Sotheby’s Acquires Art Advisory Firm Art Agency, Partners

In a somewhat surprising move, Sotheby’s announced today it will pay $50 million in cash to acquire the art advisory firm Art Agency, Partners and create a new Fine Art Division run by AAP’s Amy Cappellazzo and Allan Schwartzman. The deal could reportedly total $85 million if the performance benchmarks over the next five years. The left-field […]

Top 10 Most Expensive Living European Artists at Auction in 2015

Although modern European artists were the big performers at auction in 2015, contemporary art remains the most profitable market segment by far. Buoyed by increased participation of international collectors from emerging markets, media attention driven by large price tags, and the perception of glamour generated by events such as Art Basel Miami Beach, the market […]

Gerhard Richter Says He’s Shocked by the State of the Art Market

The most expensive living artist in Europe, Gerhard Richter, criticized the art market and denounced the hype surrounding contemporary artists, including himself, as a “cult of personality.” Speaking to the German weekly Die Zeit, the 83-year-old painter said the exorbitant prices his artworks achieve at auction were proof of how “insanely the art market has developed,” […]

Top 10 Most Expensive Living Female Artists

It is beyond a doubt that female artists have had a strong year, both in the studio and at auction. Compared to our look over the past ten years, 2015 brings some new faces into the mix, as conceptual wunderkind Tauba Auerbach joins painters Paula Rego and Beatriz Milhazes on the hallowed list of heavy hitters at […]

Sotheby’s Reassuring $294M Contemporary Evening Sale

The contemporary art market settled down to a steadier pace at Sotheby’s New York Wednesday evening, turning in a solid and respectable $294,850,000 sale for the 44 lots that sold. Ten of the 54 lots offered failed to sell for a trim buy-in rate by lot of 18.5 percent. Five works sold for more than $15 […]

CHRISTIE’S ‘ARTIST MUSE’ SALE NETS $491.4 M., LED BY A $170.4 M. MODIGLIANI, THE SECOND-HIGHEST PRICE EVER REALIZED AT AUCTION

Amedeo Modigliani’s Nu Couché (1917–18) soared past its already astronomical $100 million on-request estimate en route to a record-smashing price of $170.4 million at Christie’s Monday night, making the magnificent nude portrait the second-most-expensive painting ever sold at auction—and, in a twist, a high point in an otherwise surprisingly tepid evening. The Artist’s Muse, the auction house’s […]

Paddle8, Online Auction House Aims to Give Big Houses a Run for Their Money

Think of an auction house, and centuries-old institutions like Sotheby’s and Christie’s probably spring to mind.  But a four-year-old start-up believes that it can become something of an online equivalent to those companies — and it has drawn big-name backers from the art world along the way. The venture, Paddle8, plans to announce on Wednesday […]

Auction Houses Jockey to Lead Sales in First Big Market Test

Art auctions used to be a gentlemen’s business. Now the gloves are off. As art sales face their first major test since the August financial market rout, auction houses are jockeying not only for trophy artworks but also for the best positions to highlight them at the November auctions in New York. The result is […]

Art Market Bracing for an Uncertain Sales Season

LONDON — The international art market is gearing up for a hectic autumn of auctions and fairs. Trading conditions could be challenging. Shanghai’s Composite Index of Shares has lost more than 35 percent of its value since June, destabilizing stock markets across the world. Slowing growth in China has depressed oil and commodity prices, tipping […]

Art, Not Sotheby’s Profit, at Records in Fight for Works

The art market is going from record to record, so why aren’t the auction houses making more money? Sotheby’s reported an unexpected second-quarter decline Friday in part because it lost money on a painting that sold for less than anticipated. The news sent its shares down 7.5 percent to $37.49 in New York on Friday, […]

A Fearful Frenzy: The Art Market Now

Life has been happier for many of us in the art world since we stopped caring about runaway commerce in art, which has seemed—but only seemed—to reduce all measures of aesthetic value to raw price. Sure, the billion-plus dollars shaken loose, since May, at three New York and London auctions of modern and contemporary works—with […]

Stroke of genius: Peter Doig’s eerie art whisks the mind to enchanted places

Amid the impostures that sometimes pass for 21st-century art, Doig’s record-breaking compositions are jewels of imagination and haunting vision. It must be the most expensive canoe in history. This week in Manhattan a painting by Edinburgh-born Peter Doig of a small white boat lost in a tangle of weeds and tree stumps in some remote […]

Phillips Opens Massive New Flagship in London

Phillips announced the opening of a new auction house and exhibition space in the exclusive address of Berkeley Square, London, on Monday. The official opening will take place during October’s buzzing Frieze Art Fair week. The relocation is part of an ambitious plan to propel Phillip beyond its long-standing third-place position in the auctioneering game (“Ostrowski […]

Scratches in the Art Market Gilding

LONDON — Sometimes art can be difficult to understand. Sometimes the art market can be even more baffling. Back in December, the contemporary dealer David Zwirnersaid in a New Yorker profile that art was “an industry in its golden age.” His point seemed to have been proven during the June 17 preview of the Art Basel fair in […]

The Race to Find New Art Collectors

In early May, Christie’s invited a group of 18 new collectors from China to visit New York. The auction house escorted the guests on guided tours through the Museum of Modern Art, arranged VIP tickets to a local art fair and threw a lavish dinner in the Rockefeller Center ballroom of Christie’s. Auctioneers also reserved […]

Bidding Up: Escalating Prices are Putting Pressure on Dealers to Double Down on their Own Artists

When artists agree to be represented by a gallery, they usually work out with the gallery owner such matters as the amount of the dealer’s commission; how often their work will be exhibited in solo or group shows; the price of their artworks; that sort of thing. Another expectation, usually not as explicitly stated but increasingly […]

A Warhol With Your Moose Head? Sotheby’s Teams With EBay

Convinced that consumers are finally ready to shop online for Picassos and choice Persian rugs in addition to car parts and Pez dispensers, Sotheby’s, the blue-chip auction house, and eBay, the Internet shopping giant, plan to announce Monday that they have formed a partnership to stream Sotheby’s sales worldwide. Starting this fall, most of Sotheby’s […]

10 Game-Changing Auctions

Art Basel and the London summer auctions are behind us, and the auction market continues to hit unprecedented peaks. But today’s records and art stars came straight out of yesterday’s headline-grabbing auctions. With that in mind, we take a look back at some major milestones of the last few decades—from the 1973 sale that arguably […]

Tracey Emin’s My Bed is up for sale at what may be a dream price to some

The furore around the work, complete with vodka bottles and pregnancy tests, helped to give lift-off to Emin’s career. Few pieces of art have divided opinion quite like My Bed – in whichTracey Emin claimed to have spent a week after a bad break-up. Complete with vodka bottles, cigarette butts and pregnancy tests, the installation didn’t […]

Fun Frieze Week Guide – NYC 2014

BAC is off to Frieze NY for the 3rd instalment of this excellent Fair (hopefully it will be a little less, ah, dramatic, this time…).  Lots of other things are happening in New York at the same time, including the “satellite” Art Fairs: NADA, PULSE, and even “outsiders” are invited, to the Outsider Art Fair. […]