Core values stand the test of the pandemic at the Sean Kelly Gallery with Senior Partner, Cecile Panzieri
That the pandemic has shifted how art is bought and sold is evident in the 255% rise in online-only auction sales between January and August, to nearly US$597 million from US$168 million in the same period last year. Of the experts surveyed, 24% expect auction sales overall will rise in the next six months, while 39% expect rising sales to continue for a year.
The ability of the major auction houses to pivot quickly to digital sales, and eventually to hybrid models involving live-streams from their global locations, buffered the initial steep losses the houses experienced in the first part of the year, ArtTactic said. Still, year-end results will likely be significantly down from 2019 levels, the report said.
In 2019, global auction sales from Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips were US$9.74 billion, down 19.8% from a year earlier.
Art Basel Miami OVR
Sean Kelly Gallery
IN THIS VERY COMPETITIVE ART WORLD, IN WHICH ARTISTS ARE AS CONSCIOUS OF THEIR PROFESSIONAL STANDING AS THEY OF THEIR ARTISTIC DEVELOPMENT, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS WITH RESPECT TO REPRESENTING THE WORK?
We share and do everything we can to foster our artists’ ambitions and our ambitions for them. We want their work to be critically recognized, publicly exhibited, and collected. We want to facilitate their creative vision. Our ability to succeed in these areas comes from decades of experience and nurtured relationships, but this alone is not enough: the artists are integral to making our efforts successful. Our artists understand this. The pandemic with all its challenges has reinforced the core values that bind us: trust, integrity, hard work and passion for what we do. Together we are well positioned to navigate the current stormy waters.
HOW DO YOU PLACE WORKS IN BOTH PRIVATE AND PUBLIC COLLECTIONS? ARE THE PROCESSES SIMILAR OR DIFFERENT OR DO THEY OVERLAP?
Over the years, we have had the pleasure of getting to know collectors who were at different points in their collecting history. We have wanted to create a gallery experience where one would feel welcome to explore, discover and talk about art, be it with Sean, me or my other colleagues. If a museum wants to acquire a work by one of our artists, we will do our best working with the artist to facilitate an acquisition. Our collectors understand that institutions are a priority, they are generous and excited for the artists when this happens. Over the years we have placed works in the collections of many museums worldwide. My experience with our collectors over the years is that acquiring a work is a pursuit they love and a question of timing: “the right work at the right time”. We value our collectors, their passion and support for the gallery’s program. They know that when solicited they can trust and rely on our opinion. I derive a lot of satisfaction from being part of the “matching” process and fulfilling the quest along the way.
HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK ART FAIRS ARE TO BOTH THE PRESENCE OF THE GALLERY AND TO THE ARTISTS IN THE GLOBAL MARKET?
Art fairs are important as they provide visibility to the gallery and its program, and the opportunity to meet existing and new collectors, private and institutional from all over the world in an “acquiring” or research mode. It is instrumental to the expansion of the gallery’s activities and network. I am a “people” person and very much enjoy attending and working at art fairs. Operating a gallery of our size without art fairs as we just experienced these past few months has meant less income. Virtual art fairs are not the same: they require a great deal of planning but our collectors find them both overwhelming and underwhelming, and are learning how to “visit” them, the same way we are learning how to best participate in them, and what technology can or cannot do for the remote art viewing experience. More and more people from all over the world spend a lot of time looking at art, and more and more, purchasing art on the internet as well. What we do not know is how profound and lasting this trend is.
WHICH ART FAIRS DOES THE GALLERY PARTICIPATE IN AND WHY?Until the pandemic forced the cancellation of all art fairs, we participated in Art Basel, Art Basel Miami, Art Basel Hong Kong, Armory Show, ADAA , Zona Maco, Taipei Dangdai, TEFAF NY and Frieze NY. We felt that each fair complemented our activities at the gallery. We have been deliberate in making sure that we do not become too dependent on them. The core of our business is gallery driven, it is solid. The past few months of distant/remote working have validated our prudence.THE LRFA BLOG LOOKS FORWARD TO CECILE’S PERSPECTIVE ON THE CURRENT MARKET AND FUTURE PLANS OF SEAN KELLY GALLERY IN OUR NEXT POST.PLEASE JOIN US!