5 Disruptive Trends Art Galleries Need to Understand If They Want to Survive

At this year’s Talking Galleries symposium in Barcelona, the debates boiled down to a few core issues. Here they are: 1. The Scale and Pace of the Gallery Sector Have Become Cancerous for Many. 2. Different Tiers of Galleries Are Now Playing Different Games With Different Rules. 3. The Art Industry Must Break Out of […]

From Van Gogh to Richter—what happens when bidders fail to pay up at auction?

Flaky winning bids are knocking the gloss off record-breaking sales. Shortly before Christie’s sale of post-war and contemporary art in New York on 15 November 2017, the auction house learnt of a potential new bidder: a little-known Saudi prince, Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud. According to the New York Times, a scramble […]

How to sell a billion worth of art

This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio.   BARRY RITHOLTZ, ANCHOR, BLOOMBERG:  This week on the podcast I have a special guest.  Her name is Brooke Lampley.  She was the former head of impressionist and modern art at Christie’s.  She is the incoming Chairperson of Fine Art Sotheby’s and this is a […]

The Kippenberger Conundrum: How the Wildly Prolific Artist’s Artist Became an Eight-Figure Auction Darling

It was the peak of the 2014 fall auction season in New York, and though nearly two decades had gone by since Martin Kippenberger’s death of liver failure in 1997, the artist’s market had never been hotter. Prior to its bellwether postwar and contemporary evening sale, Christie’s had set the estimate for a prized 1988 […]

The False Narrative of Damien Hirst’s Rise and Fall

The rise and fall of Damien Hirst is an oft-told tale of hubris and nemesis. An art-world superstar in the nineteen-nineties and early two-thousands, Hirst made white-hot works—the most infamous of which involved animals immersed in formaldehyde—whose prices only ever went up. He got rich, his galleries got rich, his collectors got rich, everybody was happy. But, then, […]

Why Would Anyone Pay $450 Million for the ‘Salvator Mundi’? Because They’re Not Buying the Painting

An attempt to psychoanalyze the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi.’ Every May and November, many around the art world wonder aloud—with varying degrees of frustration—why so much of the media fixates its auction coverage on star lots and gaudy prices. The 36-hour frenzy following Christie’s sale of Salvator Mundi (circa 1500), the so-called “Last da […]

The Art Market Moves East: How Gagosian, David Zwirner, and 14 Other Western Art Businesses Are Trying to Expand to Asia

China has been described as “the largest growth market for the art business, anywhere.” See how auctioneers and dealers are tapping into it. In the past year alone, no fewer than six galleries have opened or announced plans to open an outpost or office somewhere in Asia. Amid announcement after announcement, it may feel like […]

What Is Leonardo’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ Really Selling? Cracking the $100 Million da Vinci Code

Jesus saves, but the buyer of da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ will spend—a lot. The signs all point one way: Christie’s upcoming sale of Leonardo da Vinci’s spooky Salvator Mundi is the latest and perhaps most convincing portent that we are living in the End Times. In the Bible, Christ and his apostles held their property in common. Now, this image […]

Here’s Why Damien Hirst’s Art Market Is Not as Terrible as It Looks

A deep dive into the British artist’s prices as he attempts a comeback. After years of sluggish auction prices, is Damien Hirst poised for a comeback? In 2008, the British artist bypassed the gallery system to bring 167 newly created artworks straight to the auction block. The unprecedented sale upended every market convention and raked […]

‘What Next?’ an Uncertain Art World Asks, Sticking to Proven Brands

LONDON — The art market is almost as old as art itself. But it’s only in the last decade or so, with increased globalization, digitization and the rise of art as a multibillion-dollar investment vehicle, that the market has been viewed as an industry. And where there is industry, conferences are sure to follow. On […]

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 […]