Staging With Fine Art to Sell Real Estate

The Telegraph has an very interesting article on staging real estate with quality fine art to real estate agents and developers. The idea even approaches those who store art, such as gallery inventory or museums and avoid storage fees.

This should be good news for appraisers as it means more work and certainly may increase the need for qualified appraisals as the art would need to be insured.

The Telegraph reports
Have you ever browsed a gallery wishing you could take it all home? Don’t give up hope. A curator at a top London museum has suggested that works in storage should be lent to private homes rather than hidden away in a basement.

Collector Florian Wupperfeld, founder of Leading Cultural Destinations, says the idea has merit. “It might be a good way to look after works, as storage can be very costly,” he says. The tradition of lending an art collection to a museum could soon be turned on its head.

Galleries faced with astronomical rents in the couloirs of Mayfair and Belgravia find themselves ever more pinched for space, especially as the art itself is getting bigger. One dealer’s rent demand went from £75,000 to £350,000 last year, according to gallery owner John Martin.

Several gallerists have solved the problem by “outsourcing” works to developers, lending them art to dress properties while expanding their exhibition space at no cost. These free outreach spaces may be conversions of Georgian homes, new luxury developments on the Thames or any of the emerging creative districts in the capital.

Using art as part of a marketing strategy for high-end homes is widespread across the globe but in London it has reached epic proportions, as dozens of galleries and developers jump on the bandwagon.

Lending art to a developer is a virtuous circle: the gallery gets a classy extension where it can show work for free, the interior designer acquires a luxury look for little investment and the artists, though often last in line, get paid.

Furniture is even taking second place in show homes where vast canvases, glass cases housing antiques, bespoke carpets, rare prints and sculptures often dominate the scene. There is often the chance for clients, particularly those wanting a turnkey property, to buy the works, or have them thrown in.

Turning homes into mini-museums goes hand-in-hand with hard evidence that the prices of properties near important museums and galleries are soaring. The very rich, who after all sustain the estimated £43 billion art market, want art on the doorstep as well as in their home.

Some new London schemes that are not blessed with an icon like a Tate or the British Museum nearby are trying to reinvent the areas around them as new cultural hubs. Nine Elms hails itself as London’s newest cultural hub, close by is the newly christened Battersea Creative District, while a series of art events, including the suspension of a grand piano from a crane by Catherine Yass, is marking the progress of work at Television Centre in White City.

And it’s not just the high-end developers. Peabody, a housing association that is overhauling the run-down Thamesmead estate, announced a partnership with Bow Arts “to help the area become one of the capital’s newest cultural locations for artists, designers, makers and food entrepreneurs”.

This intertwining of art and property means that interior designers have started to call themselves curators, while developers such as Nick and Ben Wilson of Residence One say they have become “art dealers by default”.

Andrew Kafkaris of Bruton Street Management, which looks after prime London properties, says: “In the 18th century many great houses were built around the works of art, collected by people taking the grand tour of Europe. We are returning to that situation today, with homes being built or refurbished around art collections.”

One scheme in Marylebone was launched with an art exhibition, put on at the same time as Frieze up the road last September, with £100 million worth of artworks by Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró and Andy Warhol rivalling the total price of the property. It worked: all but one of the six apartments at Park Crescent have been sold in what is a slow market for such luxury homes.

The apartments didn’t come with the art in situ, but if a buyer expressed interest, the developer, Amazon Property, might look to gift it to them, or help secure it at a preferential rate.

Luminaire Arts in Belgravia, one of the capital’s many dealers now specialising in renting and selling art, claims that its original artworks assist clients to sell the homes. Many estate agents agree, and this is particularly true for foreign investors and overseas clients who don’t want the inconvenience of styling yet another home.

Developers and designers have responded to this desire for turnkey, fully furnished homes and many have, like the Wilson brothers, become art dealers by default. Alexander James Interiors bought a limited edition Damien Hirst butterfly print, The Souls III, to dress Barratt’s show home in Landmark Place, Tower Bridge. The print, on loan from AJI, is for sale to purchasers.

Would the Hirst print, which cost £5,500, be negotiable? It seems likely. Last year Strutt & Parker sold a house furnished with lent artworks in Eaton Square to a Middle Eastern client who insisted that he would only take it “lock, stock and barrel” even though the art was not originally for sale.

“The seller came to an arrangement and agreed, as the value of the art was minor in comparison to the £30 million price tag for the house,” says partner James Gilbert-Green.

