Leslie Rankow Fine Arts

INTERNATIONAL ART ADVISORY SERVICE

Tag: collecting

Artist pension trusts, how they work, with expert Sarah Murkett, founder of Murk & Co.

THE ARTIST’S RESALE RIGHT (ARR) IS AN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHT THAT ENTITLES ARTISTS TO A ROYALTY PAYMENT EVERY TIME AN ORIGINAL WORK OF ART IS RESOLD BY AN AUCTION HOUSE, GALLERY OR DEALER.  IT WAS FIRST INTRODUCED INTO THE UK IN 2006. ALTHOUGH IT HAS ITS ADVANTAGES IN THEORY, IT CAN BE A BURDEN ON THE ART AND AUCTION MARKET WITH NEGATIVE EFFECTS BOTH ON THE ACCESSIBILITY OF WORKS AND ON THEIR PRICING.  OVER THE YEARS, IN THE UNITED STATES, DIFFERENT LAWMAKERS HAVE CHAMPIONED FEDERAL EFFORTS TO ESTABLISH THE RIGHT IN THE U.S. AND ARE FACED WITH THE SAME CONFLICTS.

https://itsartlaw.org/2019/07/01/its-not-that-easy-artist-resale-royalty-rights-and-the-art-act/

ANOTHER CONCEPT THAT WAS DEVELOPED AT THE TIME WAS THE ARTIST PENSION TRUST OFFERING LONG-TERM FINANCIAL SECURITY AND INTERNATIONAL EXPOSURE TO SELECT ARTISTS AROUND THE WORLD.

SARAH MURKETT, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MURK & CO., WAS  INSTRUMENTAL IN THE TECHNICAL AND AESTHETIC DEVELOPMENT OF BOTH MUTUALART AND THE ARTIST PENSION TRUST. IT PROVIDED HER WITH A PROFOUND KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORK OF MANY ARTISTS IN THE APT COLLECTION, CURATORIAL EXPERIENCE AND A SOPHISTICATED KNOWLEDGE OF A BUSINESS  BASED ON A DATABASE DIGITAL PLATFORM, ALL INVALUABLE WHENSHE CAME TO FORM HER OWN BUSINESS, MURK & CO.

THE LRFA BLOG IS HONORED TO SHARE HER EXTENSIVE KNOWLEDGE AND PROFESSIONAL HISTORY AT MUTUALART AND THE ARTIST PENSION TRUST WITH YOU TODAY.

SARAH, WELCOME BACK!

Sarah Murkett
Murk & Co installation
Work by Allan Mc Collum

TELL US ABOUT YOUR TIME AT MUTUAL ART. HOW IS THE COMPANY STRUCTURED AND WHAT IS THE SCOPE OF SERVICES IT PROVIDES? IT SEEMS TO OFFER A RATHER COMPREHENSIVE VIEW OF THE ART MARKET, AUCTION RESULTS AND APPRAISAL SERVICES AND ALSO TO REPRESENT THE SALE OF ARTWORKS FROM A BROAD RANGE OF PERIODS.

I was introduced to MutualArt through my friend Candice Madey of Stellar Projects whose ex, Ayal Brenner, was the CEO of the company.  MutualArt was looking for someone who could source secondary market material to offer to their global network of collectors.  The company was started by tech entrepreneur Moti Shniberg, who had also founded the Artist Pension Trust (APT), whose mission was to support artists through collectivized pooling of art, invested by the artists themselves into a Trust, for eventual sale, the proceeds of which were to be distributed back to the artist members.  At heart, the impetus for MutualArt was to build a base of collectors to potentially sell artworks from APT, which they boasted as being the largest collection of contemporary art in the world.  The way they devised to do this was to build a website that aggregated information about artists, including upcoming exhibitions, current news and most notably auction results. 

MutualArt article
Art Pension Trust Makes First Distribution

As with many tech companies, it was the interests of the collectors (the data), derived through the artists they followed and their behavior of the site, that was the ultimate value proposition.  They brought me on as the Director of Sales for both companies, and I was charged with building sales platforms for both MutualArt and APT, including trying to identify and optimize synergies between them.

I leveraged my network and partnered with collectors and dealers to offer individual works and larger curated sales on and off the MutualArt website.  I helped to develop original content and edited a weekly MutualArt newsletter, which would often feature APT artists. I familiarized myself with the works in the APT collection and initiated sales for the company, which ultimately lead to the first payouts to member artists.  Unfortunately, there were 5 different CEOs in the 4-years that I was there and the infrastructure and vision for the two companies never came together.

WHAT WERE THE HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR JOB AT MUTUALART. WHAT WERE THE AREAS IN WHICH YOU CONCENTRATED AND IN WHAT WAYS DID THIS INCREASE YOUR KNOWLEDGE AND FAMILIARITY WITH THE CONTEMPORARY ART MARKET?

My favorite project that I worked on while at MutualArt was the online selling exhibition that I put together in 2014 of video art from the APT collection called, “We’ve All Got Issues”.  There was a concurrent brick and mortar manifestation at the NEWD Art Show, a short-lived artist focused fair in Bushwick, which was organized by Kate Bryan and Kibum Kim, who invited us to participate.

Sarah Murkett
We’ve All Got Issues
Video Art from the APT Collection

The inspiration for the show was the APT collection itself.  There was a lot of video in the collection and while most artwork does not readily lend itself to a screen, I thought that video by APT artists and the MutualArt selling platform, which lived on a screen, made for a natural pairing.  I spent a Xmas holiday watching every video in the collection and from that, “We’ve All Got Issues” was born featuring work by artists such as Brian Alfred, Kevin Cooley, Keren Cytter, Rico Gaston, Kate Gilmore, Annika Larsen, Kalup Linzy, David Shrigley and Mark Titchner.

Needless to say, the show was not a commercial success.  What it taught me is that no matter how broad the platform for promotion, an exhibition in and of itself is not enough of a machine to create a market for work for which there is not much of a market to begin with.  This is the hard work that the galleries that represent these genre pushing artists do every day.

HOW DID THE ARTIST PENSION TRUST WORK AND HOW WERE THE ARTISTS SELECTED?

The Artist Pension Trust story is actually quite tragic.  It was a noble undertaking started in 2004 to provide financial security for artists into their old age.  It was to be a kind of retirement plan for artists, into which the only asset that member artists needed to invest was their art. Every artist was to contribute 20 artworks over 20 years and the number of shares they had in any distributions was determined by the number of artworks they had “deposited” in the Trust.  If selected well, some of the art was bound to go up in value over a minimum 10-year hold period.  The model said that only 5% of the artists needed to do well in order for everyone to benefit in the long run.

Kalup Linzy
NEWD art fair installation
Mutual Art exhibition

I still think it is a great idea, and that this version was just poorly managed, but poorly managed it was.  Here is a link to a story outlining the saga:

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/mar/17/art-pension-trust-investment-legal-action-artists

After closing a big round of financing, with new investors who wanted to see profits, management decided that a selection of the best works from the collection should be sold at auction.  It was my opinion that the artworks in the collection had not really established a demand in the market such that they would do well at auction.  Additionally, I did not think that APT’s artist members, or their galleries, would be supportive of the initiative.  I believe that I lost my job over this opinion.  The great news was that the sale in New York had a very high sell-through rate, but most of the work sold at the low estimates, which was well below the artist’s retail prices.  This bore itself out, much as I had predicted with artists and their dealers up in arms, so much so that APT pulled out of the follow-up sale in London.

