Update: Park West Lawsuits

The Courthouse News Service recently ran an update on the ongoing litigation of Park West Gallery.  It appears a group of  complainants have broken their suit into 15 different complaints and suits. The lawsuits do not appear to be new, only restructured.  The article also states there is a claim by a plaintiff that Park West Gallery is being investigated by an Assistant US attorney and a Federal grand jury has been impaneled.

The Courthouse news reports

Park West responded with a motion to dismiss. The gallery argued that the claims failed because the plaintiffs could not prove Park West owed them separate and distinct duties beyond the terms of the original sales contracts, which the gallery says included an express provision limiting its liability.

The gallery also challenged some of the plaintiffs based on arbitration provisions contained in their contracts to buy artworks.

Judge Wendy Potts in Oakland County found those arbitration provisions valid. She also ruled that the plaintiffs could not proceed all together in a single case, and must file their claims separately.

"The facts of each purchase is going to differ significantly from the facts of all the other purchases," said the judge. "There may be common issues of law, but there are also issues or legal theories that will apply to some of the plaintiffs, but not others ... because these claims are improperly joined, the court orders that the remaining claims be severed and the plaintiffs proceed separately."
As a result, plaintiff lawyer Payton recently filed a series of separate complaints, called amended complaints.

In those amended complaints, the plaintiffs claim the defendants sell phony art, accompanied by forged certificates of authenticity, on cruise ships, land auctions and at Park West's gallery in Michigan.

Plaintiff Mattie King, for example, says the defendants sold her 100 phony Dali prints. "Plaintiff was left with works which are worthless, and certainly fall below the purchase and appraisal prices," according to her complaint.
She accuses the defendants of "misrepresenting the authenticity of the artwork verbally and in writing, falsely claiming that the signatures were from the artist, providing doctored and fraudulent provenance of artwork, and by creating and providing fraudulent appraisals."

Her complaint adds, "Park West is notorious for selling fraudulent, forged, misrepresented, fake, and grossly overprices artwork to unsuspecting customers on cruise ships, at land auctions, and from its gallery located in Southfield, Michigan."

In a footnote, she says a grand jury is investigating the gallery. "Law enforcement agents have confirmed that a federal grand jury has been impaneled, under the direction of Assistant United States Attorney Sheldon Light, to investigate criminal activities by defendant Park West Galleries Inc.," says King's complaint.
To read the March 16th Courthouse news article, click HERE.

Hong Kong Auctions

Bloomberg has a preview of the April 1 - April 8 auctions being held in Hong Kong.  The auctions included everything from fine wines to fine art to Harry Winston jewelery, and early expectations are for a week of sales totaling over $300 million. This also includes a Chinese vase at Sotheby's expected to sell for $23 million (Chinese vases have seen some incredible prices recently, it will be interesting to see how this vase does when it sell {see image}).

The Bloomberg preview gives a good overview of expectations and of the top lots, and touches on the desirability of Qianlong artworks.

Bloomberg reports
Hong Kong’s first major sale of the year will show that rising wealth in China is continuing to drive demand, dealers said. It has 3,600 lots, about 1,000 more than last April’s auction in the city, which took a record HK$2.29 billion and revived prices in most categories to pre-credit-crisis levels. China overtook the U.S. as the world’s biggest auction market for fine art last year, according to research company Artprice, benefiting from the support of its government in Beijing.

The “Golden Pheasant” vase was one of the personal objects belonging to the Qianlong emperor. It goes on sale on April 7 as the highlight of the Meiyintang collection of 80 works that is estimated to fetch as much as HK$940 million.
Zuellig’s Collection

Meiyintang, which means hall among rose beds, contains 450 items assembled over the past six decades by Stephen Zuellig, a Swiss businessman whose family made its fortune distributing pharmaceuticals.

His collection provides an overview of the history of Chinese ceramics from their origins in the Neolithic period to the end of China’s Imperial reign in the Qing dynasty in 1911. The lots represent about 25 percent of the collection, said Eskenazi, who helped select the pieces for auction.
 To read the full preview, click HERE.

Deep Cuts to UK Cultural Arts

Bloomberg is reporting the Arts Council England, the organization which channels government funding to the arts has seen its 2012 -2015 budget cut by $about $190 million.  The Council has had to make some hard decisions, with many cultural programs seeing reduced funding or no funding, with a few getting increased funding.  The Council has decided to fund fewer organizations, with 638 funding applications being refused and 695 organizations receiving Arts Council backing. Of those with approved funding, 110 organizations were new.

Bloomberg reports

Funding Pain

“Of course there’s pain, and there are some people we simply couldn’t fund,” Chief Executive Alan Davey said.

Explaining the Almeida Theatre’s 33 percent cut, Davey said it left the venue with a grant of 700,000 pounds by 2014-15. “They’re still getting an awful lot of money,” he said. “We believe quality can be upheld in that theater.”

The Almeida took the news in stride.

“There will be no cuts to our innovative artistic policy or to our ambitions,” Artistic Director Michael Attenborough and Executive Director James Bierman said in an e-mailed release. “In the coming years, we will take our work to more people than ever before, and continue to be a leading national cultural institution.”

At the briefing, Davey attributed the Serpentine’s 31.2 percent increase to its expansion into a new gallery, and said “we get quite a lot of value” out of the Serpentine grant.

The Serpentine -- which is getting 883,734 pounds in the current financial year -- will see that amount raised to 1.25 million pounds in the year ended April 1, 2015. That’s after beating rival bidder Damien Hirst to a nearby Hyde Park space: a former munitions depot known as the Magazine.
Bittersweet Boost

The gallery’s director Julia Peyton-Jones and co-director Hans Ulrich Obrist said in an e-mailed release that they were “very grateful for the uplift” from the Arts Council, “although it is bittersweet news at a time of swingeing cuts to the sector.”

As part of a nationwide austerity package, the U.K. government in October cut the Department for Culture’s budget to 1.1 billion pounds by 2015. As a result, grants to national museums will drop 15 percent by 2015, and those to Arts Council England, 29 percent. The Arts Council was asked to halve administrative costs and avoid cutting regular recipients’ grants by more than 15 percent.
To read the full Bloomberg report, click HERE.


AW Fine and Decorative Arts Market Confidence Survey

The first quarter is just about over and I would like to remind all AW Blog readers that I will soon be posting the Appraiser Workshops Fine and Decorative Arts Market Confidence Survey online.  I plan on posting the April survey questionnaire within the next few days.

The survey has been popular, having seen over 800 views and downloads with very little promotion other than posts on the AW Blog and some notices on LinkedIn groups.  I expect the popularity and use to grow over time. As more data is collected and as trending and indexing become possible in the future the AW Decorative Arts Market Confidence Survey will become an important tool for the professional appraiser.  That is why it is important for appraisers, dealers, and specialists continue to take the survey.

When the April results are posted, appraisers, specialists, dealers and collectors will be able to track a market sector confidence over the past 9 months in quarterly increments, and have a reliable source to reference and support value changes and market trends.

When posted, I would appreciate all AW Blog readers with market knowledge to please complete the survey.  It is an excellent tool for the appraiser, dealer, gallerist or auction specialist to use.  The results will be posted for download by the middle of April for download, review and use.

Watch for the survey request to be posted on the AW Blog within the next few days. Please support this important project by completing the short survey. (To download the previous quarters report (PDF), click HERE).

Another Modern Collection Goes Under the Hammer - Is the Market Still Strong?

