Christie’s New York in November 2011. Nonetheless, the photography market, badly affected by the economic downturn, still seems to be finding it hard to get back to its former level...

TRENDS

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This acronym conceals a collection, itself transformed into a work of art with a universal resonance, inspired by events in the intimate story of a couple. La Gazette Drouot. Your contemporary art collection, being shown for the first time in Europe, is exhibited in a very singular way. Why? Guillaume Lévy-Lambert. My companion Mark Goh and I have created a collection that tells our story. We were in Phuket on 26 December 2004, and were lucky enough to find ourselves on an islet that was relatively untouched by the tsunami. But it made us realise how frail life is, and how important it was to pass on our collection. I first of all had the idea of a book, which then became the project called MaGMA, standing for "Mark and Guillaume Museum of Art".

MEETING

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One fine autumn day, the Victoria & Albert Museum, in London's South Kensington district, opened its latest flagship exhibition. After the resounding success of "David Bowie is", the museum, champion of an all-embracing programme, is now focusing on masterpieces of Chinese painting. Not such a "celebrity" subject, true, but absolutely fascinating, as in seventy works it paints the portrait of a two thousand year old art, which in China is sister to poetry. And you move through the exhibition rooms in almost religious silence, immersed in a half-light that respects both the remarkable value of these treasures (as we know, some of these paintings fetch up to 50 million in the market!) and their fragility. It is a rare opportunity to see works that are usually hidden away from the light, and thus from the public gaze…

EXHIBITIONS

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As part of the finance act, French députés (members of parliament) were planning to raise VAT on imported art works from 7% to 10%. This measure raised such an outcry in the world of the art market that a white paper – drafted by professionals and specialists in the matter (Jacques Fingerhut and Clare McAndrew) – was commissioned in France by the Syndicat National des Maisons de Ventes, the Comité Professionnel des Galeries d’Art, the Syndicat National des Antiquaires, the gallery owner Franck Prazan and the Chairman of Sotheby’s France, Guillaume Cerutti. In the end, the député Christian Eckert, General Rapporteur for the finance commission, proposed an amendment to the finance act whereby VAT on imports would be set at 5.5%, i.e. the rate in force before VAT was raised to 7%.

ART AND THE LAW

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Art Market Magazine Gazette International

December 2013 Edition

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