SARAH, THANK YOU.  SARAH IS A WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE IN SO MANY ASPECTS OF THE BUSINESS OF ART. WE LOOK FORWARD TO A CONTINUED DIALOGUE ON THE STEPS THAT LED UP TO STARTING HER OWN COMPANY/

AND THANK YOU TO THE MANY LRFA BLOG FOLLOWERS FOR YOUR COMMENTS AND SUPPORT.

Save the Date: The Art Business Conference returns to New York on March 30, 2020

Louise Hamlin
Founder and Director
Art Business Conference
London, New York, Hong Kong

2020 DATE AND NEW VENUE ANNOUNCED FOR THE FOURTH EDITION OF THE ART BUSINESS CONFERENCE IN NEW YORK

THE ART BUSINESS CONFERENCE LAUNCHED IN LONDON IN 2014, IN NEW YORK IN 2017 AND IN SHANGHAI IN NOVEMBER 2018. ENTERING ITS SEVENTH YEAR, ITS MISSION IS SIMPLE: TO BE THE LEADING ANNUAL CONFERENCE FOR ART PROFESSIONALS INCLUDING ART ADVISORS, COLLECTORS, AUCTIONEERS, DEALERS, GALLERIES, INSURERS, SHIPPERS AND LAWYERS, OFFERING IN-DEPTH KNOWLEDGE AND GUIDANCE ON CHANGES WITHIN THE GLOBAL ART MARKET, PLUS THE LATEST UPDATES IN LEGISLATION AND TAXATION.

The Art Business Conference Networking

IN 2019, THE ART BUSINESS CONFERENCE IN NEW YORK WAS ATTENDED BY OVER 250 ART MARKET PROFESSIONALS REPRESENTING OVER 125 ART ORGANIZATIONS FROM THE UK, EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST AND USA. THE LATEST CONFERENCE WAS HELD IN LONDON IN SEPTEMBER 2019 AND WELCOMED JUST UNDER 400 ATTENDEES.  THE LRFA BLOG IS VERY MUCH LOOKING FORWARD TO THE MARCH 30th ART BUSINESS CONFERENCE IN NEW YORK AT A PERFECT LOCATION: CHRISTIE’S FLAGSHIP GALLERIES AT 20 ROCKEFELLER PLAZA (49th STREET BETWEEN 5/6th AVENUES).

https://www.theartbusinessconference.com/nyc/the-event/

 

The one-day conference for art market professionals will comprise a full day of lively panel discussions, informative presentations and Q&A’s, all in the heart of Manhattan.

The leading platform for the discussion of key issues in today’s global art market, the conference will bring together industry experts from all facets of the art world, providing a 360-degree perspective on major developments within the trade and offering delegates the opportunity to establish new contacts in the industry.

Louise Hamlin, founder & director of The Art Business Conference says, “I am delighted that the Art Business Conference will be returning to New York for the fourth year and to be partnering with Christie’s. The conference will be held in Christie’s main salesroom, the James Christie room, which is not only an iconic art world setting, but also an opportunity for us to accommodate a growth in our attendee base from across the US, UK, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Last year over 250+ art professionals and collectors attended.”

 

IN THE NEXT LRFA BLOG, THE TOPICS AND SPEAKERS WILL BE HIGHLIGHTED. THEY COVER A WIDE RANGE OF SUBJECTS INCLUDING THE NEW ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING DIRECTIVE, THE SCIENCE AND ECONOMICS OF COLLECTING, SUSTAINABILITY AND THE FINE ART OF RECRUiTMENT, PLUS THE LATEST UPDATES AND TRENDS IN DATA, TECHNOLOGY, AND CONSERVATION SHAPING THE ART MARKET TODAY.

Christie’s New York
Rockefeller Center

SIGN UP NOW! A NOT-TO-BE-MISSED EVENT.

To register please visit: https://artbusinessconferencenewyork2020.eventbrite.co.uk

To register interest for further press enquiries please contact:

Louise Hamlin (Director & Founder)

email: louise@artmarketminds.com

Tel: +44 (0) 7508 231 241

The future of the art market with Dana Prussian, Art Lending Service, Bank of American Private Bank

Dana Prussian
Art Lending Services
Bank of America Private Bank

THE ART BASEL AND UBS GLOBAL MARKET REPORT, AUTHORED BY THE RENOWNED CULTURAL ECONOMIST, DR. CLARE McANDREW, WHO FOUNDED THE RESEARCH CONSULTING FIRM FOCUSED EXCLUSIVELY ON THE ART ECONOMY IN 2005, REPRESENTS THE PINNACLE OF ART MARKET RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS. THE 2019 REPORT PROVIDED 5 KEY INSIGHTS INTO THE ART MARKET PINPOINTING A 6% INCREASE IN GLOBAL ART SALES WORLDWIDE, ACTIVE BUYING BY MILLENNIALS  AND A GROWING PARTICIPATION IN ONLINE SALES AS LEADING INFLUENCES IN THE CURRENT ART MARKET.

HERE ARE THEIR FIGURES:

Art Basel

1. The US retained its position as market leader

In 2018, the US sustained its position as the world’s largest art market, accounting for 44% of sales by value – or a total of $29.9 billion, the highest recorded level to-date. The UK regained its position as the second-largest market at 21%. China was the third largest market at 19%, with sales reaching $12.9 billion – a decline of 3% year-on-year.

2. Millennials emerged as active market participants

“A very positive finding of the research this year was the dynamism in collecting by global millennials.While respondents in the US were predominantly aged 50 and above, in Singapore, 46% of collectors surveyed were millennials, while in Hong Kong the figure was 39%. Collectively, millennials accounted for just under half (45%) of high-end spenders, underlining the importance of this demographic.

3. The online market witnessed continued growth

The online market reached an estimated new high of $6 billion in 2018, representing 9% of global sales – up 11% year-on-year.

4. Auction figures rose 3% year-on-year

While economic and political issues drove risk-averse buyers and sellers towards private sales in the dealer market, sales of fine and decorative art and antiques at public auction still rose in value, reaching $29.1 billion. High-value works had the greatest impact on this sum, accounting for 61% of total sales by value.

5. Art Fairs continued to shape the global market

Art fairs continued to play a central role in the global art market, with aggregate sales estimated to have reached $16.5 billion in 2018 – up 6% year-on-year. The share of the total value of global dealer sales made at art fairs was 46%.

https://www.ubs.com/global/en/our-firm/art/2019/art-basel.html

 

Lee Krasner
Free Space Blue, 1975

AT BANK OF AMERICA PRIVATE BANK, ART LENDING SERVICES, DANA PRUSSIAN, VP, HAS AN INSIDER’S VANTAGE POINT IN TRACKING THE EBB AND FLOW OF THE ART MARKET FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE INDIVIDUAL COLLECTOR, DEALERS, AND ART AND CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS.

https://www.privatebank.bankofamerica.com/solutions/individuals-families/art-services.html

DANA, A WARM WELCOME BACK.

HOW DO YOU SEE THE CURRENT ART MARKET?

Even though total art sales has slowed since 2012, we’re still seeing a strong art market. Low interest rates and stratified wealth creation worldwide continue to drive capital toward art. The art market is ultimately driven by sentiment, so the greatest risk is a major geopolitical event that impedes global capital flow.