Bloomberg is reporting on the modern collection of Laurent Negro and the contents of his medieval Chateau de Gourdon, near Grasse, Provence. Christie's is handling the sale, and pre sale estimates show the single owner sale may bring close to $82 million. This would break the record sale of YSL back in 2009. The sale is currently in progress (March 30 & 31), and I will report results when they are released. It will be interesting to see if the sale performs as well as the expectations and if the mid century modern market, at the top end of the market is still strong. The 860 lots have a pre sale estimate range of about $56.5 million to $82 million.

Bloomberg reports on the sale

“The Gourdon collection was put together with passion and with the investment upside in mind,” Rabih Hage, founder of DeTnk Collectible Design Market Report, said in an interview. “It’s in tune with the way collectors are now buying. They’re looking for pieces with a pedigree and a precise provenance.”

DeTnk this month published its overview of the market for modern and contemporary design. Auctions raised 142.6 million pounds ($228 million) in 2010, a 0.5 percent increase on the previous year, when the total was bloated by the success of Christie’s YSL sale, DeTnk said. French Art Deco designer Ruhlmann was the top auction performer in 2010, with sales of 6.4 million pounds ($10.3 million). The Gourdon sale has 34 Ruhlmann items, valued at more than 10 million euros.

Negro has been buying Art Nouveau, Art Deco and modernist design, photographs and books since the 1990s.
Ruhlmann’s Desk

A black-lacquer Ruhlmann desk and chaise longue both date from 1929 and have high estimates of 3 million euros.

Jan and Joel Martel’s 1931 aluminum Art Deco sculpture of an express train, “Locomotive en marche,” was bought by Negro for $386,500 at Sotheby’s (BID), New York, in 2008. Christie’s will re-offer it with an estimate of 200,000 euros to 300,000 euros.
To read the full Bloomberg article, click HERE.

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South African Art

The Antiques Trade Gazette is reporting on a recent (March 23) specialty sale of South African Art held at Bonhams, London.  The article reports many of the top lots did exceedingly well, but there were also many buy ins and selective buying. As an example of the top end not performing, 18 works in the sale were deemed "masterpieces" by Bonhams, only half sold.

The sale offered 168 lots, with only 96 selling for a 56% sell through rate.  That is an interesting statistic as the buy through rate was higher for the full sale, than the 50% achieved from the "masterpieces". The sale totaled 7.7 million GBP, and the items that did sell appear to have done well.

The top lot was Irma Stern's (1894-1966) Arab Priest, setting a new record for the artist at £2.7m against a £1.5m-2m pre estimate (see image).

The ATG reports

The sum seen for Arab Priest was just shy of the record for any South African artist. That accolade belongs to Marlene Dumas (b.1953), whose 1995 painting The Visitor made £2.8m at Sotheby's in July 2008.

Another Stern broke the million-pound barrier at Bonhams' sale – a rare painting of a nude by the artist which took £1.5m – but five of the ten works by her featured in the Masterpieces sale failed to get away.

Elsewhere, an auction record was set for the leading black artist in the South African market, Gerard Sekoto (1913-1993), whose Yellow Houses, District Six drew strong competition against a £200,000-300,000 estimate and sold at £520,000 to a South African-based buyer on the telephone.

The picture itself was a scene of the poor neighbourhood in Cape Town to which Sekoto moved in 1942 and was an evocative example of the rarely seen works he produced before he left his homeland for Paris in 1947.

A picture of the same subject, although somewhat different in terms of composition, can now be found in the Johannesburg Art Gallery and was the gallery's first acquisition of a work by a black artist. Famously the artist had to pretend to be a cleaner to see it on display because of the racial restrictions at the time.
To read the full ATG article, click HERE.

Journal Discount - 20% Off through March 31st

Only for a short time, the Journal is being sold at 20% off.

Enter the code SPLISH305 at checkout for the 20% discount. Dont delay, Lulu is offering this discount through March 31st.  It does apply to all versions of the journal.

Remember to use the discount code SPLISH305 at check out to apply the 20%.

Click below to order your copy of the Journal of Advanced Appraisal Studies.  It is full of excellent and useful appraisal related articles.

 ORDER TODAY!! - The Journal of Advanced Appraisal Studies - 2011. Click the button to order.

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Topics at Brunk Auction Appraisal Seminar

The other day I posted on the May 12-13 Brunk Auction Appraisal seminar.  I have a little more information with the speakers and their topics for the two day program.  For additional information, contact Brunks Auctions  at 828-254-6846.

  • Welcome and Opening Remarks: The Market Speaks: An Overview of Decorative Arts at Auction, Robert Brunk, President Brunk Auctions
  • Pitfalls in Appraising American Furniture, Andrew Brunk, Senior Specialist Brunk Auctions
  • Appraising Silver: Recognizing Fakes and Restorations, Al Crabtree, The Brass and Silver Workshop, Charleston, SC and Robin Rice, Brunk
  • Introduction to Fibers, Kathy Staples, Brunk Auctions: The New Kids on the Makret, Kathy Staples, Brunk Auctions and Karen Swager, Brunk Auctions
  • The Examination, conservation and ruination of Art: Veracity and Value, Laura Crocket, Brunk Auctions and Colin Post, Painting Conservation Asheville NC
  • Reception at Brunk Auctions
  • Assessing Oriental Rugs, Condition, Region and Value, Dana Kelly of Dana Kelly Oriental Rugs, Lexington, KY and Robert Brunk
  • Appraising Time: Early Clocks, Gary Gullivan, Gary Sullivan Antiques, Sahon MA
  • Chinese Porcelains in Today's Market, Daphne Rosenzweig, Ph.D., ISA CAPP and Ruby McCall Brunk Auctions
  • The Eternal Appeal of Chinese Jade, Daphne Rosenzweig, Ph.D., ISA CAPP and Ruby McCall Brunk Auctions
  • Breakout Workshops with Brunk Auction Staff


Peters Gallery - Norman Waitt Suit

A judge in New Mexico has allowed a suit by Norman Waitt against the Gerald Peters Gallery to continue. Waitt, the tech entrepreneur of Gateway computers is suing Peters over a $1.2 million Samuel Seymour painting. The artist had a high auction value of just over $17,000, but Peters explained it was "an exceedingly rare piece of history". The article notes Peter's paid $200,000 for the painting (again showing listed auction values dont always tell the full story or art and value).

According to a Wall Street Journal article, Waitt had purchased over 50 paintings totaling $13 million toward his collection between 1996 and 2008.

The WSJ article states there are issues concerning return and exchange policies, as well as valuation issues, for many of the pieces purchased from Peters. The article states Sotheby's appraised the collection with many of the Peter's Gallery art being valued at less than half the purchase value. Of course the article does not state what the type/standard of value was sought.

The WSJ reports

When one of Mr. Waitt's staffers expressed concern in 2008 that he might have overpaid for his purchases, Mr. Peters assured him in a meeting that he could return any work at any time for a credit, Mr. Waitt says. Mr. Peters denies that such a conversation took place but confirmed that he had allowed returns by Mr. Waitt. It was during that meeting at the gallery that Mr. Waitt noticed a painting of a buffalo in a Western landscape.

Called "Buffalo Standing in a River," the painting was by Samuel Seymour, an early 19th-century artist who accompanied explorers on early government expeditions through the West. Few of Seymour's works remain, art experts say. The only other painting attributed to Seymour to sell at auction fetched $17,250 in 1995.

