London: the Islamic art market

The Islamic art market has been boosted in London by exceptional sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s. But given the state of the current situation in the Islamic world, auction houses now need to obtain extra — and compulsory information — before placing a piece on sale. An auction house now has to have proof that the work left its country of origin legally; the new rule has been introduced in an attempt to fight illegal sales of pillaged works. Even if the world’s auction houses have reason to fear censorship, the Islamic art market is continuing to grow internationally, especially in London where a circle of keen collectors throngs. On 20 October 2016, Christie’s sold a page from the famous Indian manuscript, Hamzanama (1564). Estimated at between £200,000 and 300,000, the page finally went at £821,000. The illustration on the page shows Amir Hamza — uncle of the prophet Muhammad — clinging to the claws of a phoenix. The sale of the manuscript page was the high point of the Islamic Art Week from 14 to 25...

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Over €2 million for the Pierre-Yves Le Diberder collection

The sale of the Pierre-Yves Le Diberder collection, held on Friday 14 October at Druot by auction house Pierre Bergé & Associés, in association with Christie’s, raised €2,084,786. The sale reflected the collection’s eclecticism: for example, on the one hand, a painting by Ferdinand Joseph Guerldry from 1881, Une Régate à Joinville, le départ, yielding €114,240, and on the other hand, Man Ray, an acrylic and ink serigraphy on canvas by Andy Warhol raising...

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A new office for Christie’s

The renowned auction house, founded in 1766 in London, inaugurated its new flagship in Beijing on 15 October. After becoming the first house to make sales in China in 2013, Christie’s has set up in the Middle Kingdom for good. This inauguration ties in with its opening of a gallery in the centre of the Chinese capital. After an exhibition on Pablo Picasso, Christie’s wants to seduce Chinese collectors with an increasing hunger for art. “Our new Beijing space marks an important milestone during our 250-year mission to connect art and collectors,” declared Christie’s CEO Patricia Barbizet. The works shown at this exhibition will then go on sale in New York in...

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Sale of the Leslie Waddington collection

At Christie’s in London, on 4 October, 100 % of the Leslie Waddington collection was sold, and 80 % of lots went for over their high estimates. The sale reaped a total of £28,285,525. With these results, the sale pays fine homage to a pioneering contemporary-art collector and dealer. Bids came from 37 countries. Robert Motherwell’s Spanish Elegy was sold for the sum of £905,000, well above its high estimate of £300,000. The top lot of the evening was a work by Jean Dubuffet, Visiteur au chapeau bleu (1955), which went for £4,813,000. Of note is a world record set by the sale of Las Meninas by Michael Craig-Martin, pushed up to £149,000. The painting on paper, Lampe, by Francis Picabia, was sold for £3,637,000, thus doubling its high estimate. The sale also notched up fine scores for works by Josef Albers, Alexander Calder, Milton Avery and Agnes...

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Art market: 30 billion euros

The Conseil des Ventes, the French authority regulating public auctions, publishes a yearly “report”, which is an opportunity to consider the market’s vitality, from New York to Paris. A review of the very lucrative sector of art and collection objects.   The world is bipolar… This situation isn’t new, but it’s now been confirmed by the latest “Rapport d’Activité du Conseil des Ventes Volontaires” (Activity Report of the Council for Voluntary Sales, the authority which regulates public auctions in France), delivering an assessment of 2015 this summer. This is how things stand… On one side, the United States and China together generate two-thirds of global auction activity, in other words, 66.2 % of the very lucrative “art and collection objects” sector; and on the other side, there’s the rest of the world. And as nothing is straightforward in the kingdom of finance, the gap between the two giants is widening further this year. While Uncle Sam’s sales proceeds jumped up by 20.8 %, climbing from 9.27 billion euros in 2014 to 11.2 billion euros inn 2015, the Middle Kingdom remains steady at 8.68 billion euros in 2015, in other words, a 0.6 point drop. Moving up, the United States now represents 37.3 % of the global market while China, transiting through an adjustment phase since 2013, is a little behind with 28.9 %. In short, the art auction market today represents some 30 billion euros, spent in the four corners of the planet on Flemish paintings, 18th century commodes, Ming porcelain… So much to say that since 2009, according to the Conseil des Ventes’ figures, the total of sales on the auction market has more than doubled, swelling up by 126 %. The only shadow on this picture is the sluggishness recorded between 2011 and 2012, partly due to...

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