5/08/2016

NYC Gigaweek


The NY Times has a preview of the upcoming NYC sales, now being called "gigaweek". The sales will include four evening sales in a row of Impressionist and, Modern/Contemporary. There is also a sale on Sunday the 8th at Christie's and a Phillips evening sale. In the past, these sales were typically over a two week period.  It has now been condensed into one week, partly to accommodate buyers who are interested in all of the sales.

I will post results as they become available.  It will be an interesting week as so many in the marketplace as expectations are much lower as well as the total sales estimates for the week compared to last yer.

The NY Times reports
Art insiders are calling it a “gigaweek” — and indeed, the lineup of auctions next week in New York is impressive, on paper. Sotheby’s and Christie’s will go head-to-head on four successive evenings in marquee sales of Impressionist, Modern and contemporary art. In addition, Christie’s is offering a themed selection of contemporary works on Sunday, immediately followed by Phillips’s evening auction of 20th-century and contemporary art.

This crush of events is expected to raise at least $890 million. Yet the hype that attends these auctions comes as demand at the top end is contracting because of turbulence in the financial markets and the uncertainty of this year’s United States presidential race. Last May, the equivalent themed and evening contemporary sales at Christie’s alone brought in $1.4 billion, with Sotheby’s taking in $379.7 million.

“A sea change has occurred at auction,” said Wendy Cromwell, an art adviser in New York. “The night sales are smaller, the estimates more conservative, the guarantees less exuberant, the great works fewer and far between.”

At the moment, Ms. Cromwell added, collectors will not part with masterworks “unless they are offered ridiculous sums of money.”

It would seem that Christie’s, which is privately owned by the French luxury-goods magnate François Pinault, is no longer willing to make that kind of offer.

Last May, that auction house and third parties pledged minimum prices to the sellers of more than half of the 117 works — including a $179.4 million Picasso — in Christie’s evening themed and contemporary sales. (Sellers of guaranteed works typically receive all of the hammer price and part of the buyer’s fees, with the auction house sometimes making a minimal profit.)

This year, Christie’s and third parties have guaranteed just 18 of 100 lots at that house’s two headline contemporary auctions. And no work is valued at more than $40 million, at any of the houses.

“The guarantees aren’t there any more at the highest level,” said Todd Levin, another art adviser based in New York. “Christie’s has stepped back, and the market is no longer on steroids and is returning to its normal state.”

That said, Sotheby’s and Phillips are continuing to gamble on guarantees to attract art. On Wednesday night, Sotheby’s smaller-than-usual 44-lot sale will include 10 works that the company has guaranteed for a total of more than $70 million; last May it guaranteed eight, with a total low estimate of$80.2 million.

Amy Cappellazzo, the new chairwoman of Sotheby’s global fine arts division,said that some guarantees next week had been taken on by third parties.

This will be the first evening New York contemporary sale Sotheby’s has held since paying as much as $85 million in January for the Manhattan art advisory company Art Agency, Partners, led by Ms. Cappellazzo, the former chairwoman of Christie’s contemporary-art department, and the highly regarded adviser Allan Schwartzman.

Sotheby’s previous joint global heads of contemporary art, Alex Rotter and Cheyenne Westphal, and Melanie Clore, the company’s worldwide co-chairwoman of Impressionist and Modern art, are among several directors who have left since that acquisition. “The brain trust has been depleted, and it’s really affected their competitiveness,” Mr. Levin said. “Sotheby’s evening auction is about 10 lots short of what it should be.”

Ms. Cappellazzo said, “We feel confident about the deals that have been done for May, and expect to be pleased with the results.”

Seats at the auction are reserved, though the live action is streamed onauction house websites. Here’s what to watch for.

Sunday

Perhaps the title was intended to manage expectations: “Bound to Fail” is the latest themed auction organized by Christie’s deputy chairman of postwar and contemporary art, Loic Gouzer, who organized last May’s blockbuster $705.9 million “Looking Forward to the Past” sale.

Sunday’s 39-lot event is estimated to raise at least $59.4 million. The auction is billed as presenting artists who have “challenged the concept of fine art and commercial success.”

The title lot — Bruce Nauman’s relief of a bound torso — is a cast-iron limited-edition version of a unique 1967 sculpture that sold at auction in 2001 for $9.9 million, a sensational sum at the time. It is estimated at $6 million to $8 million.

The selection of Mark Bradford to represent the United States at next year’sVenice Biennale should encourage bidding at Phillips, which is offering three works. The 12-foot-wide mixed-media canvas “Building ‘The Big White Whale,’” from 2012, is estimated at $3 million to $5 million. The 37-lot sale could raise at least $40.85 million, and includes 18 third-party guarantees and two company guarantees, according to Phillips.

Monday

Next week’s Impressionist and Modern art auctions are conspicuously short of major-name masterworks. The standout in Sotheby’s 62-lot selection is Andre Derain’s 1906 Fauve gem, “The Red Sails,” valued at $15 million to $20 million.

Tuesday

Christie’s postwar and contemporary auction has 61 lots, estimated to raise at least $285.6 million, with just three works carrying company guarantees. Jean-Michel Basquiat’s monumental 1982 painting “Untitled,” backed by a third party, is arguably the trophy of the week, estimated to sell for at least $40 million. The seller, the New York collector Adam Lindemann, bought it at auction in 2004 for $4.5 million.

Wednesday

Sotheby’s contemporary evening sale, at 44 lots, is far smaller than last spring’s 63-lot auction. As in last November’s auction, this sale’s most valuable lot is a 1968 Cy Twombly “blackboard” abstract. It is offered with a low estimate of $40 million, without a guarantee. The previous year’s bigger“Untitled (New York City)” sold for $70.5 million.

Thursday

Claude Monet’s 1919 water lily canvas, “Le Bassin aux NymphĂ©as,” rates star billing at Christie’s evening auction of Impressionist and Modern art. This signed and dated Monet hasn’t been seen at auction and is estimated at $25 million to $35 million.
Source: The New York Times 


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