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Scott Reyburn from London reports mixed auction results for the New York Times: "Both totals were considerably lower than the $298 million and $297.2 million achieved by Christie's and Sotheby's at their equivalent sales last March. Experts are concerned that in the current geopolitical climate, this is a market with a softening middle, particularly for modern artworks. Because the global economy is not at its best time, many collectors reserve their works or make private sales,' said Weiyan Liu, a Shanghai-based art consultant, who was among a noticeably larger presence of Asian visitors in the London salesrooms now that China has lifted its coronavirus-related travel ban. I think the young artists are doing quite well," Liu said. "But I am not sure it's the case for modern artworks, except the ones with great provenance.'"
Anne Reimers sums up her view of the market situation in the FAZ: "Christie's, Sotheby's and Phillips all achieved the highest annual sales in their history last year, but the global economic climate has cooled noticeably. By contrast, with an international buyer base that has tended to grow in wealth over the pandemic years, local recession fears in the UK should have little impact. It all comes down to the right consignments in an environment where tastes and trends now change almost every two years and new collectors with deep pockets are less predictable. London as a location is holding its own despite the Brexit and although auctions in Paris and China are gaining profile and catering more specifically to local customer tastes."
Stephanie Dieckvoss expresses similar confidence in the Handelsblatt: "London continues to appeal to clients from all over the world, with an astonishing 60 per cent of bidders coming from the EMEA region, i.e. Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Overall, one should not underestimate the interest of European collectors and their buying power. Interest in Surrealism, especially in works by women and from countries outside France, continues to grow. The £39 million achieved for 32 of the 34 lots on offer confirms it."
Angelica Villa has compiled detailed results from the London auctions of Sotheby's, Christie's and Phillips at Artnews.
Sotheby's is holding its first presence auction in Cologne with prominent goods for a good cause, reports Ursula Scheer in the FAZ: "From the Ingvild Goetz Collection in Munich come 49 works, which Sotheby's is putting up for sale at four auctions - two in front of a room audience, two online - in Cologne and London; the first tranche at the company's first live auction of modern and contemporary art in Cologne's Palais Oppenheim. With the proceeds from the sale of works from her estate, Ingvild Goetz wants to support charitable causes, in particular a project she initiated against poverty among the elderly."
Artificial intelligence was the most prominent theme at Art Dubai, reports Aimee Dawson in The Art Newspaper, while Russian presence was more the elephant in the room: "For the first quarter of 2023, bookings to Dubai for premium class seats on Russian flights are already 103% ahead of the same quarter in 2019, according to travel data company ForwardKeys. The UAE hasn't sanctioned Russians as many countries in the West have so there is talk of a lot of so-called dirty money entering the country. This sudden flood of people is driving up real estate prices and once-struggling sectors like entertainment and hospitality are picking up again. [Fair director Benedetta] Ghione says Art Dubai has not seen a notable increase of any particular nationalities on their invite or patron list and gallerists were unsurprisingly tight-lipped about any Russian customers. So only time will tell what effect this potential new audience will have on Dubai's art scene."
The Pink Panther Gang from the Balkans is said to be behind the diamond heist at last year's Tefaf, summarises Shanti Escalante-De Mattei at Artnews other sources.
The New York Times allows itself an embarrassing lapse in its coverage of Tefaf, which it lets begin a week early last Saturday in its extensive pre-reporting of 2 March in a piece by Ted Loos: "the latest edition of the fair, known as TEFAF, opens on Saturday, running through March 19".
Artificial intelligence could help identify forgeries, reports Kevin Hanschke in the FAZ of 4 March: "The AI's verdict: the faces of Mary and the baby Jesus have a 96 percent probability of being attributed to Raphael, the figures of the boy John and Elizabeth to employees of his workshop. Art historians are less certain. But AI systems can not only recognise forgeries - they can also make them themselves. The art recognition team is working with staff at the Universities of Liverpool and Tilburg to identify fakes produced by AIs. It is also hoped that the software can be used in the verification of digitally created art."
The rise, fall and current resurgence of Dasha Zhukova is chronicled by Caitlin Moscatello in the New York Times: Sociologist and author Elisabeth "Schimpfössl said that in London, a similar sentiment about the Russian oligarchs is shared among the wealthy. People often ask me, highly intelligent people, 'Well, we allowed them in,' she said. They ask, how do we all of a sudden do a U-turn? It's not fair to them.'' She predicted that ultimately, many of the oligarchs will be rehabilitated, "in order to do normal business again as soon as possible. Back in New York, Ms. Zhukova is accruing more credentials in the art world. She is pursuing a master's degree in art history from N.Y.U. And in December, weeks after being named to the new Gagosian Gallery board, she was a chairwoman of the Met acquisitions gala, just as she had been the year before."
In the last few weeks, a job advertisement has been making the rounds, first in the social media, then in the classical media, its audacity rendering it speechless. Ursula Scheer picks up on it for the FAZ of 4 March: "The fact that the ad was not a parody, but meant to be taken seriously, gives an idea of all the blasphemy of people with enough money who want to be waited on like the emperor of China. Probably not. Why is it so irritating in the culture industry? Because in some romantic corner of their hearts, people still associate art with the true, the beautiful and the good." It is always astonishing how long cherished habits and views persist. According to Emily Colucci, who set the ball rolling with her blog filthy dreams, the art world couple is Tom Sachs and his wife Sarah Hoover.