John Chamberlain
Chinati Foundation
Marfa, Texas

HOW DO YOU ANTICIPATE THE ARCH OF THE ART MARKET OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS? DO YOU SEE A RETURN TO THE GALLERY SYSTEM OF THE PAST AND A RESURGENCE OF SMALLER GALLERIES OR FURTHER EXPANSION OF THE “UBER” GALLERIES?

We should keep our eye on how technology changes the landscape (online sales have yet to deliver meaningful scale or margin expansion), art fair fatigue, and new revenue opportunities for the major auction houses. I think the future of the gallery system will be based, in large part, on how a current push-pull resolves itself over the next decade.

The mega galleries, particularly the big 4 featured in Michael Shnayerson’s Boom (Gagosian, Hauser & Wirth, Zwirner, and Pace), are at a critical juncture. They are currently expanding their global footprints-and Chelsea footprints- in a big way. At the same time, the mega dealers who have built these empires are not getting any younger. We will have to see what their succession plans look like. With Pace, the Glimchers will look to next-of-kin, Marc. With Gagosian, Larry could be looking to Andrew Fabricant. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. 

Evan Robarts
Untitled Tenant, 2015
Bruce Wolkowitz Gallery

DO YOU COLLECT YOURSELF?

Working on it! One of the many things I love about my fiancé, Joel, is that he was interested in art well before I met him in 2015. He owned a mix of prints and lithographs by Miro, Sam Francis, and Dali, all of which we brought with us when we moved into an apartment together. Since then, we have acquired a few pieces together, most recently a massive Evan Robarts Mop Painting from Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery. It’s a wonderfully textural black and white on linoleum from his Super Reliable series.   

Helen Frankenthaler
Mnuchin Gallery: The Art of Marriage

WHO ARE SOME OF THE ARTISTS THAT YOU WISH YOU OWNED?

A Chamberlain crushed steel sculpture is at the top of my list. Before he passed away, I had the chance to see Chamberlain at work in his Shelter Island studio, which is an experience that I will never forget. Of course, we are in the age of identity, so I would love to start a female collection: Grosse, Krasner, Frankenthaler…I would weep with happiness! Also Shantell Martin. I met her this summer at the Parrish Midsummer Party. She’s simply the coolest. 

Shantell Martin
New York City Ballet commission

DANA, THANK YOU SO MUCH! THE LRFA BLOG IS SO APPRECIATIVE OF YOUR INSIGHTS.

BANK OF AMERICA PRIVATE BANK, ART LENDING SERVICES, IS NOT ONLY ATTENTIVE TO THE FINANCIAL ASPECTS OF ACQUIRING, COLLATERALIZING AND DEACCESSIONING ART BUT ALSO TO THE IMPORTANT PLACE THAT CULTURAL AND CONSERVATION PROJECTS ARE IN THE CURRENT ART WORLD.

 

Katharina Grosse
Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin

 

 

Introducing Dana Prussian, Bank of America Private Bank Art Services, combining business acumen and a passion for art

Dana Prussian
VP, Art Services, Bank of America Private Bank

IN MARCH 2016, THE NEW YORK TIMES PUBLISHED A STUDY ON A TREND IN THE ART MARKET WHICH HAS BEEN ON THE RISE  FOR AT LEAST THE LAST DECADE: ART AS AN ALTERNATIVE ASSET AND AS COLLATERAL FOR A LOAN.

Highlights from

ART AS COLLATERAL IN A FICKLE MARKET, Scott Rayburn, March 7, 2016, New York Times

Art and money have long been closely linked, but in the 21st century, it seems, the two have become synonymous.

One way to extract the latter from the former is art-based lending, in which paintings or sculptures are used as collateral for loans. Now that the notoriously fickle and opaque art market is seemingly headed toward a downturn, with money tighter and the prices of many artworks lower, will this kind of niche financing become more attractive to collectors?

Art lenders who have offered full-recourse loans, secured by a range of personal assets, have faced unfavorable publicity. During the financial crisis of 2008-2009, the photographer Annie Leibovitz pledged her four homes and the rights to her images to secure a $24 million loan from Art Capital. She was unable to service the debt, and a high-profile court action ensued.

“This is an opportunity,” Andrea Danese, a co-founder of Athena and the company’s chief executive, said in a telephone interview. Mr. Danese said there was potentially about $150 billion worth of art in private hands that could be collateralized. He identified three groups to whom his company’s products might appeal.

“First, there are billionaires who put the money into private equity deals, where they make 20 to 25 percent,” he said. “Then there are collectors with, say, $30 million of art they leverage to buy another piece. And thirdly there are the art-rich and cash-poor in their 70s and 80s who don’t want to sell because of capital gains or estate taxes.”

But art lenders, like pawnbrokers, can get a boost when markets dip.

THIS UNPRECEDENTED DEVELOPMENT IN THE ART MARKET OVER THE LAST DECADE HAS RESULTED IN A FOCUS ON THE FINANCIAL ASPECTS OF ART. ART IS SEEN NOT ONLY AS AN OBJECT THAT IS AESTHETIC PLEASING OR CHALLENGING AND INTELLECTUALLY FULFILLING BUT ALSO AS A NEW ALTERNATIVE ASSET CLASS OFFERING INTERESTING BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES. THUS, IT HAS PRODUCED AN OPPORTUNITY FOR EXPERTS IN THE FINANCIAL WORLD WHO ARE INTERESTED IN ART TO ENJOY EXCITING AND INNOVATIVE CAREERS THAT COMBINE THE TWO.

DANA PRUSSIAN, VICE PRESIDENT, ART SERVICES AT BANK OF AMERICA PRIVATE BANK, IS AN IMPRESSIVE, ARTICULATE AND KNOWLEDGEABLE WOMAN WHO IS  APPLYING HER INVESTMENT AND FINANCIAL BACKGROUND AND TRAINING TO ASSIST INDIVIDUAL COLLECTORS  AND ART INSTITUTIONS IN THE ACQUISITION, DONATION AND DEACCESSION ART AND TO USE ART AS AN ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT VEHICLE.

Linnea in Monet’s Garden

THE LRFA BLOG IS HONORED TO WELCOME DANA PRUSSIAN.

DANA, SO MANY THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE LRFA BLOG. WHERE DID YOU GROW UP? DID YOU HAVE AN INTEREST IN ART AT AN EARLY AGE AND, IF SO, HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?

I grew up in Louisville. My parents encouraged me to be active in the arts- I danced with the Louisville Ballet, took acting classes, played the violin. I’m not sure where my interest in fine art came about, though I do remember being obsessed with Linnea in Monet’s Garden when I was very young. Did anyone else have that doll? Book? Video? Childhood affinity for Giverny?

Diego Rivera Industry Murals
Detroit Institute of the Arts

WAS YOUR FAMILY INTERESTED IN OR COLLECT ART?

Not particularly, but my family has always supported the arts, whether it was the symphony, the theater, or the ballet. Much of my extended family lives in Bloomfield Hills, MI, and my aunt was a docent at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) while I was growing up. I vividly remember visiting Rivera’s Detroit Industry Murals and the beautifully intricate Dutch Golden Age paintings.

Gerard der Borch, The Younger
Lady at Her Toilette
Collection of the Detroit Institute of the Arts

WHAT IS YOUR ACADEMIC BACKGROUND?

