© 2012 (Poetry, Art,Dance,Fashion,Music) "Bleed Ambition" #1 In The Arts & Music
There has been much chat about film star Jennifer Aniston, who was spotted encouraging boyfriend Justin Theroux to spend a record 450,000 dollars (of her money?) on a painting by highly rated US artist, Glenn Ligon, at a charity sale in New York to raise money for the people of Haiti. The sale, organised by New York dealer, David Zwirner, was a 13 million dollar sell-out and other records tumbled for Raymond Pettibon (820,000 dollars for a huge painting of a wave), and Algerian artist, Adel Abdessemed (350,000 dollars for a printed steel map of the world). Some comic relief was added when the auctioneer reprimanded tennis ace, John McEnroe for pulling out of the bidding on one lot, saying “You cannot be serious!” More serious for some, though, were the regular contemporary art auctions which struggled to meet estimates set in a more positive economic climate. At Phillips, dozens of works were offered without reserves, with one sculpture, estimated at 6,000 dollars selling for just 63 dollars.
In London, the more sedate LAPADA fair which takes place inside a tent in Berkeley Square, has just closed with dealers muttering words of encouragement about the market for older art and antiques. There was even a record price set when a nude portrait of a young girl by the early 20th century figurative painter, Dod Procter, sold on the stand of Clerkenwell Fine Art with an asking price of 100,000 pounds. The auction record for Proctor is barely half that.
A lawyer contacted me recently to value a collection of tribal art from a deceased estate. The owner had catalogued the collection beautifully, thinking it would be worth a substantial amount. Unfortunately, my enquiries revealed they were all recent works pretending to be old ones, and worth very little. Anyone looking to buy in this area should consult the experts, and where better to find them under one roof than in Cork Street, London, this week where a number of dealers have mounted a mini fair entitled Tribal Perspectives.
The next event on the international contemporary art calendar is the Frieze Art Fair and the attendant auctions which have muscled in, rather impolitely, on every week day and evening of the fair (October 12th – 15th). The four auctioneers estimate that they can sell between 111 million pounds and 157 million pounds of art or nearer 127 million pounds to 175 million if you include their commission charges, which is up significantly from last year’s 94 million pounds total. This is not great news for Frieze or any of the satellite London fair exhibitors, who will want every penny they can from visiting collectors.
Story of the week must go to the Chinese press which reported that that a painting, ‘Put Down Your Whip’ by Xu Beihong (1895 – 1953) which sold last year at auction in Beijing for 14 million dollars, is claimed to have been painted by an art student in the 1980’s. Ten former students signed an open letter to Southern Weekly stating that the painting had been ‘a class exercise from one of us.’