Summer Newsletter 2018
Claude Monet (1840-1926), La Gare Saint-Lazare, vue extérieure. Oil on canvas. Sold for $32,975,200 at Christie’s London, 20 June 2018.
Summer Newsletter 2018
New York Auctions (May 2018)
The summer season opened with the New York versions of the Frieze and TEFAF fairs, helping to set the scene before the main auction calendar got underway. First came the long-anticipated Peggy and David Rockefeller sale that fetched $832.57 million at Christie’s. The collection, which featured a six-month global marketing campaign and attracted over 75,000 visitors from around the world, broke all records, making it now the highest grossing private collection of all time – surpassing Yves Saint Laurent’s sales which realised $484 million in 2009.
Reflecting both John D. Rockefeller’s traditional taste and his wife Abby Aldrich Rockefeller’s preference for modern art, the highly successful auction featured over 1,000 lots, many of which were handled by the infamous art dealer and influencer Joseph Duveen. Various factors contributed to the sale’s success beyond the Rockefeller name, including the impeccable provenance of many of the pieces, with a good number having been directly acquired from artists’ dealers. Proceeds of the collection will be shared among several charities, including MOMA, the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Farmland Trust.
In the world of art finance, attention continues to focus on the rise of private art collections as well as the number of ultra-high net worth individuals establishing them. The Deloitte/ArtTactic Art & Finance Report 2017 estimated that over US$1.6 trillion of ultra-high net worth wealth was dedicated to art and collectibles in 2017 – a number expected to reach US$2.7 trillion by 2024. Certainly, we anticipate an increase in demand for innovative wealth management strategies, especially those including fine art.
Following Sotheby’s and Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Sales in London last week, Spring is set to be an exciting auction season. The Sotheby’s sale – which included the US$69.2 million sale of Picasso’s 1937 Femme au béret et à la robe quadrille (a portrait of his muse Marie-Thérèse Walter) – comprised of a number of works never before seen on the open market, including André Derain’s Bateaux à Collioure (1905) which sold for US$15 million.
Highlights of the Rockefeller sale included:
- Henri Matisse, Odalisque couchée aux magnolias, sold for $80.75 million
- Claude Monet, Nymphéas en fleur, sold for $84.7 million
- Pablo Picasso, Fillette a la corbeille fleurie, sold for $115 million (acquired by the Nahmad family)
The month then continued in New York with the auctions of Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary Art. During what has become known as “Gigaweek”, Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips sold a combined $1.9 billion – over $300 million more than the equivalent sales last year. Despite Rockefeller the week before, there was still demand for major works, although perhaps with some pieces perhaps not fully reaching expectations. (In addition, renowned collector, Steve Wynn, withdrew two Picassos from the Christie’s sale. The paintings Femme au chat assise dans un fauteuil and Le Marin were expected to sell for an estimated $105 million but were withdrawn by mutual agreement after Le Marin suffered damage during installation).
Other Notable Highlights (New York)
Impressionist and Modern Art Sales
- Amedeo Modigliani, the much-hyped Nu couché sold to a single bidder (the third-party guarantor) for $157.16 million
- Pablo Picasso, Le Repos, a portrait of his girlfriend Marie-Thérèse Walter, sold for $36.92 million surpassing the $25-35 million estimate
- Claude Monet, Matinée sur la Seine, sold for $20.55 million
- Kazimir Malevich, Suprematist Composition, sold for $85.81 million
Post-War and Contemporary Sales
- David Hockney, Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica, sold for $28.5 million – the highest price ever achieved for Hockney
- Jackson Pollock, Number 32, 1949, sold for $34.1 million
- Francis Bacon, Portrait, sold for $49.81 million
- Jean-Michel Basquiat, Flexible, 1984, sold for $45.3 million – surpassing estimates of approx. $20 million
- Robert Motherwell, At Five in the Afternoon, 1971, sold for $12.7 million
The Modern and Contemporary art world converged on Art Basel in June. FFA’s Tim Hunter was at the fair with clients and enjoyed inspecting some of the latest works on offer where he noted a very high standard, as usual. Strong sales were widely reported by leading artists such as Joan Mitchell, David Hockney, George Condo, Bridget Riley and Robert Rauschenberg.
London Auctions (June / July 2018)
Kazimir Malevich (1878-1935), Landscape, 1911. Gouache on paper laid down on board. Sold for £7,883,750 at Christie’s London, 20 June 2018.
The London auction season began with a series of three Modern British sales at Sotheby’s on the 12th June, including a single-owner presentation of Scottish Colourist paintings, the results of which showed the market in this area to be alive and well. Christie’s then followed with their Modern British offering a few days later, where they managed to capture a significant market share thanks to an extraordinary sculpture, Head, by Henry Moore, which realised $6.1m (surpassing its $2.6 – 4 m estimate). Sell-through rates were also impressive with only a handful of lots remaining unsold in the evening sales, indicating that British art is currently standing its ground alongside the other major categories when measuring results against expectations.