I moved to New York City 10 years ago to attend Barnard College at Columbia University where I received a degree in both Art History and Political Science. It was really my secondary school that influenced me more than anything. I went to Louisville Collegiate School, which is this very close-knit, traditional college prep school, and I still feel endlessly lucky to have attended. We had a required course, HATA (or, History and the Arts) that was a two-year world history class with corresponding art, dance, music, and religion. It was my first serious exposure to art history and the material was woven in this organic, experiential way. After that course, I moved right into AP Art History, and it was a love story from there. I ended up passing out of the first three levels of art history when I arrived at Columbia. Even though I was so influenced by Collegiate, that there is nothing, NOTHING like being an Art History student in New York City. My senior seminar was at the Met on Monday mornings (the good old days when the Met was closed on Mondays and we essentially had the museum to ourselves), and I vividly remember meeting classmates on the Met steps on crisp autumn mornings, taking class with one of the Met’s curators, and then heading down 5th avenue to Christie’s for my fall internship. You simply cannot replicate that experience anywhere else.

Johannes Vermeer
Young Woman with a Pitcher
Metropolitan Museum of Art

WHAT DID YOU INTEND YOUR CAREER PATH TO BE WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED WORKING?

My exact role, except it did not exist when I graduated!

IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG POST, DANA WILL START TO DETAIL HER PROFESSIONAL ROLES THAT LEAD HER TO HER CURRENT POSITION. GREAT INSIGHTS FOR EVERYONE INTERESTED IN COLLECTING OR IN FOLLOWING IN HER FOOTSTEPS!

PLEASE JOIN US!

 

A profound commitment to the interests of the artist with gallery director, Maria Bueno, of Cheim & Read

Art Basel 2019
Cheim & Read

IN HIS RECENTLY PUBLISHED BOOK, BOOM, A FASCINATING AND COMPREHENSIVE COMMENTARY ON HOW THE CONTEMPORARY ART WORLD AND MARKET HAS EVOLVED, MICHAEL SHNAYERSON WRITES:

TRADITIONALLY, DEALERS LARGE AND SMALL HAD TRAVELED TO A HANDFUL OF FAIRS: FIAC IN PARIS, NEW YORK’S ARMORY SHOW, AND THE MOST ESTABLISHED FAIR, ART BASEL SWITZERLAND. WHEN ART BASEL MIAMI BEACH JOINED THE PACK IN 2002, AND FRIEZE LONDON IN 2003, THE PACE REMAINED, FOR A WHILE, MANAGEABLE. YET EACH YEAR, MORE NEW ART FAIRS SPROUTED, IN ONE COUNTRY AFTER ANOTHER…CLARE McANDREW, THE CONSULTING ART-MARKET ECONOMIST WHO NOW WORKS FOR ART BASEL, COUNTED 260 MAJOR FAIRS. WITH MORE AND MORE ART TO BE SEEN AND SOLD, DEALERS FELT THAT THEY HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO BE A PRESENCE IN AT LEAST A FEW OF THE PROLIFERATING SHOWS. IT WAS A COSTLY DECISION. 

Michael Shnayerson, BOOM, Public Affairs, New York, pp. 362-363.

Michael Shnayerson
Boom
Mad Money, Mega Dealers, and the Rise of Contemporary Art

A FEW GALLERIES ARE GETTING MORE AND MORE OF THE MARKET SHARE. MANY COLLECTORS ARE VISITING ART FAIRS AS THEIR PRIMARY SOURCE WHEN BUILDING AND ADDING TO THEIR COLLECTIONS AND FREQUENT THE GALLERIES LESS AND LESS. AT THE SAME TIME, JENNIFER FLAY, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF FIAC, IN AN INTERVIEW IN THIS WEEK’S FINANCIAL TIMES,  POINTS OUT THAT ART WORLD INDIVIDUALS MAY SOON NEED TO RE-EVALUATE THEIR CARBON FOOTPRINT WHICH COULD POTENTIALLY BRING THE FOCUS OF THE MARKET BACK TO REGIONAL AND LOCAL SITUATIONS.

IN THIS CLIMATE OF ECONOMICAL, SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS, THE RESPONSIVE ART MARKET IS UNDERGOING A TRANSFORMATION IN ITS WAY OF DOING BUSINESS.

TODAY, WE WELCOME BACK MARIA BUENO, PARTNER AT CHEIM & READ, WHO HAS OPTED TO OPEN AN UPTOWN GALLERY FOCUSED ON CONNOISSEURSHIP, THE SECONDARY MARKET AND AN UNFLAGGING COMMITMENT TO THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE ARTIST.

https://www.cheimread.com

Frieze, New York, 2018
photo taken by Brian Buckley courtesy of Cheim & Read, New York

MARIA, WHAT ART FAIRS DOES CHEIM & READ PARTICIPATE IN, AND WHY?

Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach. The outstanding quality of the material on view brings in people who are important to us, from curators to collectors to museum patrons. We take these fairs very seriously and our presentations reflect that effort.

WE ARE IN A CHANGING AND VOLATILE ECONOMIC CLIMATE. HOW DO YOU THINK THAT WILL IMPACT ON THE CONTEMPORARY ART MARKET?

It is hard to predict but collectors will always find the resources to acquire a work of the highest quality no matter the circumstances. We strive to source and show work of this quality level so that collectors feel comfortable and confident in what we are showing and offering them. We have worked hard to establish a loyal client base which we hope will follow us into the next chapter of the gallery’s history.

WHAT IMPACT DO YOU THINK IT WILL HAVE ON THE GALLERY SYSTEM?  WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES IN REPRESENTATING ARTISTS NOW AND EVEN A FEW YEARS AGO SINCE SOME DEALERS HAVE NUMEROUS GLOBAL LOCATIONS?

Dealers will need to find innovative ways to continue doing business and make sure artists have the freedom and flexibility to make their work. Today it seems like everyone is vying for “worldwide exclusive representation” – these representation wars are tiring and not necessarily in the best interest of the artists. Why not have several dealers with whom you like and respect working for you? 

Ron Gorchov
Opening exhibit September 2019
Cheim & Read
23 East 67th St, New York

WHAT ARE THE GALLERY’S PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?

Our new gallery opened on September 26th with an exhibition of historical, never before exhibited paintings by Ron Gorchov. We plan to mount 3-4 exhibitions per year, most of which will have a historical focus and examine key periods in artists’ oeuvres. Catalogues and other publications will add to our commitment to original scholarship. We also plan to participate in select art fairs. We will continue to work directly with a number of artists whom we have had long relationships with and will continue to pursue meaningful projects on their behalf. We will also concentrate on private sales in the secondary market. This work is informed by our depth of knowledge developed by decades of connoisseurship and our extensive archive.

 

Lynda Benglis
Catalina
Museum of Cycladic Art Athens, November 2019

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE IMPACT OF OUR SOPHISTICATED AND EVER DEVELOPING TECHNOLOGY ON ARTISTS’ WORK?  WHICH ARTISTS EMBRACE THESE INNOVATIONS MOST SUCCESSFULLY?

While Cheim & Read has always had a particular interest in the traditional medium of painting, technology has been helpful in executing a sculptor’s concept in more ambitious scales. Lynda Benglis for example continues to push the boundaries of this medium and uses new technology with her foundries to create incredibly intricate and detailed works on monumental scales. It’s exciting for all of us to see come to life.

Lynda Benglis at The Cycladic Museum, November 22, 2019

“Lynda Benglis: In the Realm of the Senses” opens at the Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens. The exhibition curated by Dr. David Anfam is the first solo exhibitions for Benglis in Greece, a country that has great significance for Benglis aesthetically and culturally. 