Mr. Waitt offered to buy "Buffalo" for the $1.2 million asking price.

Mr. Peters says he urged Mr. Waitt not to buy the piece. In an interview, Mr. Peters said Mr. Waitt wasn't an "appropriate" buyer, since he didn't appreciate its historical and artistic significance. Mr. Waitt denies that Mr. Peters discouraged the purchase.

After Mr. Waitt bought the piece, he had his entire collection appraised by Sotheby's, which valued almost all the paintings he bought from Mr. Peters at less than half their purchase prices, Mr. Waitt says. The company said it could not appraise the Seymour painting, given the artist's lack of a sales history.

Mr. Waitt demanded his money back, but Mr. Peters refused, they both say. Mr. Peters said he offered to give Mr. Waitt a credit to buy other works. But Mr. Waitt said the other works offered in return were "not even close in value" to $1.2 million.

To read the full WSJ article, click HERE.

CALL for ARTICLES - Journal of Advanced Appraisal Studies - 2012

Although it seems like the 2011 edition of the Journal of Advanced Appraisal Studies was just published it is now time to start the process in seeking and soliciting article contributions for the 2012 edition (now our 5th year of publication).

The  Journal has been well supported by all of the major appraisal organizations as well as independent appraisers, academia, museums, auction specialists and other related professional fields.

If you have an interest in contributing an article to the 2012 edition or even wish to discuss a topic, please contact me at toddsig01@gmail.com or call me at 703-836-1020.

Publication of the 2012 edition is now scheduled for April, to coincide with the ISA annual conference. Completed manuscripts must be submitted by October 15th.  Minimum article length is 3,000 words. There is more information on our editorial guidelines on the website at www.appraisaljournal.org, or click HERE to download the Call for Articles flier.

Scholarship is important to the professional and to the development of most professions.  The importance of scholarship, including publishing is and should be no different for the personal property appraiser. The primary goal of the Foundation, and the journal as a tool, is to promote appraisal eduction and the expansion of knowledge.  Appraisers, as professionals need tp show their dedication to the development of the profession and continue to expand and develop personal property principles and methodologies.

Please contact me at toddsig01@gmail.com or call 703-836-1020 about sharing your knowledge and expertise with fellow personal property appraisers.

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Sotheby's CEO 2010 Pay More Than Doubles

Bloomberg is reporting Sotheby's CEO, William Ruprecht's pay was up 150% to $6 million. This, after the auction houses best performance since 2007.  As many readers are aware, 2010 was a very good financial year for many of the large international auction houses, especially Sotheby's and Christies.

The Bloomberg piece is short, so I will post in its entirety.

Chief Executive Officer William Ruprecht earned $6 million in 2010, up 150 percent from a year earlier, as the auction house reported its best annual results since 2007.

Ruprecht received salary of $691,667, stock awards valued at $2.2 million, “incentive compensation” of $2.7 million and other compensation -- including driver’s pay -- of $473,083, according to a filing today with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Sotheby’s “was well positioned to capitalize on the economic upturn and art market recovery that begin the fourth quarter of 2009 and continued throughout 2010,” it said in the filing.

Brunk Auctions Appraisal Seminar - May 12-13

Brunk Auctions in Ashville, NC has just announced a new, and very reasonable two day appraisal seminar. The seminar will be held May 12-13, and will include outside experts as well as Brunk specialists. The two day seminar costs only $100, and any profits made will be donated to the Foundation for Appraisal Education, (the publishers of the Journal of Advanced Appraisal Studies), toward their scholarships and educational initiatives.

The notification letter from Brunk stated.

For more than 25 years. Brunk Auctions has served the Southeast as a friendly regional auction house with an international reputation and clientele. Based in Asheville, North Carolina, we strive to be the very best in the field and pride ourselves on our reputation for integrity) and client service. We have developed a symbiotic relationship with many appraisers, and we count on reputable appraisers to refer clients to us who are interested in selling fine art and fine objects. With the current economic climate, changing global markets as well as shifts in people's tastes, the market has changed dramatically over the pest few years.

With this market in mind, Brunk Auctions is holding an appraisal seminar on May 12 —13 at our gallery in Ashesville, North Carolina. As you can see from the enclosed brochure, the seminar will be a series of hands-on lectures and workshops presented by both specialists from our staff and other well-known experts in the antiques and decorative arts fields. We hope this will be a forum to help us keep our skills sharp for accessing a wide range of materials in today's ever changing market. While we will be discussing some of the more traditional decorative arts, we will also explore some of the more specialized fields such as Asian porcelain and jade that has been claiming recent market attention. Attendees to the seminar will also be able to earn Profession Development Credits from the International Society of Appraisers.

Many of you have been to our gallery in Asheville and we look forward to welcoming
you back. For those of you who have never been to our gallery or spent time in Ashville. May is a beautiful time to visit. The Biltmore Estate, the North Carolina Arboretum, and downtown Asheville are just a few of the nearby attractions that you may want to visit while in town. Our May 28' 29th auction will also be set up for early preview.

Please do not hesitate to call for additional information about lodging, transportation and area diversions. We hope to see you in Asheville.

Sincerely yours,
Robert Brunk, Andrew Brunk and the staff at Brunk Auctions
For more information visit the Burnk Auctions website (click HERE) or call directly at 828-254-6846.

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Art as an Uncorrelated Asset

Daniel Grant has a good, although rather short post on Artnet about art as an asset, or more specially as an uncorrelated asset. Grant discusses artworks as an uncorrelated asset with Michael Moses, of the Mei Moses Fine Art Index. and gallerist Peter Findlay.

Moses tells Grant art is in uncorrelated asset in the sense that artworks are not linked to other assets like gold or other commodities.  Art is used as an alternative investment or safe haven from other failing investments and even political turmoil, and therefore does correlate to to global wealth accumulation.

Grant reports

Much of that top-end business has been "driven by optimism and the clear belief held by most people that inflation will return in a significant way,” said Peter Findlay, owner of the eponymous Manhattan art gallery.

Findlay noted that "$1 million is the new normal," adding that “art doesn’t go up in value, money goes down." In this interpretation, Findlay said, the art market is predicting inflation ahead.

Findlay is not alone in seeing a fear of inflation as feeding the worldwide quest for top artworks. “The art market reacts like the gold market does,” said New York University economist William Baumol. “It does attract more investors when there is danger of the stock market going down, because people believe that art -- and gold -- will retain its value or at least not go down as precipitously.”

Top art-market players typically keep an eye on other markets as well. As in the art market, the top of the housing market has not suffered as much as the bottom, where all the foreclosures have been concentrated during the recession. "Prices are probably being lowered for these top properties," said Donald R. Haurin, professor of economics at Ohio State University and a past board president of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association," but the wealthy can often hold out until prices return to higher levels.”
To read the full post, click HERE.


Excerpt: Journal of Advanced Appraisal Studies - 2011

The Journal has recently been receiving some very good publicity through ASA chapter newsletters.  The Chicago Chapter had a very nice mention in their newsletter, and the Northern California chapter profiled journal author Tony Pernicone, ASA regarding his practice and article on fair market value comparable property.

ASA as an organization has been a great supporter and vocal proponent of the journal project, with multiple mentions and promotions in both national and regional newsletters and e-zines. Additionally, ASA appraisers have also contributed articles, reviewed contributions and submissions, recommended contributors and in general been advocates for the publication.  I am greatly appreciative of their participation and commitment to professionalism and education. The journal would not be a reality with the dedication and support from all authors and contributors.

