Christie’s Offers $240 Bargains; Montrachet, Magritte Top Sales
Christie’s International is to lure new collectors with an “affordable” art sale.
The “90s to NOW” event on Nov. 20 will include more than 170 lots by established and emerging artists, priced from 150 pounds ($241) to 20,000 pounds. It will be held at Christie’s St. James’s headquarters, which rarely accepts individual entries estimated at less than 1,000 pounds. The event is scheduled to move to the company’s lower-value South Kensington rooms next year.
“It’s all about an affordable zeitgeist,” Francis Outred, Christie’s international director of contemporary art, said. “We want to accommodate all levels of collector so they pick up the auction bug. Getting new bidders to register is the key.”
Auction houses are seeking to encourage buyers such as those who attend London’s Affordable Art fair, whose latest edition runs in Hampstead from Nov. 1-4. Bonhams already has “20/21” sales in London and Phillips de Pury & Co. conducts “Under the Influence” auctions in New York.
Christie’s will include works such Marilyn Minter’s 2004 C- print “Bridle,” valued at 7,000 pounds to 10,000 pounds. Albert Oehlen’s 2000 etching, “Kiefer’s Brain is Still Alive” has a low estimate of 600 pounds.
A Rene Magritte painting fetched the top price of 5.1 million euros ($6.6 million) with fees at a 19.1 million-euro sale at Sotheby’s (BID) Paris of the collection of Zaira and Marsel Mis.
Magritte’s 1962-1963 “La Grande Table,” showing a colossal stone apple on a beach, sold to a private European buyer. The price, just above the presale upper estimate of 5 million euros based on hammer prices, was an auction record for the artist in France.
Sotheby’s found buyers for 86 percent of the 71 lots. Andy Warhol’s 1979 silkscreen painting “Four Multicolored Marilyns (Reversal Series)” sold to a U.S. collector for 3.2 million euros against an upper estimate of 2 million euros.
Also in Paris, the five-day Fiac art fair at the Grand Palais had 70,644 visitors, a 3.7 percent increase on last year, the organizers said. A 1962 Alexander Calder mobile priced in excess of 2.5 million euros on the booth of the Brussels-based dealership Galerie Vedovi was among confirmed sales.
“Dealers hold back their better things for FIAC,” the London-based adviser Wendy Goldsmith said in an interview. “There are serious modern works, and the fair has benefited from bringing contemporary galleries into the Grand Palais.”
The previous week, the 10th edition of the Frieze London fair drew 55,000 visitors, while the inaugural edition of Frieze Masters -- featuring a mix of modern and historic works -- attracted 28,000. The combination of Frieze’s cutting-edge contemporary works with Masters’ more highly priced older material created a new rivalry with Paris, dealers said.
“Frieze Week is now so overwhelming with its fairs, gallery openings and auctions,” Goldsmith said. “Buyers can find it hard to focus. At least with Eurostar they can easily go to both.”
Online bidders bought a record 42 per cent of the lots at an auction of investment-grade wines in London.
Sotheby’s Oct. 24 sale of 970 lots raised 1.4 million pounds with fees, in line with the high estimate, based on hammer prices. All but 41 of the lots found buyers.
“This was the highest participation since we started online bidding three years ago,” Stephen Mould, Sotheby’s European head of wine, said in a statement.
Asian-based Internet bidders won the four most expensive lots in the sale, topped by 12,925 pounds for six bottles of Domaine de la Romanee Conti’s 1997 Montrachet. This white Burgundy Grand Cru was valued at 6,500 pounds to 8,000 pounds.
Film director Michael Winner is selling more than 100 original book illustrations at Sotheby’s London on Dec. 12.
The lots include E.H. Shepard’s first depiction of Winnie- the-Pooh with Christopher Robin and other works by Beatrix Potter, William Heath Robinson and John Tenniel. The auction is estimated to raise more than 1 million pounds.
(Scott Reyburn writes about the art market for Muse, the arts and culture section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)
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