Art Market News in Brief!

[08 Feb 2013]


Every fortnight, Artprice provides a short round up of art market news.

Cutlog sets up in Manhattan

Cutlog, the intrepid contemporary art fair, which in four years has established itself as an essential part of the FIAC landscape in Paris, is taking on a challenge: setting up for the first time in New York this coming May. A regular participant in major artistic events, this recently-created fair will be making a splash across the Atlantic from 10 to 13 May, right in the middle of the Frieze art fair week! Forty galleries from all over the world will be featured on the two levels of the Clemente Soto Vélez Centre, a neo-Gothic building between Rivington Street and Delancey Street, one of Manhattan’s most dynamic districts in Lower East Side. A major hunting ground for talent spotters, Cutlog will also feature an ambitious programme around the fair: an exhibition of sculptures and installations in the courtyard of the Clemente Centre, and an art house film festival on the theme of urbanity. Cutlog’s transplantation to New York makes sense, given the United States’ new bill of health as the West’s number one marketplace, where art works made over $3 billion at auction during 2012. 

Joel Meyerowitz at the MEP

The MEP (European Photography House) is putting the spotlight on the work of American artist Joel MEYEROWITZ until 7 April 2013. From his first works in black and white to his colour pieces, a genre he began to focus on exclusively during the seventies, this retrospective looks back over the career of a seminal artist in the history of photography. One of the chief proponents of colour photography, Meyerowitz started out in advertising before devoting himself entirely to street photography during the sixties. In 2001, he was the only photographer to obtain unrestricted access to the ruins of the World Trade Center. The resulting series marked a turning point in his career, also affecting his offers in the auction room: 223 lots out of the 250 registered between 1989 and 2012 have been put up for sale over the past ten years! In 2012, Sotheby’s New York posted a record in the sale room with Dairyland, Provincetown, which went for $14,000 (on 3 October 2012). However, the price range for his prints is still affordable, meaning that enthusiasts can acquire an iconic work in 40 cm x 50 cm format for less than $3,000 – witness last November’s sale of Red interior, provincetown for $2,300 (Lempertz, Cologne, Germany, 29 November 2012).

Rosemarie Trockel: Flagrant Delight at the Museion (Bolzano, Italy)

From 2 February to 1 May, the Museion, the contemporary art museum in Bolzano (Italy) is presenting Flagrant Delight, an exhibition devoted to the works of Rosemarie TROCKEL. This monograph, set up in partnership between the WIELS Contemporary Art Centre (Brussels) and the Caixa General de Despositos Foundation (Lisbon), features over 80 of the German artist’s works. Trockel’s output, which has been described as both « poetic » and « explicitly feminine », is explored through painted textiles, ceramics, sculptures and collages.
Having established an international reputation in the eighties, with exhibitions in the US (including at the MoMA in 1988), Japan and the UK (Whitechapel Gallery), Trockel also packs considerable punch in the auction rooms. For example, Made in Western Germany (1987), a monochrome tapestry of 2.50 m high, sold for $800,000 in 2011 – almost double its low estimate – (Sotheby’s New York, 10 May 2011). Her tapestries account for 40% of her turnover (for only 10% of the volume of lots sold): a long way ahead of her sculptures (25%) and paintings (22%).

Dasvidanyia, Oleg Vassiliev

On 26 January, Oleg VASSILIEV, a major figure in dissident Russian art, died at the age of 81. He was born in Moscow in 1931, and studied at the Moscow Art Institute. For a long time he worked as a children’s book illustrator, in collaboration with his long-standing friends Ilya Kabakov and Eric Bulatov. A fervent admirer of the Russian avant-garde, Vassiliev himself became one of the leaders of non-official Russian art during the sixties, participating as such in the 1977 Venice Biennial. In 1990, he emigrated to New York, where the acclaim that greeted him led to his exhibiting regularly in the United States until his death. In 2005, he took part in Russia!, an outstanding exhibition that has marked the era. Staged at the Guggenheim Museum of New York, the exhibition looked back over some nine hundred years of the history of Russian art.
Of the 70-odd works that have gone up for auction, it is the works from the eighties and nineties that particularly arouse the enthusiasm of collectors. The speculative bubble of 2008 benefited largely from the artist’s ranking, which attracted his finest bids that year. Before the Sunset (1990), an oil on canvas over 2m high, quadrupled its low estimate when it went for over $800,000 (Sotheby’s London, 12 March 2008). As the Russian art market suffered particularly from the downturn, the very few iconic pieces going to auction are now selling for a few tens of thousands of dollars. For example, Self-Portrait (2000) fetched nearly $50,000 a few weeks ago at Christie’s London, on 26 November 2012.