At West Eleven’s new Clapham development, Bakery Place, it has printed a catalogue of the artworks that dress the property, and are for sale. The association between Banda Property’s 12-18 Radstock Street development and art could not be closer. At the ground level of the apartment block in Battersea’s Creative District sits JGM Gallery, which deals in Aboriginal art. The luxurious, lateral homes upstairs are filled with its artworks and a bespoke tapestry by a graduate of the nearby Royal College of Art hangs in the lobby.

It’s not only paintings and sculpture that interior designers hire: French glassmaker Lalique has lent works and Steinway, whose pianos are works of art in themselves, regularly loans out self-playing grands.

Most of the art used to dress properties is decorative or abstract. “More often than not figurative art is a no-go,” says Nick Campbell of Narcissus Interiors. Yolanda Cruz-Suarez, gallery manager at the Store Street Gallery in Bloomsbury, which lends artworks, finds large statement pieces with bold colours work best. Contemporary works of calligraphy, bird and animal paintings are also popular, according to the Art Newspaper’s editor-at-large Georgina Adam.

Far from being an afterthought, art has become an integral part of the design process, with the sheer weight and size of some works a major consideration for architects, says Joe Burns, of interior design firm Oliver Burns. “From reinforced floors to freight elevators to bear the weight of heavy paintings, the architectural fabric of the building is now carefully considered to best accommodate the needs of an aspiring art collector,” he says.
Source: The Telegraph


NY Auction Sales Total $1.6 Million

The UK's Telegraph has a good recap of the art sales from New York City earlier this month.  The total of all sales was $1.6 billion, up $500 million from 2016 May sales, but still way off the $2.74 billion record set in 2015.

The Telegraph reports
The art market clawed back another notch from the 2016 downturn after the all-important Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary sales in New York last week realised $1.6 billion (£1.23 billion). The total was $500 million more than last May, though still adrift of the record $2.74 billion set in May 2015.

As we have come to expect, the earlier period of Impressionist and Modern art came in second with $537.6 million, approximately half the amount of the post-war and contemporary sales which made $1.064 billion. Which is not to say the Impressionist sales were without substance.

Christie’s star lot was a small and rare lifetime cast bronze head of a sleeping muse by Brancusi that excited passionate interest and sold for a double-estimate record $53.4 million. It was followed by a contorted Picasso portrait of Dora Maar on the outbreak of war in 1939 which sold within estimate for $45 million. The painting cost the seller, Dimitri Mavrommatis, $29 million in 2011 and sold to a Chinese bidder – one of several lots by Picabia, Braque, Chagall, Renoir and Monet to attract Asian bidding that night.

At Sotheby’s, there were signs of nerves when their top lot, an early Egon Schiele with a $30 million estimate and no guarantee, was withdrawn by the owner at the last minute. Into the top slot went a rare 1917 abstraction by Russian revolutionary artist, Kazimir Malevich, that sold for $21 million. But otherwise the stand-out feature of the sale was sculpture.

The first lot, for instance, was an early abstract wood sculpture by Alexander Archipenko that had slipped through an auction in Maryland two years earlier for $425. Thanks to Christie’s authentication and London dealer Offer Waterman’s bidding, the buyer now saw that price rise to a lottery-scale win of $564,500.

This was followed by an emphatic record $16 million for an anthropomorphised chess piece bronze by the surrealist Max Ernst; a record $6.3 million for some elaborate library shelves by Alberto Giacometti’s designer brother, Diego; a record $4.8 million for a curvaceous Jean Arp torso; and a record $3 million for a tall, spindly Don Quixote by the French post-war artist, Germaine Richier.

Ahead of these sales it was notable how many third parties (nine) came in to offer guarantees or irrevocable bids at the last minute, lending an air of casino or racetrack gambling to the proceedings with each guarantor standing to win if the price went higher than predicted. Do these guarantors get wind that something will do well and then place their bets?

Whatever the case, Christie’s demonstrated a greater desire to win the inter-auction-house competition, furnishing 55 per cent of the pre-sale value of its main Impressionist sale with guarantees, achieving a $207 million total. Sotheby’s had only 37 per cent of its sale value under guarantee, and realised $147 million.

But the contemporary sales were always ahead. Phillips had over 70 per cent of its main $110 million sale guaranteed and duly sold the lot, achieving a record $29 million for British painter, Peter Doig, in the process.

