Sunday, November 19, 2017

Contemporary Art: Impressions From New York`s Fall Auctions 2017

(Drivebycuriosity) - Last week´ s auctions in New York showed the status quo of the art market. The auctions for post war & contemporary art @ Sotheby`s, Christie`s & Phillips (my reports Sotheby`s  Christie`s Phillips) brought together $ 1,5 billion. The numbers were inflated because Christie`s packed Leonardo da Vinci`s painting "Salvator Mundi" (created ca. 1500) into their Contemporary & Postwar Art Evening Sales. The marketing trick created a lot of buzz and long lines on the street and the painting was sold for $ 450.3 million! The bids came from every part of the world, declared the auction house (artnews).

Not every pundit was impressed by the Renaissance painting: “Even making allowances for its extremely poor state of preservation, it is a curiously unimpressive composition and it is hard to believe that Leonardo himself was responsible for anything so dull,” wrote Charles Hope, an emeritus professor at the Warburg Institute at the University of London (artnews).

But the rest - all created after World War II -  had solid sales, a sign that the art market is in a robust health. Apparently the global art market is again following the stock markets which climbed to all-time high. History shows that stock markets & art markets walk side by side. Art is not only bought by collectors, who love it and want to own it, art is also purchased by investors & speculators who hope to sell it later for a higher price. These people consider art as an asset, comparable to stocks, bonds & real estate - and as long as they become more wealthy, they spend more for art.


Phillips (altogether more than $ 150 million sales) sold my personal favorite,  Peter Doig`s "Red House" (1995–96) for $21.1 million.  I envy that buyer.  Franz Kline`s "Sayer" sold for $9,9 million and someone took Richard Prince`s "Mystery Nurse" home for $3,25 million.

Sotheby`s ($ 413 million) auctioned Andy Warhol`s "Mao" (1972)  for $32.4 million; Francis Bacon`s "Three Studies of George Dyer" (1966") sold for $36.8 million and Jean-Michel Basquiat´s "Cabra" was bought for $10,9 million.

Christie´s  ($ 890 million, ex Da Vinci $ 440 million) sold Andy Warhol‘s massive "Sixty Last Suppers" (1986, on top of this post) for $60.9 million and Cy Twombly`s "Untitled" (2005) for $46.4 million. Mark Rothko`s  "Saffron" went for $32,375 million. 

The auction houses looked like huge museums and together they over-trumped any major museum exhibition of contemporary art I know including New York´s MoMa, Los Angeles`"Broad" and Chicago`s Art Institute. Plus which, admission was free, and taking pictures was permitted! Priceless.


Friday, November 17, 2017

Economics: Are Americans Getting Poorer?

(Drivebycuriosity) - If we believe the media the world is in a sour state. Many articles still refer to recession of 2008 and lament how bad life in America still is. Reading New York Times and other liberal media you get the impressions that Americans are getting poorer every day. But the media reports are biased and they paint a picture which doesn´t reflect the economic reality in the US. If you want to see the economic status quo in the US you might take a look on the chart below ( calculatedriskblog).

The blue curve represents the US retail sales, including food & gasoline. The red line is without gasoline sales. Both lines have been smoothly growing since 2009 and are much higher than the peak before the 2008 recession. Retail sales grew 4.6% in the recent 12 months (plus 4.1% ex-gasoline).

The smooth growth of the US retail, which is large part of consumer spending, shows that America is doing well and is even getting better. Forget the lies of New York Times & Co.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Contemporary Art: Fall Auctions 2017 - A Visit @ Christie`s, New York

(Drivebycuriosity) - It´s auction season again. This week the global auction houses are performing their huge fall auctions in New York City. My wife and I went to Christie`s, one of the global mega art traders  (christies).  The place looks like a huge museum and could easily compete with New York´s Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) and other prestigious art institutions. As usual they display the art work to be auctioned on several floors (galleries @ 20 Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan) - and the entrance is free!

Their catalogues has about 400 items, a very impressive survey of contemporary art. I spotted many of my favorites, but also discovered some new & fascinating artists. I display here just my favorites from the exhibitions of  Post War & Contemporary Art, a very subjective selection as usual.

The people on the top above are admiring Cy Twombly`s mural "Untitled" (2005, acrylic on canvas, 128 x 194 1/2 in. (325.1 x 494 cm.) and Richard Prince`s "Limp" (Estimate USD 500,000 - USD 700,000).