This weeks excerpt comes from appraiser Victor Wiener and London based attorney Charles Wong.  Their article is entitled The Role of Appraisers in the Process of Authentication and in Other Related Valuation Issues, and looks at the recent discovery of Degas casts, and reviews third party authorities in the authentication process with examples. Wiener and Wong discuss authentication through scholars, dealers, auction houses, conservators, museum curators, artists, families, and authentication committees, and mentions some of the pros and cons of using their services.

The article is a must read for the appraiser and when considering authentication into the development of an appraisal report and valuation.

Wiener and Wong write:

The appearance of a number of previously undocumented bronzes, allegedly by the French Impressionist painter and sculptor Edgar Degas (1834-1917), within the world art marketplace has caused some appraisers to examine the issue of what is the responsibility of appraisers in the authentication process. Established and aspiring appraisers are frequently told in university studies and at professional conferences and seminars that they are not authenticators.  Yet the real Picasso is clearly worth more than the fake Picasso, or the Picasso whose attribution to the master has been questioned.

If one is to put an accurate value on a work of art, the distinction between the real and the questionable is of vital importance. In addition, the Internal Revenue Service expects the appraiser to make this distinction for works of art donated to charitable institutions and for which taxpayers wish to claim a tax deduction on their tax returns. IRS Pamphlet 561, which covers charitable donations, states, without any qualifications: “The authenticity of the donated art must be determined by the appraiser.” In order to address these concerns, appraisers frequently rely upon the opinions and services of third party sources for authentication.  However, reliance upon these sources may not be as straightforward as one might assume. The circumstances concerning the new found Degas plasters and bronzes provide an important illustration of many of these points, along with other issues as will be examined and discussed within this article.

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Update: Record Setting Qianlong Vase

I made it a few days without any posts on Chinese art and record sales, although there has been some recent activity. As you know I am trying to show some restraint.

Many appraisers have been following the sale at Bainbridge Auction this past November of $68.8 million sale of an Imperial Qianlong vase. The record price for the piece amazed most in our field, as well as the after sale issues of non payment, and rumors of authenticity.

The Antiques Trade Gazette has a good article updating all of the details of the sale and after sale issues as well as auction house and owner rights. One of the issues at hand as reported by the Guardian UK is the purchaser is protesting the 20% buyers commission.  It also appears that if the buyers premium is lowered to appease the purchaser, future sales and even claims made by under-bidders could have grounds for a suit and legal complications.

Click HERE to read the ATG article. The Guardian UK reports the hold up is the buyer is upset with the 20% premium (around $14 million).

As a sidebar, in the 2011 edition of the Journal of Advanced Appraisal Studies, Asian art expert Daphne Rosenzweig, Ph.D., ISA CAPP wrote an article about Qianlong and his marks. Now here is a shameless plug, but it does shows how timely and important the journal is for appraisers.  Daphne submitted her completed article on Qianlong marks before the Bainbridge sale, she was not reacting to the sale, but had the pulse of the Qianlong market well before the vase sold.  After the sale, she was able to add a prologue about the record setting sale.  Order a copy of the Journal below.

The Guardian reports

It is believed that the buyer objects to paying such a steep commission. Buyer's commission in the leading auction houses is on a sliding scale, and on a sale price of £43m would reduce to about 14%. Bainbridge's, a smaller company, is unaccustomed to prices needing a sliding scale.

The news follows recent press speculation that the buyer has no intention of paying up, that he was a stooge of Beijing sent to sabotage western auctions selling antiques taken illegally from China by British and French soldiers in the 19th century. In 2009 the art world was shocked at a Chinese buyer refusing to pay £25.4m which he had bid for objects at Christie's.

Reports of a Bainbridge's sabotage were dismissed. Although the buyer's identity has yet to be disclosed, sources confirmed him as a prominent industrialist who buys at Sotheby's.

The 18th-century vase was consigned for sale by a family who had inherited it. It had been in a modest London bungalow.

Ivan Macquisten, the editor of Antiques Trade Gazette, the industry's weekly, said Bainbridge's was in a difficult position. "If Bainbridge's reduces the buyer's commission, they could face legal action from any failed underbidder arguing that he could have bid higher with a lower premium. Reducing the buyer's premium after the sale would put the underbidder at a disadvantage. This effectively means that Bainbridge's has no discretion in the matter."

If the sale falls through the sellers may not have an automatic right to get the vase back. Macquisten said: "Whilst the exact terms and conditions of the consignment to Bainbridge's have not been made public, the terms and conditions published on the firm's website include the following section: 'Bainbridge's has absolute discretion … [to] … withdraw any lot and in case of dispute to put up any lot for auction again.' Those conditions are standard."
To read the Guardian UK article, click HERE.

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New Museum Twitter Campaign

In keeping with the social media/networking theme of my earlier post, I found this PR Newswire from ad agency Droga5 very interesting, and it illustrates how new ideas and concepts for using social media may increase awareness of the arts.

Droga5 has developed a Twitter campaign for the New Museum's George Condo: Mental States exhibition.  The ad campaign is supported with print, subway and site-specific ads which include a Twitter link. When visiting these links, a list of one word tweets about the show are revealed with the ability to retweet. The main Tweet if from the NY Times calling the show "SENSATIONAL".

The full PR Newswire press release follows.

Innovative New Campaign for George Condo Exhibit at the New Museum Brings Together New York Times and New York Tweets

NEW YORK, March 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Droga5 is proud to announce a breakthrough digital campaign for "George Condo: Mental States" at The New Museum, the much acclaimed lower Manhattan cultural facility.

In keeping with the Museum's mission – "New Art, New Ideas" – the campaign will use social media technology to reinvent our fundamental sense of what constitutes art criticism in the 21st Century. For the first time, the "voice of god" establishment expertise of the New York Times will find itself paired with a real-time diary of emotional reactions delivered via Twitter from the street. The end result represents a revolutionary new way of thinking about art that is sure to influence other forms of criticism. It's hard to imagine any review ever being the same.

The campaign works as follows: In print, subway and site-specific ads featuring Condo's iconic Red Antipodular Portrait, the audience sees two corresponding quotes: one is an excerpt from the New York Times' rave review; the other is an unfamiliar URL. When the URL is entered into a browser on any device, viewers find a real-time carousel of one-word tweets from museum-goers who saw the show, followed by the hashtag #GeorgeCondo. Fans can retweet or add their own opinion to the record. While the Times' review – "SENSATIONAL" -- remains stationary, the New York tweets change to reflect real-time opinion for the duration of the show, which closes on May 8, 2011.

And no modern campaign would be complete without a creative incentive: the most retweeted comment each week will receive an Individual 1 Year Membership to the Museum.

The digital poster can be viewed at bit.ly/235ms.

Visit newmuseum.org for more information.

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LinkedIn Growth

LinkedIn, the large business related social network has just released some interesting information in it SEC S-1 prior to its upcoming public offering. Many appraisers are familiar with LinkedIn profiles and LinkedIn groups, but I not sure if all are aware of the growth. The site now has over 100 million users. Check out the infographic below for additional statistics for LinkedIn, such as the growth in mobile usage for the site, or that 20% of the site sectors are service related. These social networks, such as LinkedIn and Facebook are continuing to grow, and all are getting more business friendly and commercialized.

