Flash News: Neo Rauch – Frank Stella – Turner Prize



Every fortnight, Artprice provides a short round up of art market news: Neo Rauch, In the sleep of the world – The Year of Frank Stella – And the nominees for the Turner Prize are…

Neo Rauch, In the sleep of the world
Following retrospectives in Leipzig, Munich and Brussels, Neo RAUCH, one of the top names in contemporary German painting, is exhibiting his work in Berlin (exhibit titled Im Schlaf der Welt, In the Sleep of the World, through15 March 2016).
Few painters today are as sought-after and exhibited as much as this 55-year-old artist, born in Leipzig, and educated in former East Germany (GDR). Neo Rauch was educated at the Leipzig Academy, known for having been a hotspot for socialist realist painting. It has since become a figurehead for the New Leipzig School, with its fragmented painting, with varied sources of inspiration, which evoked everything from Surrealism and Pop art to comic strips. Its disconcerting canvases are organised through an unconscious process and create enigmatic smash-ups.

Almost no one was interested in this figurative painting in the 80s, or even at the start of the 90s. Remember that this painting was “the wrong kind”… suspected of obsolescence in a world where contemporary art swears by installations alone, conceptual art and by the emergence of new media. Today, the work of Neo Rauch is among the most popular on the market… Explosive, its price index illustrates the infatuation with it well: an increase of +236% in just 10 years! Taken under the wing of powerful galleries, such as Charles Saatchi and David Swirner, Neo Rauch has been emulated throughout the West, and his works have been included in important museum collections, such as the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA in New York, in Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, or even Museum Ludwig in Cologne. And the price for the best paintings? Several hundred thousands of dollars… or even more than a million for some (two new top prices of more than a million dollars were recorded in 2015. The year is not over yet, but has already shown itself as a record year at auctions).
If the canvases of Neo Rauch are out of your range, the lithographs are still accessible: they make up the heart of the market, with 40% of his works selling for under USD 5,000.

The Year of Frank Stella
Born in 1936, Frank STELLA is unquestionably one of the most important living American artists. Thus the retrospective set to open at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (30 October 2015-7 February 2016) is expected to be one of the major events of the year. The Whitney homage pays tribute to Stella’s prolific production since the mid-1950s, through a selection of roughly 120 works. Stella established his abstract language in 1958 and his first Black Paintings were already included in a collective exhibit at MoMA in New York in 1959 (Sixteen Americans).

Next to arrive were the Shaped canvases, in an approach close to the French Support-Surface movement. At that time, this work stripped of everything superfluous immediately seduced the great merchant Leo Castelli…

Today, these works are considered historic milestones of contemporary American art, so much so that a red canvas from 1961, radically abstract, titled Delaware crossing, will be one of the landmark pieces of the Sotheby’s sale on 5 November 2015. Delaware crossing, which comes from the famous Alfred Taubman collection (former director of Sotheby’s), should round off “The Year of Stella” and set his all-time high at auction, estimated at USD 8–12m.

And the nominees for the Turner Prize are…
Anish Kapoor won it in 1991, Antony Gormley in 1994, Damien Hirst in 1995…The famous Turner Prize is an award given by the Tate Gallery since 1984 to recognise an artist under 50 years of age working in the United Kingdom. Recent winners include Mark WALLINGER (2007), Elizabeth PRICE (2012) and Laure PROUVOST (2013). The name of the 2015 winner will be announced on 7 December 2015, at Glasgow Tramway. In the meantime, the nominees’ exhibition leaves a good number of visitors perplexed, as well as the most expert critics, whose opinions are very divided…the work, selected for the ideas that they convey more than the new forms that they bring out, perpetuates a tradition that makes the Turner Prize one of the most controversial awards.

The 25,000 pound award will be chosen among: Assemble, an artist collective on the cusp of art, design and architecture; Bonnie Camplin, multidisciplinary artist exhibited at the Tate Britain in London in 2013; Janice Kerbel, selected for her singing performances, with Doug, a nine-song opera for six voices, and Nicole Wermers, who, in her “appropriationist” approach, installed fur coats on the backs of metal frame chairs created by Marcel Breuer. One thing is certain: the Turner Prize does not yield to the law of the market.