Frieze and More

If it is October, then it is time for the Frieze Art Fair in Regents Park, London.  The Frieze has been looked on as a barometer for what is happening and going to happen in the contemporary art sector.

The Financial Times just ran a good article on the outlook of the fair and upcoming major sales at the major auctions houses which are being held in the next few weeks.  The outlook at best is undermined with signs of both optimism, but perhaps a bit more caution.  As I have been mentioning about the upcoming fall season in past AW Blog posts, there is much concern over the art market due to the current global economic concerns. 

The Frieze has 173 dealers, and there is concern if there will be enough buyers/collectors to support the number of dealers.  There is also concern about the limitations of quality art being offered at the fair.  The article also states there are concerns about major upcoming fall auction sales as well, with over 1,100 lots being offered by the various auctions houses. 

The general consensus in the trade press seems to be the quality of art being offered is good as sellers have decent confidence, but economic concerns of buyers being cautious, and again enough buyers to support all of the art is definetly a question.  Soon we will have the results and we will know.

The FT reports

Are there enough buyers for it all? The New York-based art adviser Lisa Schiff says: “The financial turmoil is definitely beginning to rattle collectors, particularly because of the uncertainty. No one knows what is going to happen next. It certainly would help if the markets rallied a little next week.” Nevertheless, her clients are coming to London, and moving on to Paris the following week for Fiac, the French contemporary fair. “We will be picky, and everyone will be chasing the same few high-quality things,” she says.

See our 10-page Frieze Week supplement, published on Wednesday October 12

In the salerooms, more than £111m worth of art is on offer, in 1,178 lots. “This week is going to be a big test of the market, between the fairs and the auctions,” says Maclean. “We have the feeling that New York is a little quieter than it was. There is good material in the sales but I think people are going to play safe.”

Both Christie’s and Sotheby’s have separately catalogued sales of Italian art, but the most expensive lot of the week is a candle-piece by Gerhard Richter, currently the subject of a show at Tate Modern. “Kerze (Candle)” (1982, est £6m-£9m) comes up for sale at Christie’s on Friday. Sotheby’s star lot on Thursday is a small but remarkable Lucian Freud 1952 portrait, looking for £3m-£4m.

Phillips’ evening sale on Wednesday is led by one of Koons’ plastic walrus-stuck-in-a wastebasket sculptures. Previously unsold at Art Basel, where it was tagged at $5m, it is offered at £2m-£3m. The new kid on the block is Bonhams, inaugurating its first “Contemporary One” sale on Thursday afternoon with 20 lots, including Alighiero Boetti’s “Anno 1984”, estimated at £1.2m-£1.8m, and Glenn Brown’s “Little Death” (2000). Like the bigger boys, Bonhams is even giving guarantees: there’s one on the Brown, and the firm has a financial interest in the Boetti.
To read the full FT article, click HERE.

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