Art sales: records and surprises in London


Art sales: records and surprises in London
Colin Gleadell reports on the latest goings on in the art market, including a Valentine-themed sale and a contemporary homage to Alghiero Boetti.
The Impressionist and Modern art sales in London last week saw an impressive £278 million change hands – one of the highest totals for a winter series of such sales in London. While it was generally Henry Moore’s week, with £33 million of sales, there were also strong prices for Impressionist paintings.

A record £8.2 million was paid for a snow scene by Monet, while paintings by Sisley and Pissarro also exceeded estimates. The Pissarro was one of many works from the collection of Elizabeth Taylor which all sold. The surprise here was van Gogh’s view of the Chapel at St Remy, generally considered a weak example of his work, which fetched £10.1 million, double the £5 million estimate, from a Russian bidder. Clearly the famed provenance was a factor.

It’s been raining in Palm Beach, but that has not kept the buyers away from the American International Fine Art Fair which closed on Sunday. Although some dealers in more traditional art were not showing this year as the fair branched out into contemporary art and design, London dealer, Richard Green seems to have found that to his advantage as he sold works by Monatgue Dawson, Alfred Sisley, Henri Le Sidaner, and no less than four atmospheric nocturnal views by Victorian artist, Atkinson Grimshaw that were priced up to $1.1 million. “It’s the technique; they can’t get over it,” said Jonathan Green of the Americans’ love for Grimshaw’s painting, “and it reminds of them of England.”

Valentine’s Day is celebrated at the new Stern Maguire Gallery in Albermarle Street with an exhibition devoted to ways in which artists have depicted love in post-modern times. ’While pop musicians still croon about love in the way they always have,’ says gallery director, Angus Maguire, ’contemporary artists have stood back from it with a kind of post-modern knowingness.’ Nevertheless, he has assembled a substantial array of work from Andy Warhol’s canoodling ’Blue pair of cats’ watercolour (£80,000 and pictured) to Brazilian photographer, Vic Muniz’ ’The Kiss (after Rodin)’ and Martin Creed’s yellow neon sign that reads ’Friends’ – both priced at £60,000.

Artists, including Gary Hume, Tony Bevan and the master of conceptual art, Joseph Kosuth were among the crowd who turned up for the opening of Gavin Turk’s latest show at Ben Brown’s London gallery where Turk has conceived an exhibition in homage to Alghiero Boetti, the Italian conceptual artist who is to have a retrospective at Tate Modern next week.

For the exhibition, Turk had employed guests of her Her Majesty at Wandsworth prison to make a series of alphabet embroideries spelling out the letters of his name, much as Boetti employed Afghan tribeswomen to make his now sought after embroidery works. Turk’s embroideries are selling fast, priced from £4,000 for the smallest, to £40,000 for the largest. Alternatively, there is a small Boetti alphabet work, Perdere la Bussola (to lose direction) for sale at Sotheby’s on Thursday estimated at £13,000 to £18,000.

Gearbest TS - BT35A08 Bluetooth 3.0 Car Audio Music Receiver with Handsfree Function Mic
TS - BT35A08 Bluetooth 3.0 Car Audio Music Receiver with Handsfree Function Mic only $2.99