Flash News: Centre Pompidou at the Costa del Sol – Olafur Eliasson at Vuitton – A surreal February

[23 Jan 2015]


Every fortnight, Artprice provides a short round up of art market news: Centre Pompidou at the Costa del Sol – Olafur Eliasson at Vuitton – A surreal February

Centre Pompidou at the Costa del Sol

Beaubourg in Spain? It won’t be long now: the opening of a temporary Centre Pompidou site is slated for March 2015 in the Andalusian city of Malaga, in a space measuring 6,300 m2, for five years. The site is offering a program “traversing art from the 20th and 21st centuries,” with 90 works from Bacon, Chirico, Giacometti, Léger, Calder, Magritte, Baselitz, Tapiès and Tinguely, a mixture of long-term installations and temporary exhibits, shows, films or conferences organised by Beaubourg. Alain Seban, President of Centre Pompidou, has spent the past few years developing his “collections beyond the walls” policy related to the idea of a travelling mini-museum launched in 2011 by Frédéric Mitterand. Alain Seban explains that “the issue is how to better show a collection of 100,000 works, of which we can hang 2,000 – so 2%! – in Beaubourg. Yet, we can multiply the permanent centres like Metz.” The Centre Pompidou-Metz was, in France, the first decentralisation of a national public cultural establishment in partnership with a regional authority. The best collections of French modern and contemporary art are increasingly emerging from their storehouses and beginning to be seen in neighbouring countries. We hope this spirit of openness continues and spreads.

Olafur Eliasson at Vuitton

Since December, the newly inaugurated Fondation Louis-Vuitton, is showing Danish artist Olafur ELIASSON at his best, with the exhibit Contact, through 23 February 2015.
The artist creates spaces, sensations, and explores “relations that unite perceptions of me, the space and the universe.” Born in 1967 in Copenhagen, he grew up in Iceland, a theatre of natural, wild and spectacular phenomena, on black sand beaches, with geysers and a myriad of waterfalls, active volcanoes, and the extraordinary natural show put on by the aurora borealis. Thus steeped in nature, Eliasson recreates it in museums and elsewhere to awaken consciousness: for example, he recreated the aurora borealis at the Tate Modern in London, transformed the roof of the contemporary art museum Aarhus with a rainbow (Denmark, Your Rainbow Panorama), and recreated giant waterfalls in the middle of Manhattan.

As you see, the art of Olafur Eliasson is about experience and empathy, and is felt more than consumed. However, Eliasson is also on the market, primarily with photographs, and at times with light installations closer to the essence of his work.
Auction price levels: London is where you will have the best chance of finding a work by the artist (47% of his market), London, which contends with New York for the best pieces.Major collectors will have to part with several hundreds of thousands of dollars to take away a masterpiece such as the famous photomontage The Waterfall Series or a large sculpture. For collectors of more modest means, it is becoming difficult to acquire the sculptures for less than USD 50,000, but it is still possible. Other more affordable pieces available include: photographic prints and various limited edition prints, from USD 2,000–10,000 on average.

A surreal February

The resumption of major sales is off to a promising start after a few weeks of respite. Two surrealist evenings are planned. The first is at Sotheby’s London on 3 February 2015 with an extraordinary canvas from René MAGRITTE, dated 1952, and based on the theory of selective affinities: L’Explication (The Explanation) is a pure masterpiece estimated at GBP 4–6 million and destined to be considered one of the artist’s Top 10 works.
The following day, Christie’s will hold a one-time sale for its next transfer of surrealist art. Very few lots, 36 total, but an exceptional quality coming from two collections amassed during 50 years of passionate collecting on the part of the proprietors. The majority of these works are making their first appearance on the auction floor, which is an event in and of itself. The pieces include: six works from Joan MIRO, including the remarkable L’oiseau au plumage déployé vole vers l’arbre argenté (Bird with Feathers Unfurled Flying Toward the Silver Tree), 1953, estimated between GBP 7–9 million; eight works from René MAGRITTE (four oils and four watercolours); a rare Francis PICABIA, Mid-Lent (Mi-Carême), from 1925, estimated between USD 1–1.5 million; an Hans ARP relief estimated between USD 900,000–1.2 million; as well as Max Ernst, Yves Tanguy, Oscar Domínguez, Salvador Dalí, Paul Delvaux, Alberto Giacometti, André Masson, Matta, Odilon Redon and Antoni Tàpies. And with that, the major sales season will be well underway.