Art Market News in Brief!



Every fortnight, Artprice provides a short round up of art market news.

Edgar Degas at the Fondation Beyeler

From 30 September 2012 to 27 January 2013 the Fondation Beyeler (Basel, Switzerland) will be presenting an exhibition of Edgar Degas late works. On the basis of two pastels in the Foundation’s permanent collection (Le petit déjeuner après le Bain, 1895-1898, and Trois danseuses, 1903) more than 150 Edgar DEGAS works have been united to illustrate the artist at the height of his art. These include prints, sculptures, photographs and paintings. Degas was one of the 20th century’s major artists and he produced a large number of works. Much in demand at auctions, his market contains a healthy volume of sculptures and paintings that accounted for 25% of his auction over the last 15 years generating a third of his total auction turnover. Nevertheless the bulk of his market consists of pastels and other mixed-technique works (accounting for 47% of his auction transactions over the same period, and generating 65% of his turnover). The same Danseuse au repos (gouache and pastel, c.1879) generated his two best-ever auction results, the first at $25m in 1999 (Sotheby’s London, 28 July 1999) and the second at $33m nearly ten years later (Sotheby’s New York, 3 November 2008). His works frequently exceed the 6-figure threshold and his auction track record contains 130 results above the $1m line. Recently, Christie’s London sale of 20 June 2012 alone produced five 7-figure results including some of his favourite themes: Grande arabesque, troisième temps (bronze, 1880-1890) which sold for nearly $1.1m, and another bronze statue entitled Etude de nu pour la ‘Petite danseuse de quatorze ans’ (bronze, 1878 – 1881) which fetched close to $4m.

Eugène Atget at the Art Gallery of New South Wales

Until 4 November, the Art Gallery of New South Wales is presenting Old Paris, a journey through more than 200 works by Eugène ATGET, exhibited for the first time ever in Australia. Indeed, these somewhat fragile works are rarely lent. The Musée Carnavalet in Paris is the main partner with the Australian institution for this exhibition. Eugène Atget was born in 1857 and is considered the pioneer of documentary photography. This exhibition focuses on his photographs of Parisian streets untouched by the great Haussmann works at the turn of the twentieth century.
More than 1,300 works by Eugène Atget have been sold at auction, usually at affordable prices. In fact, 80% of the results are below $10,000. However, Atget’s market offers great opportunities: his price index has increased almost tenfold since the late 1990s, and in 2009, he beat his previous auction record award when Femme (1925) sold for more than $550,000 at ten times its estimate (Sotheby’s Paris, 20 November 2009). A few months later in New York his Joueur d’Orgue (1898-1899) fetched $570,000 (Christie’s NY, 15 April 2010).

Miró exhibition scheduled for spring 2013 at the Fondation Leclerc

Recently taken over by the Leclerc cultural foundation, the former Capuchin monastery in Landerneau, France, was transformed into a museum with the aim of making Contemporary art accessible to the local population in Brittany. After exhibiting the work of Gérard FROMANGER and Joan MIRO the foundation is organising a major exhibition of the work of Joan MIRO starting June 2013.A key figure of Surrealism, Miró eventually went his own way inventing his own aesthetic language in the late 1920s, declaring that he wanted to « kill » conventional art. He successively expressed himself through painting, collage, printmaking, sculpture, engravings, ceramics and modelling with ever more simplified and abstract works.Miró was a prolific artist. However, out of the 7,127 works offered at auctions since January 2008, only 144 have been paintings (o/w 113 sold). His museum-quality paintings are rare and elicit very strong bidding. In June 2012, Sotheby’s London generated his latest auction record when his Peinture (Etoile Bleue) fetched nearly $33m. Like other 20th century masters, Miró has become a safe investment, and his prices have benefited from that status. The same painting sold for almost $20m less in December 2007 (Aguttes, Paris). In short, it is almost impossible to find a accomplished painting larger than 60cm for less than $500,000. His bronze sculptures go for between $100,000 and $600,000 on average but can generate auction records if they are painted. For example, his Personnage fetched $5.1m in May 2008 (Christie’s, New York). On average, his drawings in gouache and pastel change hands for between $220,000 and $500,000. As for his ceramic works, expect to pay between $160,000 and $250,000, even for a small format. In April 2012, a Sans Titre work (2.5 x 21 x 26 cm) fetched more than $160,000 (Millon & Associés, Paris). His large format prints, and/or prints from rare editions, and his portfolios in good condition sometimes attract very enthusiastic bidding: a lot of 23 prints entitled Constellations sold for $52,400 at Shinwa in Tokyo in February 2012. However, the majority of these works are affordable, mostly selling for between $1,000 and $10,000.