THERE ARE CERTAINLY TRENDS IN COLLECTING, MORE THAN EVER, SINCE IMAGES AND ARTWORKS ARE ACCESSIBLE BECAUSE OF THE INTERNET, INTERNATIONAL ART FAIRS, AND THE GLOBAL MARKET.  HOW DO YOU DIFFERENTIATE WHAT IS A TREND THAT WILL RECEDE ALONG WITH THE MONETARY VALUE  FROM AN ARTIST THAT WILL CONTINUALLY COMMAND A PLACE IN THE MARKET WITH ONLY SLIGHT EBBS AND FLOWS ?

In most instances, you can only know these things with time. For us, we continue to show and support artists we believe in, no matter the trends. It is this steadfast commitment to a particular vision that I think differentiates us from other dealers. 

IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG, MARIA WILL SHARE HER PERSPECTIVE ON TRENDS IN THE ART MARKET AND THE CONTINUED FOCUS AND FUTURE OF CHEIM & READ.

PLEASE JOIN US!

The importance of the new technology in the art market as analyzed in the Bank of America Private Bank survey

THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION HAS DRASTICALLY AFFECTED MANY INDUSTRIES, CHANGING THE WAY WE COMMUNICATE, ACQUIRE AND SELL PRODUCT. ONE OF THE INDUSTRIES THAT HAS, SURPRISINGLY, BEEN IMPACTED LESS THAN ONE WOULD THINK, GIVEN ITS BASICALLY VISUAl NATURE, IS THE ART MARKET AS SEEN IN THE RECENT PIERCINGLY INFORMATIVE AND COMPREHENSIVE BANK OF AMERICA PRIVATE BANK REPORT.

  • ART AND TECHNOLOGY
  • The art market remains one of the few industries still largely undisrupted by technology. We’re seeing innovation, but it’s still at the fringes. While online transactions are increasing, the growth of online sales has slowed, growing at 9.8% in 2018 versus 12% in 2017.
  • Internet-native art companies are trying to help. In June, private equity firm Cove Hill made an investment in online marketplace LiveAuctioneers, aiming to accelerate online sales growth for their auction house partners, while Invaluable has made it easier to source and buy lower value items. Major galleries like Gagosian and David Zwirner launched digital sales channels, but the digital revolution still eludes the art world.
  • On the transparency front, Christie’s became the first major auction house to record sales via Blockchain with the sale of the Ebsworth collection in November. At the request of the seller, Christie’s partnered with Blockchain-secured registry Artory to record its transactions. It’s an interesting development, but we’re a long way from Blockchain becoming industry standard.
  • The most significant art world technology has been the rise of Instagram. Artists market themselves, museums announce exhibits, dealers initiate sales, and collectors tout their purchases through the platform. In 2017, when the “Untitled” Basquiat sold at Sotheby’s for over $110 million, Yusaku Maezawa posted his photo on Instagram to let the world know of his acquisition. Younger collectors, artists, dealers and auction specialists are increasingly using Instagram to enhance their personal and professional brands. Expect the new status loop to fuel a herd mentality for some artists and more price volatility. So collector beware.

 

  • AS AN ASIDE, ARTISTS ARE CREATING WORKS THAT REPRODUCE EFFECTIVELY ON INSTAGRAM IN TERMS OF COLOR, DIMENSIONALITY AND SURFACE WITH THEIR AESTHETIC PRESENCE IN PERSON SOMETIMES TAKING A BACK SEAT.

 

  • ART LENDING

    Our art lending business grew by 20% year-over-year, as you all continue to unlock capital from your art to build hotels, buy sports franchises, expand companies and even buy more art, just to name a few. The four most common situations we’re seeing are:

    1. The balance sheet arbitrage: With historically low interest rates, more of you are unlocking capital from your art to redeploy into higher-return areas of your financial life, like private equity.

    2. Working capital line: During the current economic expansion, more of you are using art loans to fund the growth of your privately held companies.

    3. Monetizing a collection: The passage of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated the 1031 Like-Kind Exchange, making it more expensive to sell art. Instead of selling art and dealing with paying the 28% federal tax + 3% health care surtax + state taxes + sales commission, many of you have chosen to leverage your art via an art line to generate liquidity.

    4. Guarantees: We’re seeing more of you using art facilities to back guarantees at auction (but we advise caution).

    We estimate that total U.S. art loan commitments stand at $16 billion. We’re proud to have a significant portion of those loans, and we remain staunchly committed to the space. Given our forecast of continued low interest rates, stratified wealth creation, and expansion of the collector base, we expect continued growth in the space.

    Top five artists we lend against, by value:

    1. Willem de Kooning

    2. Andy Warhol
    3. Constantin Brancusi

    4. Paul Cezanne

    5. Roy Lichtenstein

    AT THE CLOSE OF THE SURVEY, BANK OF AMERICA PRIVATE BANK TARGETS THE OPPORTUNITY ZONES AND THE EFFECT OF CAPITAL GAINS TAX INCREASES AND THE REPEAL OF THE SECTION 1031 LIKE-KIND EXCHANGES PROVISION. THIS IS INVALUABLE INFORMATION FOR ANY ONE INTERESTED IN THE ART MARKET: DEALERS, GALLERISTS, AUCTION SPECIALISTS, AND MOST OF ALL COLLECTORS.

    PLEASE JOIN US!

     

Amber Berger, the profile of a young collector

AMBER BERGER, CO-FOUNDER OF SALTHAUS, AND HER HUSBAND CAME TO NEW YORK TO ENJOY THE ENERGY AND OPPORTUNITY THAT THE CITY CAN OFFER. ONE OF ITS GREAT DELIGHTS IS THE WEALTH OF ART THAT IS AVAILABLE TO VIEW AND TO ENJOY, ON EVERY LEVEL, FROM MASTERPIECES IN OUR NUMEROUS MUSEUMS TO ART FAIRS AND STREET FAIRS, ESTABLISHED GALLERIES AND EMERGING ONES.  THE LRFA BLOG IS ALWAYS INTERESTED IN UNDERSTANDING WHAT AND WHY PEOPLE COLLECT AND AMBER HAS OFFERED TO SHARE HER PERSPECTIVE AND POINT OF VIEW IN TODAY’S LRFA BLOG.

AMBER, WELCOME BACK!

WHEN DID YOU FIRST DEVELOP AN INTEREST IN ART? DID YOU VISIT MUSEUMS AND/OR GALLERIES GROWING UP, WITH YOUR PARENTS? WERE THEY COLLECTORS?

My mother is a fine artist so art has been a big part of my life since I was young. I grew up biking with her around the neighborhood and watching her paint nature scenes. We always went to museums in our own city as well as any city we visited.  I loved learning about the different techniques and have always admired oil on canvas, the texture just speaks to me.

Daniel Dens

WHAT PROMPTED YOUR FIRST PURCHASE AND WHAT WAS IT?

My husband and I bought an apartment together before we got married which began our personal interest in art. Living in the NYC there are so many incredible galleries, museums and art fairs to attend that helped us get a sense of what style we liked. Walking on the city streets, street art was our first love.  My husband could not get this one artist out of his mind that he saw in Soho on the street years ago so when we were ready to purchase art for our apartment we tracked him down, named Daniel Dens, and went to his loft in Williamsburg. It was a memorable experience going through rolls of art in his studio until we found the perfect one. It was a blue painting of Bridget Bardot with bright yellow writing on top that said “Merci beau-coup, Ciao I’ll call you later.”