I was happy to spot many works by my favorite artists, including Peter Doig´s "Almost Grown" (Estimate USD 10,000,000 - USD 15,000,000) and Mark Tansey`s "Artist 1" (Estimate USD 150,000 - USD 200,000).

The same applies to John Currin`s "Gold Nude" (Estimate USD 6,000,000 - USD 8,000,000) & Alex Katz`s  "Tilda" (Estimate USD 250,000 - USD 350,000).

                                                            Funny & Surrealistic

I am a big fan of Neo Rauch`s funny & surrealistic paintings as well. Above you can see his "Moder" (Estimate USD 250,000 - USD 350,000) & "Acker" (Estimate USD 500,000 - USD 700,000).

There were some fascinating discoveries as well. I have never heard of Karin Mamma Andersson, but I really enjoyed her painting "About a Girl" (Estimate USD 100,000 - USD 150,000). I am amazed by Zhang Xiaogang`s "In-Out Series No 11" as well (Estimate USD 150,000 - USD 200,000) .

Above some images by artists who like to make jokes, starting with "Eden Rock" by Richard Prince (Estimate USD 60,000 - USD 80,000), followed by "Catboy" by Eric Fischl (Estimate USD 180,000 - USD 250,000) &  "Orangenesser I (Remix)" by Georg Baselitz ( Estimate USD 300,000 - USD 500,000).

I wasn`t aware that New York`s JFK airport can be so beautiful: Enoc PĂ©rez`s "TWA Terminal, Kennedy Airport, New York" (2006, Estimate USD 50,000 - USD 70,000).

With greetings from the Orient: "Odalisque With a Turkish Chair, After Matisse" by Vik Muniz (2006, chromogenic print flush-mounted on Lifoflex, Estimate USD 40,000 - USD 60,000)

 Above David Wojnarowicz`s "Mexico Crucifix" (Estimate USD 80,000 - USD 120,000).

She`s focusing on Ives Klein`s "Venus Bleue" (Estimate: USD 80,000 - USD 120,000)

Spotting a work by Anselm Kiefer always makes my day. Above you can see his "Makulisten, Immakulisten" (Estimate USD 600,000 - USD 800,000) followed by
"Sol Invictus Elagabal" "Sol Invictus Elagabal" (Estimate USD 300,000 - USD 500,000).

Above Robert Rauschenberg`s collage "Sprinkler [Anagram (A Pun)] (Estimate USD 150,000 - USD 250,000).

                                                    Invitation To Meditate

Mark Rothko`s  "Saffron" (Estimate USD 25,000,000 - USD 35,000,000) is an invitation to meditate. The same applies to Robert Motherwell`s Open No 103: Big Square Blue (Estimate USD 2,000,000 - USD 3,000,000).

There were more gorgeous abstract paintings of course, including Friedel Dzubas` "Apparition" (Estimate USD 20,000 - USD 30,000);  Franz Kline`s  "Light Mechanic" (no estimate);  Gerhard Richter`s "Fuji" (Estimate USD 300,000 - USD 500,000) & Hans Hofmann`s  "Enigma" (Estimate USD 3,000,000 - USD 5,000,000).

Michael Krebber`s "Small attempt at surprise with known motive" caught my eyes because it`s surprising composition.  At first glance the painting seems to have some accidental spots, but if you look closer you can see that they are placed with purpose to make the painting somewhat unruly   (Estimate USD 40,000 - USD 60,000).

"Untitled"  by Lee Bontecou makes a hypnotic impression and seems to suck the viewer into it  (1962, graphite and soot on muslin, 60 1/4 x 57 in. (153 x 144.7 cm., Estimate USD 400,000 - USD 600,000).

                                                         Sixty Last Suppers 

Above "Vieille Reine et Courtisan" by Jean Dubuffet (Estimate USD 2,500,000 - USD 3,500,000).

Ali Banisadr`s "The Marvels of the East" seems to open a window into an alternate universe     (Estimate USD 250,000 - USD 350,000).

The people above are admiring Andy Warhol`s "Sixty Last Suppers" (1986, acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas,116 x 393 in. (294.6 x 998.2 cm.)

I am grateful that they allow humble spectators like us to visit and enjoy all the precious displays. And they didn`t mind that I took pictures to expand my personal image collection.

To be continued.