Art Sale

How the Fine Art Market is a Scam

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Fine Art Comes of Age in the UAE

Fine Art Comes of Age in the UAE

by Suchitra Bajpai Chaudhary via “Gulf News

Dubai: The month-long art season in Dubai that concluded last week demonstrated the maturity and coming of age of the art market here, further establishing Dubai as the regional art hub.

Several record-breaking auctions were conducted dring the season. With over 60 art galleries and museums in the city, viewing and buying art has is now an established part of Dubai’s cultural agenda. The scope of this development over the last eight or nine years can be gauged from the fact that in a span of a month, Dubai now hosts an active art calendar with the Dubai art week, Design days and Sikka art fairs all happening simultaneously.

“ It is phenomenal how Dubai developed into the art space in the past eight-nine years.” Hala Khayat, Head of Sales at Christie’s, UAE.

  “Art is an alternative asset and does not replace traditional assets. It is used to alleviate the risk in your traditional financial portfolio. When stocks and bonds go down, art goes up.”
 ” This synergy has attracted art curators and galleries from around the world to display and interact here. This has helped Dubai evolve into an attractive art trade market.

All major auction houses and art fund houses have opened offices here and have been doing robust business. This is proof that good art sells at a high price and there are as many buyers in the market here as sellers.

The Pharaoh’s Collection of Modern Egyptian Art, expected to sell for around $1.4 million (Dh4.68 million) made $3.89 million (Dh 14.03 million). The top lot of the sale, also from the Collection, was Abdul Hadi El-Gazzar’s (Egyptian, 1925-1965)Construction of the Suez Canal which sold for $1.02 million, a new world auction record for the artist. . . . .”

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Rare $39 Million Ming Dynasty Cup to Be Part of Auction

Rare $39 Million Ming Dynasty Cup to Be Part of Auction

by Frederick Balfour

A 15th-century ceramic cup from the Ming Dynasty will be included in a Sotheby’s (BID) auction next month in Hong Kong, after the seller retracted an earlier decision to pull the sale.

The cup, valued at HK$200 million ($26 million) to HK$300 million, will be offered at Sotheby’s on April 8, according to Nicolas Chow, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Asia and International Head of Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art.

The seller, a Swiss collector in his nineties who had earlier asked to pull the cup from the sale, changed his mind, said Giuseppe Eskenazi, who originally sold the piece to the collector in 2000 and is advising the seller.

The cup was promoted in a March 6 press release by Sotheby’s as a “potential record breaker” and is considered the finest piece of Chinese ceramics in private hands. It comes from the Meiyintang Collection, whose owner has vacillated over selling it, said Eskenazi, a London-based dealer who originally sold the piece to him in 2000.

“It’s such a great treasure, he didn’t want to part with it as he treasured it so much,” Eskenazi, who helped the seller place pieces with Sotheby’s before, said by telephone today. “But finally, he agreed a few hours ago to go ahead.”

Emperor Allegory

Eskenazi, who bought the cup for almost HK$30 million in 1999, sold it one year later to its present owner.

“This is the most valuable piece of porcelain in any private collection,” he said.

The cup, made for the Chenghua emperor (1465-1487) is considered the most rare of Chinese ceramics and may set an auction record, according to the Sotheby’s press release. It has been nicknamed the “Chicken Cup” because it depicts a rooster, his hen and their chicks, an allegorical representation of the emperor, the empress and their subjects.

“We are very excited to present this in the sale,” Chow said by telephone. “It is the single most expensive, single most sought after Chinese porcelain ever offered at auction.”

The “Chicken Cup” is only 8 centimeters (3.1 inches) in diameter, delicate and dainty,  . . . .

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“Detroit Needs Money. Can A ‘Grand Bargain’ Save The City’s Art?”

“Detroit Needs Money. Can A ‘Grand Bargain’ Save The City’s Art?”

by Elizabeth Blair via “NPR”

“Can wealthy art lovers help save Detroit’s pension funds — and one of its museums?

The city is struggling to find ways to emerge from bankruptcy. One idea: sell the city’s art to save the pensions of city retirees. The Detroit Institute of Arts, or DIA, has faced serious financial difficulties over the years, and yet it holds the city’s most valuable assets: a world-class art collection that includes works by Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Matisse. Estimates vary, but Christie’s recently appraised these works at more than $850 million.

Because some of those masterpieces were bought with city funds, they could be auctioned off to pay creditors. “It’s the only source of money that exists in the city of Detroit,” philanthropist Paul Schaap says flatly.  . . . .”

 

“The Confidence, and the Art, Looked Real”

“The Confidence, and the Art, Looked Real”

by Patricia Cohen via “New York Times”

“To many people, the art dealer Jose Carlos Bergantiños Diaz seemed like an enviable man.  He came to the United States from Spain with his Mexican inamorata, Glafira Rosales, some 30 years ago, barely a dollar in his pocket, and only a few words of English at his command. Soon, he was living life on a grand stage. He bought a fine house in a wealthy New York suburb, opened an art gallery with Ms. Rosales and maintained auction accounts at Christie’s and Sotheby’s.He boasted of a friendship with Andy Warhol, an audience with the pope and his daughter’s violin performance at the Clinton White House. He created a charity that helped the poor and the sick in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and won awards for his humanitarianism.

Behind the curtain, though, federal prosecutors say, Mr. Bergantiños was engaged in a very different sort of enterprise, a daring forgery swindle that fooled the art world and led collectors to spend more than $80 million on dozens of phony masterworks. The marketing of these forgeries, many of them sold through the offices of what was once New York’s oldest gallery, Knoedler & Company, has been among the most stunning art market scandals of the last decade. . . .”

I’ll just bet he’s out of the country; I can’t imagine having the cahoney’s to pull something like this off. And it begs the question of how well Knoedler & Co. were investigating the works they processed. Where are the provenance records, the testing process results, etc.? Were those forged as well, or were they not included in the sale? In this day and age, how were so many forged items passed of?

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