Sale

Sotheby’s Brushes Up Its Image With London Auction

“Sotheby’s Brushes Up Its Image With London Auction”

by Mary Lane via “WSJ

The sale of Gerhard Richter's ’Abstract Picture, 599’ for $46 million set an auction record for the German artist.

LONDON— Sotheby’s shook off doubts stemming from the ouster of its chief executive late last year, earning this past week its highest total for artwork auctioned in London from its contemporary art department.

The company’s annual February auction Tuesday totaled $188 million, representing a 31% increase from 2014’s February sale.

In November, William Ruprecht stepped down as Sotheby’s CEO, following a monthslong campaign by hedge-fund activist Dan Loeb to shake up the company’s management. Mr. Ruprecht’s handling of the contemporary art division was a focus of criticism.

On Friday, Sotheby’s said it wouldn’t be paying a special dividend initiated last year, saying it wanted to preserve “flexibility” in its “capital allocation” while searching for a new chief executive.

Tuesday’s auction result, within Sotheby’s $136 million to $193 million pre-sale estimate, helped the publicly traded auction house beat privately owned nemesis Christie’s, which sold $178 million worth of art on Wednesday, down 16% from a year earlier.

Asian and Middle Eastern participation in Sotheby’s evening session on Tuesday was low, with only 9% of buyers from that region. But South American participation doubled from last year, with 37% of buyers coming from South and North America combined. At Christie’s, about a fifth of buyers were from Asia and the Middle East, with Europe and North America accounting for about half.

The week’s biggest art sale was Gerhard Richter’s 1986 painting “Abstract Picture, 599.” It sold over the phone to Ken Griffin, founder of investment fund Citadel, at Sotheby’s for $46 million, according to people familiar with the matter. The purchase was highly unusual for the billionaire, better known for collecting more mainstream artwork, including Impressionists. Mr. Griffin broke the previous Richter record of $37 million set by Sotheby’s in May 2013. The 118-inch by 99-inch work, featuring a metallic-looking paint that glistens, drew its second-highest bid from a private collector working through Gallus Pesendorfer, a Cologne-based specialist who typically works with German buyers.

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Wisteria Lamps 1901

Can I just say “JEALOUS!” I pretty seriously love these! **DB

“2 Wisteria Lamps Centerpiece of Tiffany Auction”

by “Washington Times

The Associated Press

Two nearly identical Tiffany wisteria lamps designed in 1901 have sold for over $1 million each at auction.

They sold at Sotheby’s on Wednesday. One sold for $1,205,000, the other for $1,145,000.

They were part of a group of seven Tiffany lamps collected by dealer Sandra van den Broek over three decades. The current owner acquired them over the past 10 years.

The two leaded-glass lamps are successively numbered, indicating the 2,000 pieces for each were cut from the same sheets of glass. They came into Van den Broek’s possession 15 years apart.

The shade was designed by Tiffany Studios artist Clara Driscoll.

The auction also featured 34 other Tiffany lots. Among the highlights was a 25-light lily chandelier owned by descendants of the Havermeyer family. It sold for $149,000.

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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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Association of Art Museum Directors Sanctions Delaware Art Museum

Association of Art Museum Directors Sanctions Delaware Art Museum

by MH Miller via “The Observer”

“The Association of Art Museum Directors has sanctioned the Delaware Art Museum following the institution’s deacessioning a work from its collection to help pay off its debt. William Holman Hunt’s Isabella and the Pot of Basil(1868) sold at Christie’s this week for a final hammer price of $4.25 million, far below estimate. Sanctions result in the museum being unable to accept exhibition loans from any of 242 AAMD members, not to mention a serious loss of reputation among the art community. The AAMD’s statement on the matter is below.

The Association of Art Museum Directors is deeply troubled and saddened that the Delaware Art Museum has deaccessioned and sold a work of art from its collection to pay outstanding debt and build its operating endowment. Art museums collect works of art for the benefit of present and future generations. Responsible stewardship of a museum’s collection and the conservation, exhibition, and study of these works are the heart of a museum’s commitment to its community and to the public. It is therefore a fundamental professional principle that works can only be deaccessioned to provide funds to acquire works of art and enhance a museum’s collection.

AAMD does not agree that the Delaware Art Museum had only two options to address its current financial challenges—sell works from the collection or close the museum. Over the course of more than six months prior to this sale, AAMD reached out to the Delaware Art Museum’s leadership on multiple occasions in the hope that we could offer assistance in investigating alternatives to the planned sale—including helping the museum to campaign for private funding—in order to support the museum in upholding the highest professional standards. With this sale, the museum is treating works from its collection as disposable assets, rather than irreplaceable cultural heritage that it holds in trust for people now and in the future. It is also sending a clear signal to its audiences that private support is unnecessary, since it can always sell additional items from its collection to cover its costs. . . . . .”

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“Paintings looted by Nazi, recovered by Allies to be auctioned in NY”

“Paintings looted by Nazi, recovered by Allies to be auctioned in NY”

by Patricia Reaney via “Yahoo News

“NEW YORK (Reuters) – Paintings looted by the Nazis during World War Two and retrieved by the Monuments Men, the Allied group tasked with returning masterpieces to their rightful owners, will be sold at auction on Thursday in New York.

The works, which will go under the hammer during Sotheby’s sale of Important Old Master Paintings and Sculpture, were among the tens of thousands of works recovered by the art experts whose story is told in the George Clooney film “The Monuments Men,” which opens in U.S. theaters on February 7.

“The scale of looting was absolutely extraordinary,” said Lucian Simmons, Sotheby’s head of restitution.

“In France, for example, 36,000 paintings were stolen from institutions and largely from individuals. The Monuments Men managed to recover and return the majority of those,” he said in an interview.

Two small paintings in the sale, “La cueillette des roses” and “Le musicien” by the French rococo artist Jean-Baptise Pater, were chosen by Adolf Hitler’s air force chief Hermann Goering for his personal collection. . . . . .”

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