Sotheby’s results drop in third quarter

Auction house Sotheby’s has recorded a considerable decline in the third quarter. Last year, the New York-based house appointed a new head, Tad Smith, to satisfy shareholders wanting the company to become more profitable. Despite encouraging indicators for its organised sales, the house’s proceeds have fallen. This drop in turnover is partially due to a change in the schedule for the summer contemporary-art sales in London, which took place in the second quarter of 2016 whereas they had been held in the third quarter in 2015. Sotheby’s registered a loss of $54.5 million, compared with $17.9 million in 2015. These results have emerged a few months after a 13.5 % share of the company was taken over by China’s Taikang Life Insurance Co, thus becoming the biggest shareholder of Sotheby’s, ahead of fund managers such as Daniel Seth Loeb, founder and chief executive of Third Point LLC, a New York-based hedge fund...

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A good year for Art Brussels

One month after the Brussels attacks that caused organisers to dread a negative impact on the fair, the 34th edition has ended with outright success. While certain visitors, namely Americans, cancelled their travel plans, causing a logical decline in visitor rates, this edition nonetheless kept its end up, with a fine artistic selection offered by 141 galleries. Le Figaro spoke of “diabolical energy” while the Belgian media highlighted the bold selection. For the first time, this edition took place at the Tour&Taxis. Sales were good, with an average price of around €20,000 this year while prices started at around €8,000. A bronze sculpture by Jaume Plensa sold for €340,000 at the Galerie Lelong stand. Xavier Hufkens sold a work by Alice Neel for €550,000 and a mask by Thomas Houseago for $160,000. The MOT International gallery presented works by Laure Prouvost, winner of the 2013 Turner Prize, namely Swallow Me, From Italy to Flander, a tapestry for €60,000. Despite a difficult context, economically as well as politically, Brussels has managed to stand out as a key contemporary art market in the hearts of...

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Results of the “Impressionist Modern & Surrealist Art” sale at Christie’s

The “Impressionist Modern & Surrealist Art” sale at Christie’s earned over $169.5 million (€139.9 million). This sale brought together paintings by masters including Picasso, Monet, Rodin, Matisse, Delvaux, Léger, Gauguin, Picabia, Ernst, Schiele, Chagall and Cézanne. 90 % of the lots were sold. Buyer activity online was significant, with 46 % of lots selling or being the object of a bid via the platform Christie’s LIVE. Picasso’s ceramics series was entirely sold. This success bodes for a healthy 2016 despite fears weighing down on the art market, all the more as the sale gathered buyers from all over the world. Over 35 works sold for more than $1...

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Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York totals $380 million

The Contemporary Art Evening Sale at Sotheby’s New York held on 12 May 2015 totalled $379,676,000, the second-highest sum reached by a sale of this type at the American auction house. 87.3% of lots were sold, marking the 13th time that an auction at New York exceeded a sold rate of over 80%. The sale featured works hailing from 11 countries, and attracted bidders from 40 different countries, including many from Latin America and Asia. The highlighted lots were: Untitled (Yellow and Blue) by Mark Rothko, which had been in the collection of Mr and Mrs Paul Mellon for 30 years, which was sold for $46.45 million; The Ring (Engagement) by Roy Lichtenstein, from the collection of  Stefan T. Edlis, which went for $41.69 million; Untitled (RIOT) by Christopher Wool, which had been in the same collection since 1991, sold for $29.92 million, establishing a new auction record for the artist; Dschungel (Jungle) by Sigmar Polke, which went for $27.13 million (estimated to sell for around $20 million); and Superman by Andy Warhol, which sold for $14.36 million after having been sought-after by seven international buyers, and which had been estimated to sell for between $6 – 8 million. Alexander Rotter, Co-Head of Sotheby’s Global Contemporary Art Department, said: “With a total of $380 million, an outstanding sell-through rate, and records for artists spanning the gambit of Contemporary Art, the sale tonight was a great success. In a sale that saw bids coming thick and fast from all corners of the room and all corners of the globe, tonight’s total was just a heartbeat away from being our best...

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Phillips London Design Sale totals £8.7 million

Phillips London’s Design Sale, held on 28 April 2015, totalled $8.7 million, with a sold rate of 77% of lots. The most expensive work of the sale was Marc Newson’s Lockheed Lounge (1990), which sold for £2.43 million, setting a record for the most expensive living designer. The second-most expensive lot was a demountable house by Jean Prouvé which sold for £602,000, followed by ‘En souvenir de la lévrette Bucky’ (In memory of the dog Bucky) low table by Diego Giacometti, which sold for £266,500. Other important lots of the sale included: a chair by Shiro Kuramata, which sold for £266,500; a pair of Tabourets en X, also by Diego Giacometti, which sold for £242,500; and a sofa and pair of armchairs by Jean Royère which sold for...

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