Portrait 5 Stephen(s), 2010 Lot #1

Stephen(s)
Portrait 5, Stephen(s), 2010

The whimsical Phillips de Pury & Company website is, as I’ve noted in the past, a remedy to prim auction house hem-haw. And I am pleased that Lot #1 of their Under the Influence auction of March 8, went for a full quarter of  it’s estimated $100, 000 to hammer at $26,000 — the full proceeds of which, will benefit DonorsChoose.org, which sends dollars to classrooms with projects in need of materials and resources.

It is much the credit of PdP that they take on nonsense and give full fluff to the requisite irony.

Here’s the site description of Lot #1, in it’s full glory:

1

FULL PROCEEDS BENEFIT DONORSCHOOSE.ORG

STEPHEN COLBERT, SHEPARD FAIREY, ANDRES SERRANO AND FRANK STELLA

Portrait 5, Stephen(s), 2010

Inkjet on canvas, with acrylic spray paint, Sharpie, looked-at-edness of Frank Stella. Printed at 291 Digital in New York. Suitable for Framing.  47 x 36 in. (not available in metric)  Signed “Andres Serrano” lower left.

ESTIMATE: AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

SOLD AT $26,000

PROVENANCE The Colbert Report

In an ambitious on-going work that calls to mind the sprawling constructed worlds of Matthew Barney and identity-questioning narratives of Sophie Calle, TV pundit and conceptual artist Stephen Colbert has been performing his site-specific installation, “The Colbert Report,”…

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Art Market Recovery: Tracing Improvements

$48 Mil Head of a Muse; Raphael
$48 Mil in 2009 for Raphael's Head of a Muse

As I continue to study the art market’s very slight, but seemingly strong rebound, I will continue to compile reports which should lend insight, not only to the workings of the art market as it improves, but to trends that should grow out of this latest bubble burst. What follows are some things to look out for and what they mean for the future.

Continue reading “Art Market Recovery: Tracing Improvements”

WALL POWER

Picasso’s 1932 painting “Nu au Plateau de Sculpteur (Nude, Green Leaves and Bust)
Picasso’s 1932 painting “Nu au Plateau de Sculpteur (Nude, Green Leaves and Bust); photo from The New York Times Online

Because the market is looking up, and because the art world responds so quickly to upswings –and, because Picasso’s 1932 painting “Nu au Plateau de Sculpteur ” is really big and has all the bells and whistles (a lover, Marie-Thérèse, the iconic head thrown back pose, and a very Picasso-pallet), folks at the New York Times say that an auction price record is about to be broken.

According to NYT, the Picasso, on sale at Christie’s onTuesday, is  “poised to eclipse the $104.3 million paid for the current record holder, Giacometti’s “Walking Man I” purchased at Sotheby’s in February.

Art is beginning to be viewed as a good investment again, and, since the financial collapse, it seems like a safer place to put one’s money than in the stock market.

Other reasons why the hammer is expected to come down on a record price:

  • The painting is from a popular Picasso period of very large, very colorful paintings.
  • Picasso’s from the year 1932 are not likely to be sold again any time soon, if at all.
  • It was only on public view once since 1951: so it has freshness.
  • It “reeks,” according to NYT, of “Wall power.”

A GOOD BASQUIAT

Sotheby’s upcoming Contemporary Art Sale is going to offer some of the most iconic works of our time — so many in one show that the outcome will definitely exceed house estimates.

In her book, Seven Days in the Art World, Sarah Thornton tells us that, in auction speak, a “good so-and-so” is not necessarily one of the artist’s highest quality works, but, rather, one that’s iconic of the artist , one that, as Thornton puts it “fetishizes” the aspects of the artist’s work when s/he emerged.

Read on:What makes it “good?”

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