Will the art market need to discount its masterpieces?

Will the art market need to discount its masterpieces?


Major auction houses are hedging their bets on the fall season of sales starting Monday, offering sellers big guarantees to secure their works — and making up for the weakness in the $60 billion worth of dazzling art after the spring season. Some of their top items are being priced more conservatively after performing. market. And now, sellers are trying to predict how the uncertainty of a new war in the Middle East will impact them.

Auctioneers from three rival companies, Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips, are searching deeply into private collections for single paintings that can enhance their modern and contemporary art sales, given the low availability of estates to acquire (usually In view of the deaths and divorce).

“We built the sale in a very old-fashioned way,” said Alex Rotter, chairman of Christie’s departments that oversee 20th- and 21st-century art, who said his team shopped around to different collectors to acquire the works. ” jon mitchell ($25 million to $35 million), Claude Monet ($65 million) and Francis Bacon ($50 million). “We went for paintings that would generate the most buzz.”

However, the company lost one of the biggest prizes of the season to rivals Sotheby’s, which is offering 31 artworks from the estate of Emily Fisher Landau, a philanthropist who died earlier this year on the evening of November 8. There was a day (there is such a day) to sell). that’s the collection Estimated to be over $400 million And Sotheby’s Home Guarantee – the lowest price guarantee for the family. This includes one of the most expensive picasso painting Reaching the market with an estimate of more than $120 million: “Femme à la Montre,” a 1932 portrait of the artist’s mistress, the young Marie-Thérèse Walter. (The current auction high for a Picasso painting, set in 2015: $179.3 million.) Other lots include 1958 Mark Rothko Painting that was completed in preparation for his famous commission for the Four Seasons restaurant in New York’s Seagram Building 1964 Ed Ruscha painting Whose appearance at the auction coincided with the artist’s acclaimed exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. Both artworks are estimated at over $30 million.

“We have to go out there and get our supplies,” said Brooke Lampley, president of Sotheby’s and head of global fine art sales worldwide. “Season after season, people are always interested in what the big collection of the season will be.”

Sotheby’s and Christie’s expect the November auction season to bring in upwards of $1 billion each for their companies. But despite the claims of some auctioneers who say there are masterpieces around every corner, art consultants and market experts have noted a lack of great inventory and buyer focus in the broader market.

“The rebound we saw in 2021 reflects the recalibration we are experiencing in the market after the peak last fall,” said Drew Watson, head of art services for Bank of America’s private bank, which oversees the artworks collected. Were referring to sales of $1.5 billion. Microsoft co-founder Paul G. By Alan. “If you look at day and evening sales, we were seeing signs of softening in the market at this time even a year ago. The depth of bidding was low.”

During the spring auction season in May, three Jasper Johns paintings offered at Christie’s failed to reach their low estimates. Other artists’ paintings were withdrawn before the auction began, indicating a lack of market confidence or inflated prices. Celebrity auctions meanwhile have helped attract crowds, with consignments by Barbara Walters and Freddie Mercury attracting collectors willing to spend thousands of dollars on souvenirs.

Watson said there has been a significant increase in guarantees from auction houses and third parties, which provide consignors with a fixed minimum selling price.

“It has become an important tool for auction houses to bring high-value properties to market,” Watson said. “For buyers, it is also an important sign of confidence. This gives potential bidders something to bid on. And only two bidders are required to create an auction.”

Phillips vice president Robert Manley said his auction house had guaranteed 30 artworks, including artworks from the Triton Collection Foundation in the Netherlands. fernand leger And Pablo Picasso, The entire collection, to be auctioned on November 14, has an estimate of $100 million.

In another notable downgrade, Manley said there was rampant speculation hyper contemporary market For young artists born after 1975 – many of whom were without museum provenance – there were fewer.

“I hate to use the word discretion, but people are more measured,” he said. “It’s still not unusual for young artists to reach $200,000 or $300,000. But in the last few years, artists were increasingly going up to $800,000 and $1 million.”

What’s behind this more cautious market? Art market economist Magnus Resch said high interest rates and global uncertainty over two major wars in Europe and the Middle East could dampen next week’s sales.

“People are less active during these times,” Resch said. “There is a large group of buyers who have Israeli connections. It is understandable that buying luxury items is not on their mind right now.

For major collections, auction houses often set their estimates about six months in advance, although regular evening sales have more flexibility; Nowadays, they are finalized only a few weeks before the sale. But some auctioneers fear that the economic instability of global conflicts could widen the gap between expectations and reality.

Christie’s executive Rotter said, “I’m not painting you as an elephant around every corner.” “To say that whatever happened this year will have no impact would be irresponsible.”



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