WHO ARE THE OTHER ARTISTS YOU COLLECT?

Craig Allen, Julien Vos Andres, Jonas Sunset, Jonathan Robles, Curtis Kulig, Tanc, Bob Taber, Ole Aakjaer

Craig Allen

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE POTENTIAL INVESTMENT VALUE OF A WORK TO YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND?

We mainly go with our intuition, interested in pieces that move us and evoke a sense of emotion. Of course, we check with friends who are our advisors to make sure we are not making a poor investment but as young collectors we are not as concerned about the potential investment if it made us feel something.

HOW WOULD YOU CHARACTERIZE THE STYLE OR GENRE OF WORK THAT YOU HAVE ACQUIRED SO FAR AND WHAT DIRECTION ARE YOUR PURCHASES TAKING?

We love emerging artists usually in modern art and landscape photography. We have been into street art since the beginning and it has been amazing to watch how much that market has exploded over the last 10+ years.

Tanc

DO YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND AGREE ON YOUR PURCHASES? DO YOU NEED TO OR IS IT COLLECTING DRIVEN BY ONE OF YOU MORE THAN ANOTHER?

My husband and I luckily have very similar tastes so it has not been an issue to date. He actually has a great eye for art and we bounce ideas off each other all the time. We never set out to purchase art, it usually just happens when we come across a piece we want to bring into our home.

HOW DO YOU FEEL THAT YOUR KNOWLEDGE AND LOVE OF THE CRAFT OF JEWELRY HAS INFLUENCED YOUR TASTE IN ART?

Both industries involve craftsmanship so I truly treasure the fine details and understand that even when something may appear easy and simple, it is usually just the opposite.

WHO ARE SOME OF THE ESTABLISHED ARTISTS THAT YOU PARTICULARLY ADMIRE AND WISH YOU COULD COLLECT?

I love color so Jackson Pollack always brightens my day and butterflies are symbolic for my family so I have a natural soft spot for Damien Hirst. As for more recent artist I have been watching RETNA for years and still kick myself for not purchasing it years ago when he first came on the scene.

Curtis Kulig

DO YOU INTEND TO CONCENTRATE ON EMERGING ARTISTS AND HAVE THE FUN OF SEEING WHICH OF THE ARTISTS YOU’VE PICKED BECOME ESTABLISHED?

Yes I think that is my passion. We love watching people rise into stars so tracking the artists we have purchased or admire and watching where they land is a thrill.

THE THRILL OF THE CHASE AND OF THE HUNT AND THE REWARD OF HAVING A GOOD EYE ARE INTEGRAL TO THE HEART AND MIND OF EVERY COLLECTOR WITH WHOM I SPEAK. IT IS GREAT THAT YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND HAVE THIS SHARED PASSION AND CAN EXPLORE THE ART MARKET, GALLERIES AND MUSEUMS BOTH HERE IN NEW YORK AND WHEN YOU TRAVEL.

IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG POST, THE LRFA BLOG WILL FEATURE SALTHAUS, THE REMARKABLE HALOTHERAPY CENTER THAT AMBER FOUNDED JUST OVER A YEAR AGO. IT IS AN OASIS OF WELL-BEING AND THOUGHTFULLY DESIGNED, IMPECCABLY DETAILED AND AN UNEXPECTEDLY WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE. I WENT WHEN IT OPENED JUST AS A SIGN OF SUPPORT AND I WAS ASTONISHED AT HOW EFFECTIVE IT IS AND HOW RELAXING AND SEDUCTIVE AN EXPERIENCE!

https://www.salthausny.com/

UNTIL THEN!

 

The future at Sotheby’s

AS  A SURPRISING CODA TO THE EXCEPTIONALLY INFORMATIVE INTERVIEW WITH COURTNEY KREMERS, SENIOR VP AND CONTEMPORARY ART SPECIALIST AT SOTHEBY’S, THIS NEWS HAS SET THE ART WORLD ABUZZ IN THE LAST FEW DAYS.  SOTHEBY’S HAS DECIDED TO ACCEPT AN OFFER BY FRENCH TELECOM AND MEDIA BILLIONAIRE PATRICK DRAHI AND WILL FORMALLY BE A PRIVATELY HELD COMPANY, AS ARE CHRISTIE’S AND PHILLIPS, IN THE NEAR FUTURE. THAT WILL CERTAINLY DISRUPT THE LANDSCAPE OF THE HIGHLY COMPETITIVE AUCTION WORLD!

IN THEIR OWN WORDS…

SOTHEBY’S PRESS RELEASE JUNE 17, 2019

Sotheby’s (NYSE: BID) today announced that it has signed a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by BidFair USA, an entity wholly owned by media and telecom entrepreneur as well as art collector, Patrick Drahi. Under the terms of the agreement, which was approved by Sotheby’s Board of Directors, shareholders, including employee shareholders, will receive $57.00 in cash per share of Sotheby’s common stock in a transaction with an enterprise value of $3.7 billion. The offer price represents a premium of 61% to Sotheby’s closing price on June 14, 2019, and a 56.3% premium to the company’s 30 trading-day volume weighted average share price. The transaction would result in Sotheby’s returning to private ownership after 31 years as a public company traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

Tad Smith, Sotheby’s CEO, said, “Patrick Drahi is one of the most well-regarded entrepreneurs in the world, and on behalf of everyone at Sotheby’s, I want to welcome him to the family. Known for his commitment to innovation and ingenuity, Patrick founded and leads some of the most successful telecommunications, media and digital companies in the world. He has a long-term view and shares our brand vision for great client service and employing innovation to enhance the value of the company for clients and employees. This acquisition will provide Sotheby’s with the opportunity to accelerate the successful program of growth initiatives of the past several years in a more flexible private environment. It positions us very well for our future and I strongly believe that the company will be in excellent hands for decades to come with Patrick as our owner.”

Domenico De Sole, Chairman of Sotheby’s Board of Directors, said, “Following a comprehensive review, the Board enthusiastically supports Mr. Drahi’s offer, which delivers a significant premium to market for our shareholders. After more than 30 years as a public company, the time is right for Sotheby’s to return to private ownership to continue on a path of growth and success.” 2 “I am honored that the Board of Sotheby’s has decided to recommend my offer,” commented Patrick Drahi. “Sotheby’s is one of the most elegant and aspirational brands in the world. As a longtime client and lifetime admirer of the company, I am acquiring Sotheby’s together with my family. We thank Domenico and the rest of the Sotheby’s Board for its support and look forward to getting started with Tad and the wonderful members of his team to define our future.”

The closing of the deal is subject to customary conditions, including regulatory clearance and shareholder approvals, but is not subject to the availability of financing. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019 following shareholder approval.

FROM THE OFFICE OF PATRICK DRAHI

PRESS RELEASE ACQUISITION OF SOTHEBY’S JUNE 17, 2019

I am very honored that the Board of Sotheby’s has decided to recommend my offer.

With my family, we are very enthusiastic to build together with its current management
and their teams the future of Sotheby’s, a fascinating and multi-secular company with such a celebrated history of uniting people all over the world through culture and arts.

For my entire life, I have been passionate about this industry and I believe the opportunities and growth potential are significant for Sotheby’s.

I am making this investment for my family, through my personal holding, with a very long-term perspective. There is no capital link with Altice Europe or Altice USA.

