Flash News

[04 Nov 2013]


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

The BNF plays host to the sublime oddities of Matthew Barney

For the first time in France, Matthew BARNEY will be exhibiting 80 drawings at the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris under the banner of Subliming Vessel (8 October 2013 – 5 January 2014), in partnership with the New York Morgan Library & Museum). This provides a chance to discover a little-known side to this artist – the more intimate works that he created alongside the major cycles of artistic films that garnered him international attention. Matthew Barney (born 1967) is one of the most striking American artists of our time. A former top athlete, he initially became known for his spectacular performances combining sport and art when he created drawings while suspended from his gallery ceiling or while climbing the walls. He went on to take the contemporary art scene by storm with the dreamlike, baroque intensity of his CREMASTER film cycle (1994-2002).
The drawings chosen for the BNF exhibition echo this masterful work. They are peopled with hermaphrodite animals, with mutant, hybrid beings that are battling their animality and with satyrs embarking on rites of passage. These meditative small-format works combine the more traditional techniques of graphite pencil and ink with unusual materials such as minerals and petroleum jelly. Barney’s drawings are a rare commodity that are snapped up by collectors on the primary market. The secondary market, that of the salerooms, is suffering from a scarcity of supply. Only six drawings (as against 222 photos) have been offered in the auction rooms since 1995… and at that time they were already fetching average prices of between $8,000 and $15,000. The record at auction for a drawing by Matthew Barney was set in 2006 with $40,000 for a graphite on paper in one of his famous translucent frames (The Nuptual Flight, 23.5 cm x 29.8 cm, $48 000 including buyer’s premium, Christie’s New York, 10 May 2006).

The most inflated Jeff Koons

On 15 May 2013, Christie’s set a record for receipts for its sale of post-war and contemporary art. But the auction house is certainly not resting on its laurels. It is now aiming to take things to the next level at its New York sale on 12th November. The sale will include many superlative works that are expected to sell for eight digits, including Jeff KOONS‘ monumental Balloon Dog. This vivid orange work – one of the artist’s most celebrated pieces – has been touring the globe providing a preview for potential buyers in London, Paris, Hong Kong and New York.
This orange version of the balloon dog is a majestic metal sculpture that is one of five unique versions (the Balloon Dog in this format, 307.3 x 363.2 x 114.3 cm, exists in blue, magenta, orange, red and yellow) and is without doubt one of Jeff Koons’ most popular creations. This piece is one of his first balloon dogs. It was bought in the late 1990s by the collector Peter Brant (famous for being the owner of the foremost private collection of works by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol).

Christie’s has announced an estimate range of $35 – $55 million, which would constitute a new world record for the artist, even if it only achieves its low estimate (his current record stands at $30 million or $33.68 including buyer’s premium for Tulips, sold at Christie’s New York on 4 November 2012). The proceeds from the sale will be used to help fund future activities at the Brant Foundation Art Study Center in Greenwich, CT.

Paris – the photo capital in November

Following the dismantling of the FIAC, the Grand Palais de Paris is preparing to host the 17th edition of Paris Photo from 14 to 17 November 2013. Paris Photo, the world’s leading photographic fair, brought together over 54,000 visitors at its 17th edition (a 6% increase over 2011). This year it encompasses 136 galleries with exhibitions of 19th century, modern and contemporary photography. The photography market has been one of the most exciting markets over the last 10 years. For example, the number of contemporary art photographs sold at auction has doubled over the course of the decade, with a 317% increase in annual sales revenues (between July 2012 and June 2013, worldwide registered sales of contemporary prints totalled over $80 million). Every edition of Paris Photo provides the showcase for a host of other events such as the more prospective Fotofever (at the Carrousel du Louvre), Photo Off and sessions in the salerooms. During the exhibition period, Christie’s is dedicating no less than three sessions to the genre (Agathe Gaillard et la photographie: une pionnière à Paris, 14th November; Photographies in the early afternoon of 16th November, followed by Photographies contemporaines) ; Sotheby’s has announced the sale of 126 lots on 15th November, including a rare portfolio by August Sander (Photographies sale); on the same day, Kapandji Morhange is focusing on the topic of Photographies Modernes et Objectif Cinéma, and Ader will be offering the Fonds Photographique de l’Institut Catholique de Paris on 17th November.

The Art.Fair is open

The Art.Fair has just opened its doors at a new venue. This year it is being held in Cologne, in one of the world’s largest convention centres. There is no danger of saturation – a hugely diverse range of work is on display in 90 exhibition galleries over an area of 16,000 m2.
This 11th edition is open from 30th October to 3rd November. The Art.Fair has already earned its spurs and this year features contemporary art icons (Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselman and Gerhard Richter) alongside ever-popular artists (Mel Ramos and Julie Opie), combined with more forward-looking works, such as a selection of South Korean artists on the Michael Schutz gallery stand (Berlin, Seoul, Beijing).