New York art auctions set to spark

Posted on Nov 10, 2021, 5:05 p.m.Updated Nov 10, 2021, 6:06 PM

After an atypical year 2020, the 2021 vintage of autumn sales in New York got off to a strong start on Tuesday evening. Nearly $ 219 million of works were collected in a few hours at Christie’s, including a Basquiat at 40 million and a shower of records obtained for several contemporary artists.

The Pinault house made “a white-glove sale”, meaning that 100% of the forty lots dedicated to the “21st century” found buyers, with bidders from 27 countries. And 58% left above the high estimate.

The auctioneers of Christie’s, at Rockefeller Center, have therefore rediscovered the frenzy of the great days, playing a hybrid format in conjunction with connected rooms in London and Hong-Kong.

15 times the estimates

Besides Basquiat, Peter Doig also reached nearly 40 million dollars for “Swamped”, his record. Two paintings by street artist Banksy, “Sunflowers from Petrol Station” and “Monkey Detonator”, respectively reached $ 14.5 and $ 2.19 million. As for Beeple, known for his digital works and holder of the most expensive NFT at auction ($ 69.3 million in March), his installation “Human one”, remotely modifiable by the artist via the blockchain, has been sold. $ 28.9 million.

Multinational art companies Christie’s and Sotheby’s, as well as outsider Phillips, plan to sell at least $ 1.6 billion in works by November 19. Fifteen lots are expected to exceed $ 20 million, including Giacometti, Rothko and Van Gogh. Last month in London, some works sold 15 times their estimate as the expectations of collectors are great.

Refuge art

Several factors play in favor of this glowing health. On the one hand, the health crisis spared the wealthiest clientele. On the other hand, the fear that President Biden will raise the taxes of those earning more than $ 10 million a year to cover social and environmental expenses encourages a retreat into refuge art.

The confinements have led auction houses to innovate by creating OVR (on line viewing room) , by using virtual reality to make it possible to see the work in situ in your living room, by simplifying online purchases. Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips’ online only art sales exceeded $ 1 billion in 2020, compared to $ 168 million in 2019, according to Deloitte Private Art & Finance, and the market has grown. .

Treasures of inventiveness have been deployed at the marketing level to create the buzz, sometimes mixing eras, multiplying specialties such as the sneakers and the NFT to rejuvenate the audience.

Millennials seduced

The whole thing attracted millennials. Generation Y represents a quarter of Maison Pinault’s clientele this year, compared to 15% two years ago, and in Asia, it is even more than a third. The average bidder is now 46, two years younger than before the pandemic. At Sotheby’s, owned by Patrick Drahi, a third of customers are under 40 years old.

The highlight of these fall sales will be the collection of real estate mogul Harry Macklowe and his ex-wife on November 15: Sotheby’s expects $ 400 million, and another 200 million at the second sale in the spring next. Before that, Christie’s will disperse for its part on the 11th, the estate estimated at 179 million dollars of the impressionist collector and Texan oil baron, Edwin Cox.

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