As professional personal property appraisers, we should be active on sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Jane Brennom, ISA CAPP have a section in our newly published article in the Journal of Advanced Appraisal Studies - 2011 on the importance of social networking sites and connectivity. As these networking sites grow, they will soon become a portal (if they have not already) for both potential clients looking for appraisers and for networking and general information from our peers and fellow appraisers.

If you are not currently a member of LinkedIn, I encourage to become a member, and after joining to make sure you sign up for some of the personal property appraisal groups such as the Professional Personal Property Group and related sites which focus on collecting, marketing, and legal points of interest. There are some excellent discussions.


Plagiarism or Homage

The Artnewspaper recently ran an interesting article by art historian David Eskerdjian about artist copying artists. It is a long held practice, and in many cases the lines between paying homage to a predecessor, or contemporary, and copyright infringement can be unclear.

Eskerdjian documents issues as early the beginning of the 16th century with copies of woodblock prints originally produced by Albrecht Dürer. The question is also asked,  if the original work is iconic and recognized as a great work, is there more latitude allowed when being copied either exactly or only portions.

An interesting article with some very thought provoking questions.

Another common Renaissance procedure was to commission what were in effect replicas of existing works of art, in which the dependence was contractually stipulated by a clause employing the formulation “modo et forma” (in the manner and the form). In the event, artists often preferred to create variants on their models, but the authors of the prototypes plainly had no control over the subsequent fates of their compositions.

In truth, then as now, the real issue concerned the quality of the work of art that emerged, which is why we variously refer to such derivations as plagiarism (boo!) or homage (hoorah!). The other point about homages is the extent to which they were meant to be recognised by their audience—it is hard to imagine artists with superb visual memories hoping to conceal borrowings from their peers, for all that some of them have taken centuries to be spotted by mere art historians.

A more interesting question is whether it is necessary for the prototype to be a work of distinction in its own right. As a rule, artists tended to borrow from what they took to be the major achievements of their predecessors, but over time it has not infrequently become apparent that they were actually plundering non-Leonardos, non-Raphaels, non-Michelangelos and so on. Of course, it goes without saying that some of these productions by lesser figures are excellent works of art, but it is hard to doubt that some of their appeal resided in the mystique of the name associated with them.
To read the complete Artnewspaper article, click HERE.


Update: TEFAF

Carol Vogel has a report in the New York Times on the progress of TEFAF in Maastricht, the Netherlands. I posted about a preview on TEFAF a few days ago, but now that the fair is in progress, we can get a better feel for how interest and more importantly sales are.

According to Vogel, tens of thousands have come to TEFAF to view the 260 exhibitors from 16 countries and 30,000 works on display. Expectations are that over 30,000 will attend the show. Vogel reports the contemporary art portion of the fair is weak this year, although there are many attractions for the collector to select from.

Sales reports are preliminary, but dealers are reporting activity so long as the prices represent value. Many also talk up their activity, and many sales at this show happen toward the end or even after the fair has ended.

Vogel reports

some significant sales have already been reported here, including a $5 million Miró sculpture; a 1671 oil-on-panel view of Haarlem by the Dutch master Gerrit Berckheyde, priced at $6.3 million; and a 1937 Picasso drawing of Dora Maar marked at $2.5 million.

“There’s a huge amount of liquidity out there,” said Richard L. Feigen, the Manhattan dealer. “But with so much turbulence in the world, collectors don’t want to let things go, making it hard to find good material.”

Unlike last year, when there were no blockbuster offerings, this year there are a few. (Though some of the cognoscenti are grumbling that most are a bit too familiar from auctions past.) Otto Naumann, the Manhattan dealer, is offering the fair’s star, Rembrandt’s “Portrait of a Man With Arms Akimbo” from 1658, which depicts an unidentified sitter staring, confidently, straight at the viewer. The painting, priced at $47 million, belongs to Stephen A. Wynn, the Las Vegas casino owner, who paid $33.2 million for it at Christie’s in London two years ago. “I tried to buy it at the Christie’s sale,” said Mr. Naumann, who explained that he persuaded Mr. Wynn to sell it after he read about occupancy rates plunging in Las Vegas last year.

On an adjacent wall is “Portrait of Sigismund Baldinger,” by the 16th-century German painter Georg Pencz. Mr. Naumann bought it at Christie’s in London in July for $8.5 million; he is asking $12 million.

While Mr. Naumann’s booth is one of many with work that has been on the market recently, the fair is not without its discoveries. Jack Kilgore, another Manhattan dealer, bought “Emperor Commodus as Hercules,” a painting on oak panel from 1588-89, in December at a small European auction, where it was cataloged as only 18th-century Flemish school. Examining the meticulous brushwork, he had a hunch it was by Rubens, who had painted a series of Roman emperors, one of which was missing.
To read the complete NY Times article, click HERE.


More Chinese Art News

If this keeps up I will have to rename the blog to the Chinese Art Market Blog.

I am tiring of the Chinese stories, yet they seem to dominate the press. To bring, perhaps a little reality back to the market place, a Chinese art stock exchange has recently pulled two paintings from the marketplace due to ever increasing investment and rising market capitalization. This growth includes a market capitalization for a painting of $15.7 million, a mere 52 times higher than the artist has ever sold for at auction. The Tianjin Cultural Artwork Exchange has decided to remove two paintings from the exchange in order to protect investors, and I assume the viability of the exchange. Other artworks art being offered, including diamonds.

Reuters reports

The Chinese art market was also seen by many critics as a bubble in 2008 when auction prices soared. But the boom in art shares was something entirely new.

The Tianjin art exchange, which opened in January, operates by listing works of art and then offering investors fractional ownership.

The two paintings yanked from trade were Roaring Yellow River and the Autumn in Fortress.

Exchange data showed that on its last day of trade this week, shares in Roaring Yellow River traded at 17.2 yuan ($2.62), compared with their issue price of 1 yuan.

That valued the canvas by modern Chinese painter Bai Gengyan at 103 million yuan ($15.7 million), nearly 52 times the highest price that Bai's paintings had ever fetched in a public auction.

But it is not the end of the road for the Tianjin art exchange, which says on its website that its goals are to promote "financial innovation" and "broaden channels for the public to participate in high-end artwork investment."

It listed seven new paintings and a diamond on March 11. They have gone up by 15 percent -- the maximum daily gain according to exchange rules -- in every trading day since then.
To read the complete Reuters article, click HERE.

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Artprice States China Number 1 in Art Auction Revenue

Fellow appraiser Ed Tuten forwarded an Artprice news release stating that has now become the number seller of art through auctions. This comes just as the European Fine Art Foundation released a report stating China has moved into the number 2 slot for all art sales behind the US (33%), China (23%) and the UK (22%, formerly number 2).

The Artprice press release states

Shock wave through the art market… China now ranks first, ahead of the USA and the UK [Mar 11]

According to Thierry Ehrmann, founder and CEO of Artprice, the world leader in art market information, “this unprecedented news represents a turning point in the history of the global art market: China is now the number 1 in terms of Fine art auction revenue”. It took just three years for China to jump from third place (previously occupied by France) in 2007 to first place in 2010, ahead of the UK and the USA, the grand masters of the market since the 1950s.

To reverse the polarity of the global art market from West to East, China has done without artifices such as hypothetical or extrapolated figures from art galleries (an opaque market compared to public auctions) or even that of furniture or traditional Chinese art objects (the prices of which are shooting up worldwide). Since the 1950s, the reference ranking for the art market has been that of Fine Art at Public Auctions.
In 2010, China accounted for 33% of global Fine Art sales (paintings, installations, sculptures, drawings, photography, prints), versus 30% in the USA, 19% in the UK and 5% in France.