According to auction analysts, Art Tactic, 56 per cent of the value of the three main evening sales was guaranteed, with Christie’s, which staged the most valuable sale at $488 million, correspondingly arranging the highest value of guarantees. The guarantees ensured that most top lots were sold, and that at least nine, including the record $10.5 million paid by a Chinese bidder for a self-portrait by Rudolf Stingel, sold even though there was no competition.

While there were few substantial gains made in the Impressionist sales, there were many in evidence here. A sculpture by Thomas Schutte, for example, was bought two years ago by dealer Rafael Jablonka for $1.9 million, and sold for $5.2 million, and a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat, bought in 1989 for $341,000, sold for $25 million.

Dealers and collectors have been grooming Basquiat for superstardom for years, likening him in stature to Picasso and Warhol, and last week their efforts bore fruit when a Japanese internet billionaire, Yusaku Maezawa, paid $110 million for a massive, primitive totem-like head painting at Sotheby’s, the most ever paid for an American artist. The painting had been bought at auction in 1984 for $21,000. That’s an average 55 per cent per annum increase in price.

As ever, it is the hopes of substantial gain which drives this market. Attention is also directed at comparatively lesser-known artists like the late Blinky Palermo whose tall minimal abstract painting, Rot/Gelb, bought by Zwirner & Wirth in 1998 for $167,500, sold for a record $4.5 million dollars (a return rate of 71.5 per cent p.a).

In a similar vein, barely a handful of paintings by Japanese abstract artist Takeo Yamaguchi have appeared on the western market before, but a classic 1940s example came Sotheby’s way and it doubled the artist’s previous record selling for $950,000 - accentuating the revaluation that is taking place of post-war Asian art in general.

As the contemporary art market bounces back, it is digging into its history and global reach on a scale that earlier periods in art cannot.


Online Art Auctions

Mark Bench of Borro sent me an interesting article from the Financial Times about the rise(and at times, fall) of online art auction platforms. The article touches on the Auctionata and Paddle8, Artsy, and what Christie's and Sotheby's are doing, and mentions the Hiscox online art report. and StoryLTD.

Unfortunately, I can no longer post more than a  headline from Financial Times article (the FT contacted, and very nicely ask that I respect their republishing terms, which only allows for use of the headline and a link), so to read you will have to follow the link.

In any event, it, like so many FT articles on the art market is well worth reading, so if interested please follow the source link below.

New kids on the block: rise of the online art auction
Source: Financial Times 


A Look at Last Weeks Sales

ArtTactic takes a quick look at the NYC modern, post war and contemporary art sales. The sales totals at Sotheby's, Christie's and Phillips are up nearly 29% from the May sales of last year.

ArtTactic reports
The post-war and contemporary art evening sales in New York this week raised a total of $757,480,000* (excluding buyer’s premium), against a total pre-sale estimate of $636,390,000 to $846,890,000. The sales total between Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips was up 27.9% from May 2016, and 32% above the November results last year. This result reinforces the market recovery that started during London auctions in March this year.

Christie’s kicked off the post-war and contemporary evening sales in New York with a 69 lot strong Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Auction* on the 17th of May, which achieved $388.6 million. This was comfortably within the pre-sale estimate range of $337.7 million to $468.8 million and 12.9% above their sales total in May 2016.

On the following evening (18th of May) Phillips had their evening sale*, which achieved a total of $92 million. The sale ended up towards the lower end of the pre-sale estimate range of $87.7 million to $111 million and was up 138.9% from their May sale in 2016. Sotheby’s followed later the same evening with their Contemporary Art Evening Sale. The auction achieved a hammer total of $276.9 million, putting it above the pre-sale estimate range of $211 million to $267.1 million. Sotheby’s result was up 32.1% from May 2016.
Source: ArtTactic 


Results: Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Sale

I posted quickly last evening on the record breaking Basquait work selling at Sotheby's. Here is the rest of the sales information for the sale. It totaled $$319.2 million including buyer's premiums. The pre-sale estimate was $212–278.6 million.

The sale offered 50 lots, with 48 selling for a strong 96% sales rate, and it sold a very strong 97.8% by value. For the top ten, including the Basquait which had a $60 million estimate, 6 works sold for over the high estimate and the other 4 sold within the estimate ranges.

Overall the week is looking pretty good. Phillips had a good sale, selling 100% of its lots, Artnews reported "Including buyer’s premiums, its sale of 37 lots brought in $110.3 million, just about what it totaled for the same number of works at its New York sale of contemporary art last November. The result tonight more than doubled what it earned at the corresponding auction last year, when it brought in just $46.6 million on 34 lots."

