Flash News

[04 Oct 2013]


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

Zaha Hadid and the Serpentine Sackler

The Serpentine Sackler gallery in London, a brand new building by Zaha Hadid, is now open to the public. Here, the Iraqi-born British architect has adapted to the historical constraints of the former early 19th century powder magazine with a lyrical construction featuring the taut lines and curves typical of her style. The first woman to be awarded the Pritzker prize in 2004, and who was honoured with a retrospective of her work at the New York Guggenheim Museum in 2006, Zaha HADID is one of the world’s most sought-after architects. China, notably, boasts some of her most spectacular achievements, which include the Guangzhou opera house (70,000 m2) and a gigantic shopping complex in Beijing, Galaxy Soho (332,857 m2), which won her first prize from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). She is a genuine star on the eastern side of the globe, where some of her apparently ordinary objects garner several tens of thousands of dollars – like a prototype tap of unrivalled fluidity, which went for a staggering $54,000 including the buyer’s premium in Beijing (Robinet [2012], after an estimate of $16,000-$24,000, Poly International Auction, Beijing, 3 June 2012).

Between 2005 and 2008, Zaha Hadid posted four hammer sales of over $100,000 each for her designs… Those years were particularly fruitful for star designers like Marc Newson and Ron Arad. In 2007, at the very top of the market, Zaha Hadid even exceeded $632,000 including the premium for a black concrete bench entitled Urban Nebula (2007, knocked down for £260,000 [$,528,000[, Phillips de Pury & Company, London, 13 October 2007). Since that period, the prices for flagship designs have fallen by 30% to 40%. So now is a good time to buy some rare creations, either prototypes or extremely limited editions. In addition, drawings seem to be very affordable in comparison with objects, as the few works on paper that have gone under the hammer these past few years have sold for between $1,000 and $3,000 on average.

Pierre Huyghe Retrospective at Beaubourg

A few days ago, Pierre Huyghe, a French artist who now lives in New York, inaugurated his first retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in Paris (25 September 2013 – 6 January 2014). The creator of floating, metaphorical, poetic works, and an artist who revels in the friction between fiction and reality, Pierre HUYGHE has devised his exhibition as an invitation to a journey through various ecosystems, and as a circuit to be experienced via a number of evolving works. The ingredients are often living, and include insects and animals (a dog, bees, a tortoise, ants and a hermit crab), as well as light, music and movement.

Pierre Huyghe’s career really took off when he represented France at the Venice Biennial in 2001 and carried off the special jury’s prize. The following year, New York hailed his talents with the Hugo Boss prize. He then received the prize for France’s best artist (Beaux Arts magazine’s Art Awards 2005) and was acclaimed as the top contemporary artist of 2010 by an award from the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C.

Represented by the Marian Goodman Gallery in Paris and New York, Pierre Huyghe is more successful in the gallery than the sales room, where his market is not so much small as virtually non-existent. Since two small paintings sold for less than $200 each in 2000, his rating has of course climbed considerably (achieving a bid of over $40,000, $47,600 including the buyer’s premium, triple its estimate, for Rue Longvic, Dijon, Christie’s, Paris, 26 April 2006) but only nine lots have turned up at auction in five years. The most recent was a bargain for its buyer, when a print of Club (2003), one of an edition of six, sold for $3,500 after a low estimate of $6,000 ($4,375 including the premium, Sotheby’s, New York, 7 June 2013). The second market is certainly scant, but is still worth keeping a close eye on.

Vienna Art fair

As well as being the capital of Austria, Vienna is also the 19th marketplace for contemporary art auctions in the world, just behind Berlin. Not only is there local demand strong, but Vienna also benefits considerably from its strategic geographical position, a little over 1,000 km from Paris and Brussels, 650 km from Berlin and 400 km from Prague. Its ninth contemporary art fair is taking place from 10 to 13 October 2013, with around 110 galleries, some from Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria and Albania. The fair is thus a unique occasion to discover the art of Central and Eastern Europe, generally little represented in other fairs of this type. New artists can be discovered in Zone 1, reserved for the solo show and young talents. Artists participating include Albert Bernard (Lisi Hämmerle Gallery, Bregenz), Sofia Goscinski (Zimmermann Kratochwill Gallery, Graz), Jochen Höller (Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art, Salzburg/Vienna) and Peter Fritzenwallner (Altnöder Gallery, Salzburg), all of whom are still strangers to the sales room.

Confirmed artists whose rating is already established in the sales room include Thomas STIMM (sculptures available at $2,000 – $10,000 on average), Gunter DAMISCH (paintings priced at $5,000 – $33,000), Gerwald ROCKENSCHAUB (sculptures at $3,000 – $8,000; paintings at $5,000 – $35,000 at auction) and the great Erwin WURM (sculptures at $10,000 – $125,000 on average).The two artistic directors, Christina Steinbrecher-Pfandt and Vita Zaman, are keen to expand the fair, and are increasing its content. The ninth fair has an intense programme of lectures and conferences, numerous curators and institutions are involved, and it is notably opening outup to video works – and offering a prize, the « Happiness Award ».