Moreover, there were 4 Chinese artists in the Top-10 ranking of global artists by auction revenue for 2010 (vs. 1 in 2009), the lowest of who generated $112 million dollars during the year. Baishi QI was in second place behind Andy WARHOL and ahead of his compatriot Daqian ZHANG; Beihong XU took sixth place with a total of $176m and Baoshi FU was ninth. The younger generation of Chinese artists is now imposing itself even more forcefully that their older counterparts: More than half of the 2010 global Top 10 of Contemporary artists are Chinese (Fanzhi ZENG, Yifei CHEN, Yidong WANG, Xiaogang ZHANG, Xiaodong LIU and Ye LIU) compared with just three Americans (Jean-Michel BASQUIAT, Jeff KOONS and Richard PRINCE).

The heart of the market now beats in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai, the new driving hubs of the global art market. In 2010 Sotheby's Hong Kong revenue amounted for 2%. At the same time, Christie's 2010 Hong Kong total was 2,5% and China’s big 4 annual revenues were: Poly International (7,4%), China Guardian (5,32%), Beijing Council (2,07%), Hanhai Art Auction in Beijing (2,74%).

Not only has China’s economic strength (second global power in 2010) boosted its art market and projected its culture around the world, but China’s art sector has benefited from the support of its government and of Chinese collectors who are as patriotic as they are prompt to invest. China has understood the Power of Art in the history of nations. In addition, the number of auction records for Chinese artworks is bound to increase as the number of Chinese billionaires rises by 20% per year through 2014 vs. 5.6% p.a. for the rest of the planet.
I believe this report is from the Artprice art market report 2010, which will be available for free download on April 5th.  I will of course post to the AW Blog and link to the full report when it is available. 


Social Media and Museums

Carol Vogel has an interesting article in the NY Times about museums and their increasing use of social media. The article sites the need to keep information fresh, new and connected through various channels, including web applications. The use of social media goes beyond having a simple website, and looks to engage the viewer. As the web changes, it is important for appraisers, like museums, to change along with the needs and desires of the viewers and embrace the new technology.

Jane Brennom, ISA CAPP and I wrote an article for the 2011 edition of the Journal of Advanced Appraisal Studies about appraising, the use of social media within the profession and the importance of connecting the various channels for full web branding and maximum exposure and benefit.

Vogel reports

While museums have long strived to be welcoming places as well as havens of learning, social media is turning them into virtual community centers. On Facebook or Twitter or almost any museum Web site, everyone has a voice, and a vote. Curators and online visitors can communicate, learning from one another. As visitors bring their hand-held devices to visits, the potential for interactivity only intensifies.

However, there is a caveat. The new technology is “stimulating, and we’re giving a lot of thought to the amount of information we provide,” said Thomas P. Campbell, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But “we’ve got to keep people in a heads-up mode, to make sure they are looking at art.”

As technology and all its tools change, so do the challenges facing museums. Among them: how to install wireless Internet access in old buildings so visitors can use their own devices, how to keep up with the constant demands of social media and, most important, calibrating how much the public should influence what goes on the walls.

Also, not getting too caught up in fads. “Everyone had a pogo stick and a scooter,” Mr. Campbell said. “Now everyone is tweeting.”

The Met built its online timeline of art history in 2000, and the feature has only grown in depth and popularity, attracting more than six million visitors in the last year, officials at the museum said. The entire Web site it is undergoing a redesign to be made public at the end of the summer.
To read the compete NY Times article, click HERE.


Excerpt: Journal of Advanced Appraisal Studies - 2011

Brian Kathenes has been a long time supporter of the Journal of Advanced Appraisal Studies.  Brian is well known throughout the personal property appraisal community as an expert in marketing, and assists many appraisers in promoting their appraisal practice.  Brian has helped to promote the journal,  and has also contributed an article to each of the four editions, covering topics on both marketing and product knowledge.

For the 2011 edition, Brian wrote Selling Your Professional Appraisal Services and Products, which covers many of the skills needed to successfully market an appraisal practice.

Within his article on promoting the appraisal practice, Brian writes

The Psychology of Selling

A great deal has been written about selling and the psychology be-hind it.  This section will not address the study of what makes people buy.  The most important aspect of the psychology of selling is the understanding of what it takes to create a great salesperson and why some people cringe when they are told they must sell.

The stereotype of a salesperson is a pushy, glad-handed, plaid jack-eted dufus that sells used cars.  In truth, a sales professional does one thing.  He or she solves a problem.  An appraiser creates a solution in the form of a report or a consultation in order to make a problem go away.

Sometime in the latter part of the last millennium (about twenty years ago) I taught my first class for ISA.  I had the wonderful opportunity to teach the original ISA 101.  The three-day class covered ethics and business practices. Over the years the membership pushed back on the business portion of the program explaining that “everyone already knows how to run a business – I signed up to learn how to appraise.”  Eventually the course was restructured and the marketing and sales portions were dropped.

It was painfully obvious to me that the reason most participants did not want to cover the sales and marketing topics was not because they knew it, but because it was too hard and took great effort to successfully prepare.  Participants were eliminating a critical skill in their success system.

Being successful in sales requires a paradigm shift.  Consider the chart below which compares “appraising” and “consulting.”

Stop Appraising and Start Consulting


Appraisers write reports
Consultants solve problems

People pay appraisers for a bunch of paper
People pay consultants for sage advice.

Appraisers do a job once
Consultants become trusted advisors for life

Appraisers get Nickel-and-dimed to death
Consultants get big retainers

Appraisers have an office and a job
Consultants have a firm and a practice

What is the difference between an appraiser and an appraisal consultant? It is a paradigm shift in both your mind and in the mind of those who need or want appraisal services advice.

Your discussion with prospects must be focused on helping them understand that you are their consultant. Help them discover how much you know about things that they know nothing about. You can advise them on many different valuation issues. Your website must help prospects understand what you do and how you do it. It goes WAY beyond writing an appraisal report. Your brochures, radio interviews, articles and presentations must be designed to make you the appraisal consultant, which far exceeds the image of being an appraiser.

Be prepared to respond correctly the next time someone asks about what you do. Be ready to tell them – you are an appraisal consultant. You are there to help people solve their personal possession problems.

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ART: Focus on Chinese Works of Art

The most recent Art Research Technologies report, Focus On: Chinese Works of Art has just been released.  The report contains some very interesting statistics, such as the numerous records being set within the sector,  such as 10 of the top 20 prices for Chinese works of art originated from Hong Kong sales.  Not surprising, as we saw from the recent European Fine Art Foundation report showing China as the new number 2 art market. The report also shows the percentage of value contributed to the top 100 sales of Qing Vase according to style (Famille Rose, Blue and White, Celadon, other).

I always look forward to these informative and well researched reports and recommend the purchase of the full report should you appraise in the reports specialty area.  The ART reports are a great research reference for appraisal market analysis.

5 Interesting stats contained within the new ART report are

1. Sotheby's average price for a Chinese work of art in 2010 was 104% higher than it was in 2006.

2. In 2010, about 70% of the Chinese works of art sold in New York brought less than $50,000, but an unprecedented number of lots exceeded $500,000.

3. More than 8,000 works of art dating to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) have appeared at Christie's and Sotheby's since 2006, bringing over $1 billion.

