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, […]

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 […]

Cerith Wyn Evans: Deciphering the Code

Withth two kilometres’ worth of white neon tubing arranged in dazzling arrays of lines and curves high above the Duveen Galleries’ polished floors, Forms in Space… by Light (in Time), Cerith Wyn Evans’s installation for this year’s Tate Britain Commission (of which Sotheby’s is a sponsor) cannot be mistaken for another artist’s work. Born in […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]