German contemporary art a big draw as artists come to terms with past

Sotheby’s says ‘unprecedented interest’ with buyers tuning in to postwar masters’ attempts to use work to confront history. For years, contemporary art sales at the world’s leading auction houses were dominated by the works of American and British artists. When it came to eye-watering amounts of money, paintings by anglophone figures including Andy Warhol, Jackson […]

Has the Art Market Become an Unwitting Partner in Crime?

When you sell your home the paperwork details the sale, including your name, and the title search lists the names of the people who owned the property before you. But when someone sells an artwork at auction — even something worth $100 million, much more than your house — the identity is typically concealed. Oh, […]

Legendary Filmmaker John Waters On the Audacity of Cy Twombly – Video

What is like to live with a work by post-war master Cy Twombly? According to legendary filmmaker John Waters, it’s “great because every day when you pass it you think of his nerve. The audacity of him doing this.” Watch this video to find out more about John Waters’ longstanding admiration for the artist (it is […]

Why the ‘Uber effect’ is proving elusive for online platforms

Barely a month goes by without the launch of an online initiative that aims to disrupt the art market and bring the “Uber and Airbnb effect” to art transactions. But witness the crowds pacing the aisles at a big-league art fair, or spilling out of the salesrooms during the evening auctions, and the impact of […]

Richard Serra’s 10 Most Expensive Artworks at Auction

Iconoclastic American artist Richard Serra launched an exhibition of his latest steel behemoths at Gagosian Gallery in New York this past Saturday, featuring four new works: Above Below Betwixt Between,Every Which Way, Silence (for John Cage), and Through. It’s the thirtieth big show at the gallery for the artist, who splits his time between New York and Nova Scotia. Suffice it to say, the […]

4 Shifts in the “Unpredictable Art Market” You Should Know About

A lawyer, a financier, an art advisor, and a journalist walk into a room… It sounds like the start to a bad gallery dinner joke. But at The Armory Show the topic of discussion was serious: “How to Optimize the Unpredictable Art Market.” In a testament to the topic’s immediacy, moderator and Financial Times columnist […]

10 things to know about Yayoi Kusama

Florence Waters takes a closer look at the life and work of the woman behind the dots — the world’s most popular artist of 2015. Illustrated with works offered in our forthcoming Post-War and Contemporary Art auctions in London. 1. Painting became an act of rebellion for Kusama when she was just a child. Her […]

Stieglitz, Steichen & Weston — how photography became a modern art form

The first decades of the 20th century were among the most fruitful periods of artistic production of the modern era, especially for the still-fledgling art of photography. In New York, just after the turn of the century, a small circle of photographic visionaries revolved around the magnetic figure of Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946), whose influence as […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Has the Market for ‘Zombie Formalists’ Evaporated?

“No one wants to be a market darling,” an art dealer once told me. It’s the art world equivalent of a one-hit wonder, where sudden stardom and outsize demand for a particularly hot artist creates intense pressure, and has the potential to create unsustainable spikes in his or her market and career. Notwithstanding the fact that the […]

The new reserve currency for the world’s rich is not actually currency

Here’s an interesting question: If the world’s economy is filling markets with a pervasive sense of uncertainty, why is the art market picking up steam for yet another season of what would appear to be massive sales?  For the very rich, art is a store of value—which is not a very new idea and one […]

Mapplethorpe Print at Center of Culture Wars Returns to Public Eye

Twenty-five years ago this month, a Cincinnati jury wrote an exclamation point into the story of the culture wars that were raging through art museums and academia. The jury acquitted that city’s Contemporary Arts Center and its director of criminal obscenity charges for exhibiting a group of photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe, graphic sexual images that […]

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 […]

Emerging Art Cools Down

LONDON — The art market is a notoriously opaque business. And over the past couple of years the highly speculative trade in emerging artists has given off plenty of heat. In 2014, recently made works by young abstract painters like Oscar Murillo, Lucien Smith, Alex Israel, Mark Flood and Christian Rosa were being “flipped” at […]

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 […]

Soaring Art Market Attracts a New Breed of Advisers for Collectors

For decades, art advisers were a small club of professionals who personally helped build collections for clients, using their scholarship and connoisseurship. Their role was to consult and offer expertise, rarely to make deals. But the rapidly changing art market — characterized by soaring prices, high fees and a host of wealthy new buyers from […]

Instagram Takes on Growing Role in the Art Market

Anyone in the art market who was not already paying attention to the social media platform Instagram had to sit up and take notice in April after the actor Pierce Brosnan visited the showroom of Phillips auction house in London. Mr. Brosnan snapped a selfie in front of a work he admired: the “Lockheed Lounge,” […]