4. Last year the average price for a Song work of art was not as high as it was in 2008 when it peaked at $149,084, but the sell-through rate for Song works reached a five-year high.

5. Qianlong marks do not necessarily ensure that a Chinese work of art will find a buyer: Between 2006 and 2010, the average buy-in rate for a work bearing a Qianlong seal was 35%.
For more information on the Chines works of art market, purchase the latest edition of the ART Report by clicking HERE.

Midwest Antiques Forum: Lancaster, Ohio, May 13 -15

Online auction database Prices 4 Antiques is sponsoring the new Midwest Antiques Forum, being held in Lancaster, Ohio at the Decorative Arts Center May 13-15.

The mission of the forum and schedule includes:

Through the Midwest Antiques Forum, we hope to encourage and support scholarship of the understudied area of Midwestern decorative arts and material culture.

We believe this region with its unique settlement patterns and diverse population offers many opportunities to study the cultural development of America's heartland and how this blend of stylistic influences played a role in forging the modern American identity.
  • Ellen Denker, "Sermons in Stone: Kirkpatrick Brothers' Anna Pottery"
  • Emily Pfotenhauer, "Of Every Variety: Wisconsin Decorative Arts 1820-1900"
  • Francis J. "Bill" Puig, "Creole Furniture from the Upper Valley of Louisiana"
  • Andrew Richmond, "Big, Heavy, and Brightly Painted: The Germanic Furniture of the American Midwest"
  • Dean Zimmerman, "Treasures of the Western Reserve Historical Society: 140 Years of Collecting"

With a closing lecture by Brock Jobe, Professor of American Decorative Arts, Winterthur Museum.

Also Included:

The conference will be held in connection with the landmark exhibition currently at the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio, Equal in Goodness: Ohio Decorative Arts 1788-1860 and will also include a panel discussion on Midwestern decorative arts in the marketplace with auctioneers Wes Cowan and Jeff Jeffers, dealer/scholar Chuck Muller, collector Susan Widder, and curator Dean Zimmerman. Optional tours of local historic homes are also available.

For more information and to register for the forum, click HERE.


Auction Middle Market

The Financial Times has a very interesting article on the strength of the auction house middle market. Although I dont buy into all of what is being reported in the article, there are some very interesting and relevant points made by the author. One is that as Sotheby's has long since moved away from the secondary sales level and Christie's has embraced many middle market sales, while Bonhams has done very well in certain sectors that both Sotheby's and Christie's have abandoned. A similar example of an auction house at this level here may be the US is the new Keno Auctions, meant to compete at level of the major houses or just below.

The article does not put a level on what is the middle market for a particular sector, but it does infer the upper market are the items in the major catalog sales of the large auction houses. 

The article references 2009 as a year of strong sales at Christie's second tier sales, compared to the decline in the major sales. As appraisers, we are all aware of the poor performance of major sales in 2009. We also know that a lot of property is coming into the auction markets from the middle market, so perhaps volume is up, but I think many sectors have a loss of value, which is not explained in the article.

All in all, a good article for appraisers to read and reference.

The Financial Times reports

While rival Christie’s has remained loyal to the lower end of its business in London’s South Kensington, it too has closed specialist departments and trimmed its sales calendar.

The results quickly became apparent. In January, Bonhams, the world’s third largest auction house, announced that it had taken the lion’s share of the UK market in such core collecting areas as antiquities, arms and armour, ceramics, clocks, glass, jewellery and watches (it has dominated the collector cars market for years). Vendors may prefer to consign to specialist sales, not least those run by renowned experts such as Bonhams’ ceramics director John Sandon. Bolstered by a defection of Sotheby’s specialists 18 months ago, this department is now the world leader.

It is not only Bonhams that is snapping at Christie’s heels and hoping to move into some recently vacated blue water. Arguably the most ambitious young blood in the UK’s – and, increasingly, the international – auction business is the anglicised German Stephan Ludwig, executive chairman and principal shareholder of the Fine Art Auction Group. This company embraces the whole gamut of the auction business, from lowly but highly profitable sales of “commercial assets” sold on behalf of the UK Customs & Revenue and the Metropolitan Police to the world-class books and manuscripts focus of Bloomsbury Books, which stages sales in London, New York and Rome. In the middle is the traditional valuation and auctioneering business of Dreweatts, founded in 1759, which now has salerooms in Newbury, Tonbridge Wells, Bristol and Godalming. Last year the group’s global turnover was £35m. Ludwig aims to make that £100m within five years.
To read the complete Financial Times article on the auction house middle market, click HERE.


Bloomberg has a good preview of the 24th annual European Fine Art Fair, Tefaf, in the Dutch city of Maastricht.  Yesterday, I posted on the The European Fine Art Foundation's (which is connected to the show) new art report noting China taking over as the number 2 market for art.

The large, dealer run show has everything from Rembrandt to Renoir's painting of Monet's first wife. Bloomberg puts the total value of art at the show around $1.4 billion. The Rembrandt, Portrait of a Man with Arms Akimbo purchased in 2009 by Las Vegas collector Steve Wynn for $32.2 million at Christies is being offered for $47 million (see image).  As can be expected, there will be a strong emphasis on dealers showing Chinese art in order to take advantage of the current market strength in this sector.

The article states that quality shows, such as Tefaf are now competing with the major international auction houses, and the number of quality dealers is shrinking.

Its 260 galleries, showing museum-quality artworks from four millennia, are competing more than ever with auctions, where rich collectors are bidding millions for trophies.

“We now see players in the art market with unlimited means,” Jacques Billen, director of the Brussels-based antiquities dealership Galerie Harmakhis said in an interview. “The auction houses are extremely successful. Though the dealer market is shrinking, Maastricht is still an opportunity to meet people who are not looking for us.”

Tefaf’s dealers in antiquities are placed near specialists in 20th- and 21st-century works in the 100,000 square-foot exhibition space. As a result, about 10 percent of Harmakhis’s buyers at the fair are contemporary art collectors, said Billen.

He is offering a stone fragment from an Egyptian water clock commissioned by Alexander the Great. It is priced at 150,000 euros.

Rembrandt’s 1658 “Portrait of a Man with Arms Akimbo” will be shown by the New York-based Old-Master dealer Otto Naumann Ltd. The painting was acquired from the Las Vegas casino magnate Steve Wynn, who paid 20.2 million pounds ($32.2 million) for it at Christie’s International in London in 2009.
To read the full Bloomberg article, click HERE.


China: The #2 Art Market

Colin Gleadell has a short article in the UK Telegraph that China has now surpassed Britain as the number 2 art market in the world.  According to the article, referencing Clare McAndrew for The European Fine Art Foundation, the US is number one in the world with 33% of the global market, followed by China at 23% and the UK at 22%.

Gleadell reports

The British Art Market Federation has used the report to issue a warning to the government that the proposed Droit de Suite, or artists’ resale royalty tax which will be imposed next year on the sale of all works by European artists who died upto 70 years ago ( ie. Picasso, Bacon and all the biggest money spinners) could divert trade away from the UK, and further diminish its market share, resulting in a huge negative impact on Britain’s cultural economy. This might well be likely.

But the report does not provide key statistics to demonstrate that the Droit de Suite, which is already imposed in the UK on the works of living European artists, has significantly dented the art trade here. To lose market share might simply be an indication of the massive growth of the local Chinese market, which barely registered in any report five years ago.
To read the full article/post in the Telegraph, click HERE. For more info on the report, see the International Business Times which has a bit more analysis and information on the soon to be released The European Fine Art Foundation report. The Finanical Times also reported on the rise of China as the number 2 art market.  Click HERE to read.