As the future owner, I have full confidence in Sotheby’s management, and hence do not anticipate any change to the Company’s strategy. Management and their exceptional teams and talent around the world will continue to operate with my full support.

This investment will further demonstrate the anchoring of my family in the United States, a country where we have been very welcomed since the successful acquisitions of Suddenlink in 2015, Cablevision in 2016 and just recently Cheddar.

The telecom and media industries will keep being my main focus where I remain 100% committed to our businesses and to our continued growth. I will of course keep leading the management team in the development and growth of Altice Europe, as well as remain Chairman of the Board of Altice USA to support Dexter and his team who are doing a great job.

The acquisition of Sotheby’s will be funded by financings arranged and underwritten by BNP Paribas as well as by equity provided from my own funds. To help fund this transaction, I do not intend to sell any shares in Altice Europe NV; my intention is to monetize a small position in Altice USA up to $400 million by the end of the year. Due to Altice USA’s share repurchase program, the total economic stake of my holdings in Altice USA has increased over the last 12 months from approximately 34% to 38 %.

Life in a jewel box with Courtney Kremers, Sotheby’s VP and Contemporary Art Specialist

The History of Now: The Collection of Daniel Teiger
Sotheby’s London

THE COLLECTION OF DAVID TEIGER, A MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT AND FORMER TRUSTEE OF THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, WAS SOLD AT SOTHEBY’S STARTING IN LONDON LAST OCTOBER DURING FRIEZE WEEK. THE COMPETITION BETWEEN THE AUCTION HOUSES VYING FOR SUCH A SUPERB, VARIED AND LEGENDARY COLLECTION MUST HAVE BEEN FIERCE BUT SOTHEBY’S MARKETING STRATEGY WON THE DAY. TITLED “THE HISTORY OF NOW”, THE COLLECTION FEATURED EXCEPTIONAL EXAMPLES OF MODERN, FOLK AND CONTEMPORARY ART, FEATURING EXCEPTIONAL EXAMPLES BY SUCH ARTISTS AS JASPER JOHNS, DAVID HOCKNEY, JOHN CURRIN, PETER DOIG AND MARK GROTJAHN IN A SERIES OF TEN TARGETED SALES WORLDWIDE.

Mark Grotjahn
The History of Now- The Collection of David Teiger

DAVID TEIGER CREATED A LIST OF PRINCIPLES TO GUIDE HIM IN HIS COLLECTING. SOTHEBY’S ADVOCATED THE SAME FOCUS AND CONCENTRATION IN ITS MARKETING AND SELLING OF IT: TRAVELING WORKS TO MANY CITIES, THREE IN ASIA ALONE; RESEARCHING, DOCUMENTING AND CATALOGUING EACH LOT; SELECTING THE VENUE THAT WOULD BEST SERVE EACH WORK OF ART, RESULTING IN AN OVERALL TOTAL OF MORE THAN $100 MILLION.

http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/2018/history-of-now-collection-david-teiger-l18623.html

Peter Doig
Buffalo Station 1
The History of Now- The Collection of David Teiger sale

THE HARD WORK, DEDICATION AND KNOWLEDGE OF WORKS  OF ART AND OF THE ART MARKET REQUIRED FOR THE SALE OF THE TEIGER COLLECTION IS JUST ONE EXAMPLE OF THE VIRTUALLY DAILY DEMANDS ON SPECIALISTS IN A TOP AUCTION HOUSE. CONSISTENTLY PLEASANT, CHEERFUL AND POLITE TO EACH AND EVERY DEMANDING COLLECTOR AND ADVISOR IS ANOTHER REQUISITE.

TODAY, THE LRFA BLOG IS DELIGHTED TO WELCOME BACK COURTNEY KREMERS, SENIOR VP AND CONTEMPORARY ART SPECIALIST, TO SPEAK FIRST HAND OF HER SOTHEBY EXPERIENCE.

WHEN DID YOU START AT SOTHEBY’S AND WHAT PROMPTED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN AN AUCTION HOUSE?  CUSTOMARILY, MANY PEOPLE START AT AN AUCTION HOUSE AND THEN GO ON TO WORK AS A DEALER OR ADVISOR?

Yes I did it backwards. But I am so thankful I did. I was able to understand the ecosystem that the auction house serves by first being a part of that ecosystem. Sotheby’s approached me about an opportunity to revamp their mid season sales in early 2013; that fall, we introduced the Contemporary Curated sales. It was an exciting new challenge, and when I left Kim to pursue it, she couldn’t have been more supportive.

Vija Celmins
Burning Plane
Good to Go: Property from the Collection of Joni Gordon

WHAT DO YOU LIKE THE MOST ABOUT WORKING IN AN AUCTION HOUSE?

I am surrounded every day by people that love what they do. My colleagues, both in and outside the Contemporary department, are some of the most passionate, inspiring, and hard-working people that I have ever encountered. The energy is contagious. Not to mention the thousands of objects I get to see, handle, basically live with, every year. And not just Contemporary works… Our office is a rotating museum of Old Master paintings, jewels, photographs, Japanese scrolls, the most beautiful mid-century design objects. I spend most of my waking life in a jewel box essentially. It is a privilege to work at Sotheby’s, so I try to earn it every day. 

Ed Ruscha Broken Pencil In Its Own Light: Collection of Ed Cohen and Victoria Shaw

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MAJOR AUCTIONS OR SINGLE OWNER SALES OR SPECIFIC LOTS THAT STAND OUT AS HIGHLIGHTS DURING YOUR TIME AT SOTHEBY’S?

The Joni Gordon Sale in 2014 – we sold a rare Vija Celmin’s plane painting (now on view in the SFMoMA show) and achieved a record price for the artist. In 2017, the sale of works from the Collection of Ed Cohen and Victoria Shaw which included the most breathtaking works on paper by Anselm Kiefer, Michael Andrews, and Brice Marden… These weren’t the most high value consignments, or the biggest single owner sales in recent years, but the works were rare connoisseurs’ gems.   

Cecily Brown
Bonus
In Its Own Light: The Collection of Ed Cohen and Victoria Shaw

HOW DOES S/2, SOTHEBY’S GALLERY, WORK IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE SALES DEPARTMENT?  HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT THE BEST VENUE WHEN ADVISING A CLIENT INTERESTED IN SELLING A WORK THEY OWN?

Simply stated, when advising collectors regarding auction versus private sale, we need to understand what it is that they value most. For some, privacy and control of the sale process is paramount, and so private sale would be our recommendation. For others, the auction platform, which can present a unique opportunity for upside at a particular moment, is more appealing. With that said, every conversation is highly circumstantial and takes into account any number of factors. One that comes up frequently is depth of an artist’s market in relation to works currently consigned for an auction season (e.g. if we have four Calder mobiles already consigned for auction, we are likely not going to recommend adding a fifth).

Alexander Calder
Art Contemporain
Sotheby’s Paris, June 5, 2019

HOW FAR IN ADVANCE DO YOU WORK ON A FORTHCOMING AUCTION?  DO YOU HAVE A FEW LOTS THAT COME IN THAT ANCHOR A SALE AND THEN SEEK OUT WORKS COLLECTORS MIGHT HAVE THAT WOULD COMPLEMENT THE SALE AND BE ENHANCED BY EXISTING LOTS?