It appears from some quick calculations, the week of evening sales at Christie's, Sotheby's and Phillips totaled over a $1 billion.


Boom: A Basquait Skull Sells for $110.4 Million

Bloomberg reports that a Basquiat skull portrait sold Thursday evening at Sotheby's for $110.5 million to a Japanese collector.

Bloomberg reports
Untitled work auctioned for most ever among American artists

Painting, bought for $19,000 in 1984, goes to Japan’s Maezawa

An untitled portrait by Jean Michel-Basquiat sold for $110.5 million at Sotheby’s in New York, setting a record for any American artist. The buyer was Japanese online retail magnate Yusaku Maezawa.

The colorful work was part of the auction house’s contemporary art sale Thursday evening. The bidding started at $57 million, sparking gasps in the packed salesroom, and lasted for more than 10 minutes as three parties chased after the work.

“I remember astounding the art world back in 1980s when I set an auction record for Basquiat at $99,000,” said Jeffrey Deitch, an art dealer who was the artist’s friend and champion. “All of us, Jean-Michel’s friends, we totally believed in his genius. I always thought he would be one day in the legion of Picasso, Bacon and Van Gogh. The work has that iconic quality. His appeal is real.”

The painting, which had a presale estimate of more than $60 million, was bought at auction in 1984 for $19,000 by the late collectors Jerry and Emily Spiegel.
Source: Bloomberg 

Results: Christie's Post War and Contemporary Sale

Christie's sold nearly $450, million worth of post war and contemporary art Wed evening in NYC. The sale totaled $448.1 million including buyer's premiums, and hammered $391.28 million. The pre sale estimates ranged from $366.2 million to $500.8 million, so the hammer totals just crossed above the low estimate. 71 lots were originally offered, two lots were withdrawn from the sale and three were bought in for a good for a very strong sell through rate of over 90%.

The Art Newspaper reports on the sale
Amidst fears of a lagging art market, Christie’s hammered down a solid post-war and contemporary sale Wednesday night that brought in $391,280,000 in hammer value ($448,062,000 with fees) and saw new records for Man Ray, David Salle, Robert Gober, Rudolf Stingel and Mark Grotjahn. “If we needed the proof of the strengths of the art market, we have it,” said Christie's new CEO Guillaume Cerutti at a press conference after the sale. “If we needed the proof of the strength of Christie’s, we have it. If needed the proof of the strength of our teams we have it.”

Heading into the auction, the estimates for the evening were $366.2m to $500.8m, so the total was actually closer to the low estimate, but just three of the 71 lots on offer were bought-in—discounting the two withdrawn right before the sale.

The evening’s top lot, Cy Twombly's loosey goosey Leda and the Swan (1962) saw spirited bidding on the phones, which became even more spirited after Larry Gagosian entered at $45m. “Yes Loic, I see him,” the auctioneer Jussi Pylkkänen told Loic Gouzer, who hurried to point out Gagosian from the phone bank. He snagged the work for $47m ($52.9m with fees).

It was a pleasant surprise in an evening that felt very predetermined, focused on proving the sustainability of the art market. Another was the interest in Andy Warhol’s Last Supper (1986), painted the year before the artist died, which hammered at $16.5m ($18.7m with fees), twice its high estimate, after a fight between at least five bidders, with the dealer Nicholas MacClean the underbidder. On the other hand, the sale of the Francis Bacon triptych Three Studies for a Portrait of George Dyer (1963), the first portrait of the artist’s longtime lover, actually went rather-by-the-books, with just three bidders raising the hammer price to $46m ($51.8m with fees) in three minutes.

There were even a few single bid lots in the top ten lots—the most curious of which was a $15.1m Christopher Wool that almost sold to a chandelier bid, until someone in the phone bank provided the $.1m—but after the sale attendees said they were heartened by the bidding they saw.

“You saw in the Bacon, the Twombly, the star pieces, [with a] very good depth of interest,” said Harry Blain, who founded the gallery (and later Christie’s subsidiary) Haunch of Venison. “You saw people coming in and coming to a reasonable level rather than going crazy. That’s good for the market and that's good for the artist.”

“The depth and variety of bids both in the room and from the phone banks proved that the market for special works by the most desired artists remains robust,” the advisor Benjamin Godsill concurred.
Source: The Art Newspaper