Art Market Magazine
For the last editorial of the season, we could have dwelt on good old chestnuts like the summer break and traditional sales by the sea, full of sun, sea and the easy life. But not this time! On the strength of this double issue and its corollary, the long break, we are going for something less glamorous: an assessment of the art market. A few figures, then... Those freshly published by the Conseil des Ventes confirm the sector's rosy health, posting a global total of €27.2 billion, including buyers' premiums, and a rise of 7% in the art and collectors' objects sector. Europe, with a result of €8.8 billion, came second, ahead of a still-declining China (€8.02 billion), but behind the USA (€9.2 billion), which has consolidated its pole position. And what about France? In 2014 it posted a fall of 1.2%. The results for this first half may not be brilliant but are nonetheless promising, with Drouot announcing a total sale result of €186.5 M for the time being. Decidedly encouraging…
.Content - Number 49
Wednesday 6 May, 2015. It is 10 a.m., and the press gathers in the blazing sun for the Venice Biennial, now celebrating its 120th edition, in the leafy gardens by the Canal Saint Marc and around the Renaissance buildings of the Arsenal. The works in the 58 national pavilions (half set up in the gardens, and half in the Arsenal and splendid Venetian palaces) and the collective exhibitions are visual responses to the theme set by curator Okwui Enwezor: "All the World's Futures". The Nigerian art critic, head of Munich's Haus der Kunst, was formerly director of the Kassel Documenta. But the curator wonders "how the artists […] will get the public to look, listen and even take part, […] given today's upheavals." The conclusion after hours of walking around the different locations is that the countless pieces respond to this question with sombre, often backward-looking visions, which portend a catastrophic, politically-focused future almost without hope. Without yielding to this dolorous discourse, we look at who conveys it most successfully.
Jacques Monory's paintings are recognisable for their blues. Yes, blues in the plural, unlike Yves Klein. In a single painting that seems monochrome at first glance, you can make out a highly varied palette of cerulean shades. Everything conspires to produce this specific, unreal atmosphere: an immersion in an everyday world so different that it becomes impossible, as though we were separated from it by a screen.
Military strategy has been much in the limelight during this time of historic commemorations, and the autographs and manuscripts opening this Empire-themed sale staged at Fontainebleau by the Osenat auction house offer a step-by-step record of the Russian campaign. As their guide, historians will have the future Marshal de Castellane, then an aide to Napoleon I, whose correspondence to his parents will be on offer at around €45,000.
Two flower paintings by Sanyu demonstrated a remarkably stable price index, each going for €4,080,000 and thus setting a double record in France for the artist, thanks to Asian collectors. While this 1930s "Flowers in a vase" with an inscription stand out splendidly from their black background, the "Two hydrangeas in a white vase" (73 x 50 cm) from February 1931 use a softer palette of white and pink, enhanced by black foliage.
I met Suzanne Pagé one evening in June, when summer had arrived early in Paris, in Avenue Montaigne, where several of the Louis Vuitton foundation's departments are located. I went up to the second floor of the building, determined to make the most of my interview with the Foundation's artistic director: the brains behind the extraordinary selection of works that is currently a hot topic for the who's who of Paris – and even beyond. The golden silhouette of the Madonna crowning the Chapel of Notre Dame de Consolation in Rue Goujon suddenly rose before me. "This view was a real eye-opener for me, like an 'Apparition' by Katharina Fritsch," says Suzanne Pagé…
If this was your first visit to Art Basel, you will have seen visitors with an improbable range of styles in the aisles of the fair: refined, over-the-top eccentric, sophisticated "Jansenist" or worse still, ordinary… All in all, the singular crowd that turns up in Basel once a year to take the pulse of the contemporary art market is a pretty accurate reflection of the works on show at 223 gallery stands in the main hall. But while not everything may be in the best taste, the event is still the high point of contemporary art – the big show; the place where you have to be, and be seen.
Leonardo Da Vinci "The most important exhibition on the master ever staged in Italy?" The press release is intriguing… At a time when Lombardy's capital is dazzling all eyes with Expo 2015, the choice of a theme shedding informative light on this protean genius, creator of the world's most famous portrait, is a strategic decision in the light of the World Expo. On site, the reaction is unequivocal: "Leonardo da Vinci 1452-1519" is undoubtedly a key event that puts all others in the shade – including Fascist Italy's 1939 exhibition, and the London National Gallery's in 2011. In 2015, this tour de force presents 225 items – drawings, paintings, sculptures, incunabula, machines and instruments – with illustrious provenances, including Queen Elizabeth II, the Louvre and other major institutions.
July - August 2015 Edition
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