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, […]

The Art Market: now what?

This week saw the first post-Brexit art auctions in London, and they brought considerable cheer to a market predominantly dismayed at the Leave decision. To a backdrop of a declining exchange rate for the pound and Britain losing its AAA rating status, on Monday Phillips turned in a modest total of £9.8m hammer (£11.9m with […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Met and the Now

America’s preëminent museum finally embraces contemporary art. Gertrude Stein’s famous remark that “you can be a museum or you can be modern, but you can’t be both” sounds archaic today. Every self-respecting urban center has its museum of modern art, and climate-change-denying business leaders will spend lavishly to get their name on its walls. The […]

Sotheby’s Shares Rise on its Acquisition of Art Agency, Partners

In a dramatic development for the auction industry, Sotheby’s announced on Monday that it had acquired Art Agency, Partners, a two-year old, New York-based art advisory company, for $50 million plus built-in performance fees that could elevate that number to $85 million over the next four years. “AAP’s profitable business helps drive initiatives that are […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

The road to Ai Weiwei

Having settled in at the RA, Marlow is about to launch his first major exhibition: the work of Ai Weiwei, the Chinese dissident artist who was imprisoned without charge in 2011 and released on condition that he should give up his passport. A thorn in the Chinese government’s side for two decades, he has made […]

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 […]

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, […]