Reminder: Fair Value Seminar for March 16th

Do not miss this important webinar on Fair Value and Financial Reporting issues related to appraisers on March 16, 2011 at 1:00 pm ET. Learn how potential changes in the US accounting system will affect your practice. 

The 90-minute webinar will focus on Financial Reporting under the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), highlighting how the gradual shift to a fair-value based accounting system affects valuation practices

This introductory seminar will cover a variety of current issues that relate to you and your practice including:
  • An orientation for participants on how the accounting standards, along with attempts to converge United States and International accounting standards, are relevant to appraisers.
  • The definition of fair value.
  • The roles of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB).
  • An update on the current status of US accounting standards and the timeline for convergence.
  • The current requirements for valuers under financial reporting standards.
  • The various valuation disciplines which are involved in financial reporting and how they interact.
  • Practical examples to illustrate financial reporting valuations and how they can be applied in your professional valuation practice.

Scheduled presenters on the webinar include:
  • David Wilkes, Partner, Huff Wilkes Attorneys and Immediate Past Chair of The Appraisal Foundation, Tarrytown, New York, 
  • Robert Schlegel, International President, American Society of Appraisers,  and Principal, Houlihan Valuation Advisors, Indianapolis, Indiana, 
  • Anthony Aaron, Americas Leader, Quality and Risk Management, Valuation and Business Modeling, Ernst & Young LLP, McLean, Virginia, and, 
  • Don Dorchester, Senior Managing Director, Dispute Analysis-Litigation Support, Financial Reporting, Valuation & Advisory, Cushman & Wakefield, Prescott, Arizona.

Register now at the following link: http://www.appraisers.org/Education/ViewClass.aspx?ClassID=2622

Antiquities Market

 The Wall Street Journal has a good article on the Antiquities market, covering the strength of the market over the past decade, and also some of the pitfalls such as illegally excavated artifacts.  The article does state that the antiquities market is very strong at the upper end, where there are sensational sales and publicity, but beyond those sales, while the market is a bit at lower levels softer because the collecting universe is much smaller than many other sectors, leaving some items to be undervalued, and as an opportunity for savvy collectors and investors. The article states the supply of good and collectible antiquities is small and getting smaller, with many good quality items becoming harder and harder to find.

The article is good to read for appraisers to understand as baseline information for the antiquities market.  Antqiuties is one of the sectors covered in the Appraiser Workshops Fine and Decoarative Arts Market Confidence Survey.  It would be a good idea to keep this article and its content in mind when the next survey questionaire comes out in two to three weeks.

The Wall Street Journal reports

Individuals with wallets of any size can enjoy collecting, although most of the stock is beyond the grasp of many. Every November, Mayfair-based antique dealership Charles Ede Antiquities publishes a Christmas "stocking-filler" catalogue. Prices ranged from £90 to £6,000 last year, with a c. 1400 BC pale green Egyptian amulet priced at just £90.

However a diminishing supply is pushing up prices as more antiquities end up in museums and out of private hands. John Ambrose, director of U.S.-based antique dealer Fragments of Time, says: "We see more than 10,000 ancient objects each year but it is becoming increasingly difficult to find good quality objects. This is not just in the traditionally difficult areas of Attic pottery, Egyptian objects and glass, but in every area including Roman pottery. The lack of supply is pushing up demand."

Experts say another reason for the current vogue in antiquities is the resurgence in contemporary art. Perhaps counter-intuitively, contemporary and ancient art make the best bedfellows, says Isabella Poerio, a retired architect and passionate art collector. "If your art is all of the same era and style, your house feels like a gallery," she says.
To read the complete WSJ article, click HERE.


What is a Professional Artist

Daniel Grant writing for the Huffington Post has some interesting thoughts on how both the government and the art market looks at professional artists.  Of course there is no simple answer, and there are of course several definitions, with the governemtn and  IRS having several versions as well as the several versions from the private sector.

Overall a worthwhile article for appraisers to read, as we do come into contact with artists and artist estates.

Grant writes

The United States government has answers for both questions, however the answers contradict each other because different agencies are looking for specific kinds of information. The Census Bureau (whose data on artists is extrapolated by the National Endowment for the Arts), for instance, claims that there are something over 100,000 visual artists in the country. The decennial census asks at what job an individual worked on April 1st, or what career activity occupied the largest portion of that day, and, for statistical purposes, the answer to this determines one's employment area. Someone who painted most of that day is a painter unless the respondent indicates otherwise.

The Internal Revenue Service, on the other hand, does not consider someone a professional artist -- able to deduct art-related expenses from gross income on tax forms -- unless that person made a profit on the sale of his or her work in three out of five years. The government, therefore, may deem someone an artist on one hand but a rank amateur on the other hand.

To read the complete article, click HERE.


Excerpt: Journal of Advanced Appraisal Studies - 2011

Ona Curran, AAA wrote a very interesting article on early American colonial period portrait painters of NY State. Ona covers several NY portrait painters including Evert  and Gerardus Duyckinck, Nehemiah Partridge, Peter Vanderlyn, and John Watson. The article gives some excellent insight into early portraiture painting in New York.

The title of the article is Colonial New York Limners.

Ona writes

The New York Province was a vast  territory in the early part of the 18th century although much of it was undeveloped. The manorial system under such task masters as the Van Rennselaers, Livingstons and Van Cortlandts was not conducive to individual ownership of land and  inhibited settlement.  New York City was the most populated with Albany following behind and Schenectady a distant third with New Paltz, Kingston and Saugerties settlements emerging along the shores of the Hudson River. Perth Amboy on the New Jersey side was a bustling community. As far back as the 17th century New York was home to a diversified group. In 1664 the English took control and  it was no longer a Dutch settlement but Dutch customs and traditions prevailed for about one hundred years but the Scots, Scotch Irish, the Palatines and the French Huguenots made their presence known. By the early 18th century commerce was strong and money was being made. The fur trade was diminishing but commerce and yes the slave trade with England, Boston and the Caribbean were flourishing. Ship building became a major industry especially in the New York City area. Further up the Hudson wheat became a staple for trade. There were luxurious homes for those who were prospering. Homes were furnished by colonial cabinetmakers or with imports from London and silver objects created by master New York silversmiths such as Myer Myers and Batholomew Le Roux II. It was prime time for the well to do colonists to have their portraits painted and show the world and posterity what they had accomplished.  Portraiture was definitely a status symbol.

There were no art schools or academically trained artists in the colo-nies in this time period. The painting of portraits was  essentially a grass root effort. There were several recorded limners who painted the portraits of colonial New Yorkers in the period 1710 to about 1750.  Artisans they were rather than academically trained artists. They painted signs and carriages as well as portraits of  New Yorkers who in the early 18th century had enough security in their lives to want to record their images for generations to come. Several generations of Duyckincks worked in the New York City area. Nehemiah Partridge worked in the Hudson Valley  and the Albany Schenec-tady area. John Heaton an Englishman who “married Dutch” worked in Albany, Schenectady as well as the Hudson Valley as did Pieter Vanderlyn. James Watson a successful New Jersey business man was also a capable portrait painter. Other names such as Raphael Goelet appear in early records but little is known about them nor are there examples to be found of their work.

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