Mixed Business at an Anxious Art Basel

After a series of overwhelming results in New York in May, dealers put it up for auction this year. art basel The Swiss trade fair, which opens for VIPs on Tuesday and opens to the public from Friday onwards, was hoped to allay concerns about a sluggish art market.

The 53rd annual edition of this iconic Swiss event with 284 international galleries dedicated to 20th and 21st century art is directed by Noah Horowitz, the new CEO of Art Basel. It was held for the first time below. It is held amid geopolitical uncertainty, with high interest rates and inflation hampering consumer spending in many countries.

“There’s a lot of anxiety around us,” said director Paul Gray. gray gallery, with offices in Chicago and New York. But in his 40 years of experience, the art market has seldom suffered a major downturn, he added. “Avid collectors keep buying,” he says.

The booths of the world’s top dealers at this year’s Art Basel showcased several trophy-level pieces commissioned from private collections. The existence of auctions indicated that some wealthy collectors were considering alternative strategies, as auctions tended to be the primary channel for such sales in recent years.

For example, the Acavella Gallery exhibited a 1955 Mark Rothko abstract painting, “Untitled (Yellow, Orange, Yellow, Light Orange)” from an American collector, priced at $60 million. Hauser & Wills presented a 1996 Louise Bourgeois “Spider IV” bronze for $22.5 million, and Pace presented Joan Mitchell’s 1963 “Gilorata Triptych” for $14 million.

The latter two pieces had found buyers by Wednesday morning, the gallery said.

“Price-seeking sellers are more willing to try their work here rather than see it sell at low or even lower prices at auction,” he said. Wendy Cromwella New York-based art adviser explained why some owners chose to sell at Art Basel instead of Sotheby’s or Christie’s.

“It’s up 40 percent compared to last year,” said the gallerist. David Zwirner said Tuesday. Relaxing coronavirus precautions played a big role, he added.

“We have Asian collectors here. They can travel without restrictions,” Zwirner said. He estimated that 20% of his first day sales were from Asian customers. “The last auction cycle also helped,” Zwirner added, noting that sales in New York were weak in May. “People were mourning the outcome, but the market has reset. Owners no longer demand unrealistic prices. It makes sales easier.”

American artist Noah Davis’ haunting 2015 painting The Graduation was included in Zwirner’s first day sales of $2 million, according to the gallery. A White Cube spokeswoman said the gallery had sold another Davis painting, “Pueblo del Rio: Vernon,” from 2014 for $2.75 million.Demand for the work of Davis, co-founder of underground museum The exhibition, which took place in Los Angeles before his early death in 2015, explores a more general market for the work of artists of color and women that has changed Art Basel and other art world events in recent years. It is part of a change in direction.

In the fair’s new section ‘Features’, dedicated to solo exhibitions of works by 20th century artists, the 84-year-old Dutch painter and writer Jacqueline de Jong will be present to discuss the situationists in Paris in the 1960s. He spoke about his experience in the international movement. There she produced her violent expressionist paintings. London dealer Pippy Holdsworth has put up for sale six of De Jong’s 1960s canvases for a special magazine, four of which will sell for between €110,000 and €165,000 by Wednesday, according to the gallery. became.

“I don’t like the word ‘rediscovery’. It makes me feel older than I am,” De Jong said. De Jong’s paintings are currently exhibited in two Dutch museums. “Still, the ratings at this age are amazing.”

But as in the past, collectors were also chasing new works by young ‘rising star’ artists whose value could skyrocket. At least 10 collectors have purchased a ‘Portrait’ work by Canadian artist Sin Wai Kin, 32. These gender-fluid digital works are inspired by Cantonese and Peking Opera roles and are courtesy of a London gallery. soft opening Prices range from $7,000 to $18,000. Another Canadian artist, Liza Lacroix, 35, sold her new abstract paintings at the museum’s booth. Captain Giselaa dealer in Cologne, Germany, priced at $36,000.

By Friday, some top dealers had already announced lengthy sales lists. But for other exhibitors, the hustle and bustle of collectors, advisors and curators wasn’t so easily reflected in handshakes and bills.

“We witnessed more conversations than usual between gallerists and fair-goers. Michael Short said. “When asked, most gallerists said ‘break even’,” Short added. “No one panicked, but no one was overly satisfied.”

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