Sales continued with the Impressionist and Modern auctions in late June. Compared with the excitement of the previous month in New York, there was a keen sense of selection in the London market. For example, the recent glut of 1932 works by Picasso ensured that the portrait of his ‘golden Muse’, Marie-Thérèse Walter, made a fair price at Sotheby’s, in line with other works which had recently appeared for sale from the same year.
Then came the major Old Master paintings sales, which showed a solid level of demand, somewhat in line with the quality of works on offer. Whilst perhaps lacking a few really exceptional paintings, or a great collection to create that “fresh to the market” buzz, there was still plenty of activity with the combined total of Christie’s and Sotheby’s making in excess of $130 million. With that said, there was one stand-out object which appeared in the Treasures sale at Sotheby’s, Giambologna’s extraordinary bronze sculpture of Mars. Dating from before 1587 and known as the ‘Dresden Mars’, it was a gift from the artist himself to Christian I, Elector of Saxony.
Giambologna, Mars, c.1587. Bronze. Consigned by German corporation, Bayer AG, and carrying an estimate of $4-6.5 million, it was sold privately immediately before the auction to the Dresden State Art Collections, owned by state of Saxony.
Other Notable Highlights (London):
Modern British Art Sales
- Edward Burra, The Nitpicker, sold for $774,840
- Samuel John Peploe, Still Life with Tulips, sold for $1.3 million (surpassing $650,000-1 million estimate) – a new record for the artist
- Sir Stanley Spencer, Christ Preaching at Cookham Regatta: Punts by the River, sold for $4,500,000
- Ben Nicholson, O.M., 1966 (IOS), sold for $1.6 million
Impressionist and Modern Art Sales
- Wassily Kandinsky, Gabrielle Munter in freien vor der staffelei, sold for $7 million
- Alberto Giacometti, Le Chat, sold for $16.8 million
- Pablo Picasso, Buste de Femme de profil (femme écrivant), sold for $35.68 million
- Franz Marc, Drei Pferde, sold for $20.4 million (compared to $36.2 million estimate)
- Claude Monet, Coup de vent, sold for $6.3 million
- Georges Braque, L’Estaque, sold for $7 million
- Claude Monet, La Gare Saint-Lazare, vue extérieure, sold for $33 million
- Kazimir Malevich, Landscape, sold for $10.4 million
Post-War and Contemporary Sales
- Lucien Freud, Portrait on a white cover, sold for $29.8 million
- Peter Doig, Daytime Astronomy (Grasshopper), sold for $10.1 million
- David Hockney, Double East Yorkshire, sold for $15 million
Old Master Paintings
- Sir Peter Paul Rubens, Portrait of a Venetian Nobleman, sold for $7.1 million
- Netherlandish or South German School, late C15th, Portrait of Mary of Burgundy, in profile, sold for $2.7 million
- Joseph Mallord William Turner, Walton Bridges, sold for $4.4 million
Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art
- John William Waterhouse, The Siren, sold for in excess of $5m (against an estimate of approximately $1.4-$2 million)
- Dame Laura Knight, R.A., R.W.S., The Ballet Girl and the Dressmaker, sold for $426,357
In the world of art fairs, Masterpiece at the Royal Hospital Chelsea was a London summer event not to be missed. From 27th June to 4th July, over 160 international exhibitors offered a wide range of fine art, design, jewellery and collectibles. Dealers reported good sales at an event which is undoubtedly now a cultural experience of the season.
Whilst the art world often slows down during the warm summer months, Falcon Fine Art has been working on a number of new transactions, from Old Masters to Contemporary art. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if we can explore any art finance opportunities for you or your clients.
FFA in the News
Apollo: Writing for Apollo, Tim Hunter explains how art finance could enable institutions to add to their collections in a competitive market.
ITV News: Following the Rockefeller sales at Christie’s, Dr. Tim Hunter speaks to ITV News on the significance of the US$832.57 million sale.
TEFAF : For TEFAF’s 2018 Art Dealer Finance report, Vice President Tim Hunter elaborates on the risks, challenges and opportunities in the art secured lending market.
Art & Museum Magazine : Collectors are increasingly leaving their prized artwork in the care of public and private museums. It’s a philanthropic gesture, but also one that can enhance the artwork’s value. But how does this benefit the museum in the long term? Vice President Dr. Tim Hunter, explains.
IFR : Speaking to IFR, Vice President Tim Hunter discusses the use of art as collateral – specifically, allowing clients to borrow on a non-recourse basis to retain their art, rather than having it locked away in storage.
STEP Magazine : Writing in STEP Journal, a dedicated publication for Trust and Estate practitioners, Falcon Fine Art’s Commercial Director, Guy Vaissière, writes that the demand for art-backed finance is growing globally.
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Prices may be approximate due to currency conversions.