Yes – you nailed it. We generally work on sales six months in advance, but naturally the intensity ramps up about two months out. Roughly half of the sale comes in from collectors who reach out to us directly. The other half we seek out proactively. Based on what has come into the sale in the first few months, we seek out artists and periods that we don’t yet have. We start to create ‘wish lists’ that we work from. If we are a month away from deadline and see that we don’t have a great Joan Mitchell or Donald Judd, we will go out and try to find one. Our wish list changes a bit every season depending on what we know collectors are looking for, and also, opportunities we may see to tell a particular story in an auction season. We look at the ingredients on the table, and then figure out how to make a well balanced meal! 

Joan Mitchell
L’Arbre de Phyllis
Lumieres: The Levy Family Collection
Sotheby’s NY May 16, 2019

IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG POST, COURTNEY WILL SHARE HER PERSPECTIVE ON SOTHEBY’S PRESENT AND FUTURE.

PLEASE JOIN US!

AND HAVE A HAPPY AND LONG-AWAITED MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND!

Collecting advice from an expert: Sotheby’s contemporary auction specialist Courtney Kremers

Courtney Kremers
Sotheby’s

AUCTIONS ARE BIG BUSINESS WITH EVER INCREASING INTEREST AND PARTICIPATION FROM ALL CORNERS OF THE WORLD. THANKS TO THE GLOBALIZATION OF THE ART MARKET AND THE DEMOCRATIZATION OF ART BOOSTED BY INSTAGRAM IN PARTICULAR AND SOCIAL MEDIA IN GENERAL, AND BY THE HEADLINE MAKING SUMS THAT ARE BEING REALIZED, EVERYONE FINDS THIS AN INTRIGUING SUBJECT TO FOLLOW WHETHER THEY ARE COLLECTORS OR NOT. THE COMPETITION BETWEEN HOUSES IS FIERCE AND THIS WEEK, IN NEW YORK, PRESENTS MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO PROVE THESE POINTS.

Claude Monet
Meules
Sotheby’s May 2019

ON TUESDAY OF THIS WEEK, SOTHEBY’S TRIUMPHED, OPENING THE NEW YORK AUCTION WEEK, WITH THEIR IMPRESSIONIST AND MODERN SALE. ARTnews DESCRIBES IT AS SUCH:

Powered by a stunning Claude Monet landscape that doubled its estimate and elicited hearty applause in the grand salesroom, Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern evening sale in New York on Tuesday galloped to a market-affirming $349.9 million tally.

Only five of the 55 lots offered failed to sell, yielding a svelte buy-in rate by lot of 9.1 percent.

The buoyant result surged past pre-sale expectations of $252.6 million to $333.2 million. Those estimates do not include the buyer’s premium. (The hammer tally for the evening, before fees, was $300.5 million.)

The total also shot past last May’s $318.3 million result for the 32 lots that sold. The top lot at that sale was Amedeo Modigliani’s Nu couché (sur le côté gauche), 1917, which fetched $157.2 million, making it the most expensive work ever to sell at Sotheby’s.

Tuesday’s auction ranks as the highest-earning Impression-modern evening sale at Sotheby’s since one in May 2015 that took in $368 million.

http://www.artnews.com/2019/05/15/sothebys-imp-mod-monet-meules-record/

Hans Hofmann

BEFORE WORKS CAN REACH THE DAZZLING HEIGHTS OF THE AUCTION WORLD, THEY MUST FIRST BE ACQUIRED BY PRIVATE COLLECTORS AND THAT TAKES CAREFUL DELIBERATION, INFORMATION AND KNOWLEDGE AS WELL AS THE GOOD FORTUNE OF A GREAT EYE AND/OR A GREAT ADVISOR.

TODAY, THE LRFA BLOG IS DELIGHTED TO HAVE SOTHEBY’S SPECIALIST, SENIOR VP, COURTNEY KREMERS, TO SHARE HER ASTUTE INSIGHTS ON THE ART OF COLLECTING.

COURTNEY, WELCOME BACK! THE LRFA BLOG IS VERY HAPPY TO HAVE YOU HERE.

SOME COLLECTORS, SUCH AS THE MUGRABIS,  FOCUS ON A HANDFUL OF ARTISTS, BUYING NUMEROUS EXAMPLES OF WORK FROM ALL PERIODS OF THE ARTIST’S CAREER, THUS CONTROLLING TO SOME EXTENT THE MARKET FOR THE WORK?

WHAT IN YOUR OPINION ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND THE DISADVANTAGES?

There is a big difference between trying to control an artist’s market, by acquiring a significant number of works, and collecting an artist in depth. The pros/cons of this strategy are no different than having undiversified risk in any other asset class. It is high risk, high reward.

Lucio Fontana

WHEN YOU ARE WORKING WITH A RELATIVELY NEW AND UNSEASONED COLLECTOR, WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE THAT YOU CAN GIVE THEM?

Collecting involves a careful balance of restraint and gut. At the beginning, the formula should be weighted toward restraint and research, but as you develop a real eye, gut becomes a crucial part of the equation.

HOW DO YOU EDUCATE THE POTENTIAL COLLECTOR IN THE ART OF COLLECTING? WHAT ARE THE PRIMARY CRITERIA AND GUIDELINES DO YOU GIVE THEM?

It isn’t only about buying what you love. For an unseasoned collector, that advice can be a recipe for disaster, or at the very least, for overpaying. The word, “love”, is also confusing to collectors, because what does that mean when it comes to art? Your relationship with an object can grow from something that first would be described as discomfort, because it gets under your skin, stays with you, challenges something you thought you knew. In other words, the reaction to a great object doesn’t always start out as positive experience in a traditional sense, but it can evolve into that. Aside from the gut reaction you feel, which is what makes collecting so emotionally rewarding, you should always ask questions and understand what you are buying, how the work fits into the artist’s overall body of work, what the condition is, which galleries support the artist, which museums have shown the artist, etc. The list of questions is long and you should consider the answers to each one.

Sam Francis

YOU WORKED FOR KIM HIERSTON, WHOM I LIKE AND ADMIRE, IN HER ART ADVISORY FIRM.  WHAT WERE YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES?

Tons of research, among other things. Kim is extremely thorough and disciplined about every artwork she puts forward for a collector’s consideration. It was an information gathering operation first, art advisory second; you can’t advise unless you have all the facts. We spent a lot of time reviewing the artworks on offer through galleries, at art fairs, and in the auctions, and then thinking about how those works might fit into a particular client’s collection, and if so, what the right price was. Once an acquisition was made, we handled all the back end logistics that come with building an art collection – insurance, shipping, framing, conservation. It was a soup to nuts job.

George Condo

WHAT WERE THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS YOU LEARNED WHEN WORKING AS AN ADVISOR?  YOU MUST INTERACT WITH A GREAT MANY ADVISORS NOW, AS A SPECIALIST AT SOTHEBY’S. WHAT CHARACTERIZES THE BEST AND THE WORST OF THEM?

There are advisors who do their own research and who spend a considerable amount of time looking at art and understanding the objects, and then there are advisors who just repeat what they hear elsewhere. The parrots are just that, parrots.

NB- THE WORKS ILLUSTRATED IN THIS BLOG (EXCEPT THE MONET) ARE FORTHCOMING LOTS IN THE SOTHEBY’S CONTEMPORARY DAY SALE, ON FRIDAY, MAY 17th.

IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG, COURTNEY WILL SPEAK ABOUT LIFE AT SOTHEBY’S IN THIS AGE OF COLLECTING. WE CAN’T WAIT!