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Kobel's Art Weekly

Simonas Šileika, Ukrainian Farmer Steals Russian Tank; free via
Simonas Šileika, Ukrainian Farmer Steals Russian Tank; free via
Stefan Kobel

Stefan Kobel

Kobel's Art Weekly 20 2022

"Emergency Money for Ukraine" is the name of a charity auction that the Cologne auction house Van Ham is holding in two parts as an online and live auction as part of its Modern Week from May 20 to June 2. A total of 40 lots will be offered. The usual buyer's premium will be due, but it will also be donated. The catalog for the live auction can be downloaded here (PDF), and the online auction will be launched on May 20.

The Victoria & Albert Museum is facing the question of what to do with the Fabergé eggs belonging to sanctioned oligarch Viktor Vekselberg after the exhibition ends, Martin Bailey reports in The Art Newspaper: "It is not yet clear how artworks deposited by an oligarch in a private museum in Russia and currently on loan to a UK museum would be treated under sanctions. The fact that the Vekselberg purchases are now owned by a Panamanian company adds a further layer of complexity."

Andy Warhol's Marilyn fetched $195 million with buyer's premium at Christie's, as Barbara Kutscher, among others, notes in her report from the evening sale in the Handelsblatt.

Angelica Villa criticizes at Artnews that the painting did not reach its estimated price: "Offered without a financial guarantee, the painting hammered at a bid of $170 million, going to Gagosian, the room bidder, for a final price of $195 million. The hammer price was $30 million below the $200 million estimate upon request that Christie's had given it ahead of the auction."

Analyst Marion Maneker even quips at LiveArt, compared to a previous private sale of another painting in the series, that's a drop, and he questions what the result means for the owners of the other versions: "Where does this leave the other Marilyns? Gagosian presumably bought the painting for a client. That client got a good deal considering someone else paid $240 million for the Orange Marilyn five years ago. Where does that leave the Light Blue Marilyn owned by 75-year-old Peter Brant and the Red one owned by 68-year-old Philip Niarchos? Brant is a bit older than Marcos. It may be too soon for either to think about the disposition of their collections. Presumably a huge sale for the Shot Sage Blue Marilyn would have set up an enormous payday for the light blue one. That sale will probably have to wait until the next upswing in global markets." This idiosyncratic interpretation probably reflects the logic of a market theory, according to which a price paid is also an appropriate price and therefore valid. Anything less than that would have to be considered a loss.

The overall result of Christie's can be seen, finds Barabara Kutscher in the Handelsblatt: "In total, the evening contributed 831.3 million dollars to Christie's current weekly income, which - with still outstanding daily auctions - so far adds up to 1.25 billion dollars. Also proving its worth was the inclusion of important 'Americana'. [...] Christie's now offered Emanuel Leutze's history painting 'Washington Crossing the Delaware' (1851) with a very illustrious exhibition history. From 1979 to 2014, the history-rich painting had even hung in the White House in Washington, D.C.. Four bidders lifted it from a minimum expected $15 million to $45 million." For a 19th century work beyond Impressionism, that is indeed a remarkable price.

A glimpse of the future was provided by the results of Christie's contemporary auction, notes Robin Pogrebin in the New York Times: "On Tuesday, Christie's turned its attention to some of those prospects at its 21st century contemporary evening sale - which totaled $103 million, on a high estimate of $106 million. The auction of 31 works brought strong prices for works by Black artists like Amoako Boafo, Reggie Burrows Hodges and Ouattara Watts. Also faring well were women - including Shara Hughes, Ewa Juszkiewicz, Elizabeth Peyton and Lisa Yuskavage - along with relative unknowns like the 27-year-old painter Anna Weyant, whom the mega dealer Larry Gagosian recently started representing (and dating). And Refik Anadol, a Turkish-American data artist, offered the evening's only NFT. 'We are defining what will be the next great generation of artists,' said Ana Maria Celis, a Christie's specialist. 'Ultimately the market will decide that.'" Of note in this context, Larry Gagosian has a new girlfriend whose paintings are fetching million-dollar prices right off the bat. And it now seems so self-evident that the art history of the future is written by today's auction houses that the assembled press doesn't even laughs at the employee who lets such a phrase cross her lips.

In her auction review for the Financial Times, Melanie Gerlis mentions rather in passing the new consignment tool that allows collectors to offer works from the David Zwirner Gallery for sale.

A little more modest, but still impressive, is the 4.7 million euros that the Dorotheum in Vienna achieved for a Maria Magdalena by Titian, as Nicole Scheyerer reports in the FAZ.

Two Dix watercolors restituted from Gurlitt's estate will be auctioned by Ketterer in Munich on June 10, the company announced in a press release.

London is alive, Stephanie Dieckvoss is convinced in the Handelsblatt on the occasion of the Gallery Weekend there: "More than ten young galleries have opened in London since the pandemic and after the Brexit. This partly contradicts the often heard thesis of drastically reduced business in London. New openings show courage and commitment, especially since the target audience is primarily local at the moment. Jeremy Epstein, Gallerist at Edel Assanti and co-founder of Gallery Weekend points out to Handelsblatt: 'Although international visitors are not yet at pre-pandemic levels, this phase has brought about a collaborative spirit. Opportunities have arisen that have energized the local gallery ecosystem. These have been seized by London gallerists with both hands.'"

An NFT triptych created in a collaboration by Beeple ("Holy fuck!") and Madonna ("Like a virgin") was auctioned last week on SuperRare for charity. The three individual images fetched prices ranging from about $130,000 to $340,000. At Monopol there is a presale report from the auction day.

NFTs were yesterday. Now hood art is coming back. Andreas Donath reports at golem about a revolutionary new printing technology: "ABB sprayed the works of young artist Advait Kolarkar and geometric motifs by the design collective Illusorr from Dubai onto a car to demonstrate the possible applications of the technology." Advait Kolarkar is eight years old and has just had his first solo exhibition at a gallery on London's King's Road.

Three U.S. models of an unconditional basic income for artists are featured by Hakim Bishara in the Financial Times. Creatives Rebuild New York, he says, is the largest program, at $125 million, which gave 2,400 artists $1,000 each for 18 months. Twenty-two thousand people applied, he said.

On the Forbes billionaires list, Monopol has been looking for art collectors and has already found Bernrad Arnault in third place. Archrival François Pinault follows in 32nd place, and Reinhold Würth is listed as the richest German art collector with starting number 84.

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