Thursday, November 19, 2015

Contemporary Art: Masterpieces For Everyone?

(Drivebycuriosity) - Contemporary art has the reputation to be very expensive & exclusive, a luxury just for the one-percent. For instance the rock icon David Byrne claims that "the art world caters to the 1%. It’s obvious that the outrageous prices for contemporary art mean that—although anyone can look—only the very wealthy can afford it" (driveby).

My frequent visits at New York`s art galleries show me that this is not true. Last week´s auctions for contemporary art in Manhattan confirmed this. There were many art works available for a price below $30,000. Art works are luxury of course, but many pieces cost around the same or even less than a middle class car and are avaible for many people. Contemporary art could be used as high-end consumer goods (like SUVs, expensive furniture and such). Buyers could  upgrade their homes,  indulge themselves and  impress friends, neighbors & family.

Below you can see a collection of affordable paintings sold at last week`s contemporary art fall auctions @ Sotheby`s, Christie´s & Phillips - as usual a very subjective selection. 

Last week Phillips, the number three in the auction world (phillips), sold "Waiting Crowd" by Wayne Gonzales (2007, acrylic on canvas) for $16,250. It had been estimated in the range of $8,000-12,000. The painting fascinates me by the technique. From close I could just see black & white brush strokes, just from some distance the picture - the crowd - got recognizable.

Below you can see more from the Phillips auction:

Paul Jenkins`s "Phenomena Spectrum Crossing" (1983, acrylic on canvas) was sold for $37,500 (estimate: $25,000-35,000);

David Levinthal`s "Untitled (From Barbie Series)" (2008, pigment print on canvas) was sold for $37,500 (estimate: $30,000-40,000).

"Six Red Barbras (Jewish Jackie Series)" by  Deborah Kass,  which reminds me of Warhol´s portraits,  (1992, synthetic polymer and silkscreen ink on canvas) stayed unsold (estimate: $15,000-20,000).

"Old Street 6" by Slawomir Elsner (2007, oil on canvas) stayed also unsold (estimate $8,000-12,000).

Paulina Olowska`s, Romance Talking (2000, acrylic on canvas) (estimate $8,000-12,000) was sold for $7,500.

 Enrico David`s "Untitled (2007, acrylic on canvas) (estimate $20,000-25,000) was sold for "$25,000.

"Now Wut" by  Leo Gabin (2011, laquer, spray paint, acrylic and silkscreen on canvas) (estimate $15,000-20,000) was sold for $17,500.

"King Bee" (2001) by Charline von Heyl (estimate $15,000 - 20,000) was sold for $17,500.

Martin Eder`s "Untitled (698MEgirl05/05)" from 2005 (Estimate $3,000 - 5,000) was sold for $8,750.

Tom Wesselmann`s "Study for Smoker #27" from 1978 (Estimate $20,000 - 30,000) was sold for $23,750.

The much larger competitor Christie`s offered last week the powerful "Phenomena Onyx Ox Eye" by Paul Jenkins (1981, acrylic on canvas) for estimated $20,000-30,000.

                                                          White House In Silver

Sotheby´s, the other powerhouse in the auction world, also had some bargains last week (sothebys). They sold "Oscar Wilde" by Deter Dalwood  (2003, oil on canvas) (estimate: $40,000-60,000) for $43,750. Below that you can see "Dui" by Christian Rosa which left the house for $30,000 (estimate: $15,000-20,000) followed by "World Traveler (Hotel Room)" by Inka Essenhigh  (2004, oil on linen) (estimate $18,000-22,000). Unsold.

Sohteby´s also  offered John Altoon`s "Untitled (F-8A) (1962-63, pastel and ink on illustration board) for $20,000-30,000 (above); unsold as well.

But they could see "Yellow House" by Alex Katz for $40,000 plus Petra Cortright´s "Metal Canopy Bed" for the same price (both below:)

Jonathan Meese´s "Hagen von Trontje´s Privatarmee" (below) was sold for $30,000 (estimate: $20,000-30,000).

And someone got @ Sotheby`s Wayne Gonzale´s "Untitled (White House - Silver) for just $8,750 (estimate: $10,000-$12,000)

It seems there was something for every taste and for (almost) every budget. Masterpieces for everyone.

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