Flash News: Art Karlsruhe 2016 – Gottfried Honegger – Liu Wei



Every fortnight, Artprice provides a short round up of art market news: Art Karlsruhe 2016 – Gottfried Honegger – Liu Wei

Art Karlsruhe 2016
The 210 exhibitors at last year’s Art Karlsruhe art fair attracted some 54,000 visitors during the four days of the show. The thirteenth edition is set to open from 18 to 21 February 2016 in Rheinstetten, featuring 211 galleries from 13 countries, to provide an overview of 100 years of art, ranging from classic modern art to contemporary art. The particularity of this major art fair lies in the diversity of what is on offer, given the deliberately broad period covered. Impressionism rubs shoulders with expressionism, neo-expressionism, street art and the latest contemporary offerings from galleries such as Ernst Hilger (Vienna), Brigitte Holbein-March (Stuttgart) and Meyer Riegger (Berlin/Karlsruhe). This is not so common in the current world of art fairs, but if the desired level of quality is attained (as is the aim of Art Karlsruhe), the range of works and movements covered can significantly widen the scope for art lovers and visitors alike. After spotlighting Capa last year, the 2016 edition is to focus on the photographic side of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, a little-known aspect of his work, which nevertheless has an important place. Author of some 12,000 works, the prolific Ernst Ludwig KIRCHNER had a photographic production of great density. The Kirchner Foundation has selected images from among the 1,500 photographs in their collection, a sufficiently rare opportunity to mobilise lovers of this German expressionist (even in auctions, his photographs are rare and always offered in Germany and Switzerland).
Ahead of what is often a saturated period of art fairs in the month of March, Art Karlsruhe has managed to make its way and rallies a growing number of visitors.

Gottfried Honegger
The Swiss artist Gottfried HONEGGER died last week at the age of 98, after a long life dedicated to pure painting and conceptual work described as concrete art. This devotee of chance, who ordered his lunch or chose a book according to throws of the dice, introduced random choices in the distribution of the forms and colours of his works by using a computer as early as the 1950s. Honegger created his first relief paintings in 1957 and exhibited them in 1958 at the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York. The red monochromes on show were snapped up by buyers, including Alfred H. Barr, director of MoMA. At that time, Honegger became friends with the great champions of American monochrome, Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman, and it was they who prompted him to devote himself fully to his artistic adventure. But with time and after settling in France, his connection with the United States weakened. Honegger was to remain an important but discreet artist on the international scene, as borne out by auction results: few works are available on the US market, and it is in Switzerland and France that most transactions occur (with 66% of sales in Switzerland and 14% in France). A few months ago, the Centre Pompidou dedicated a retrospective to him (24 June to 14 September 2015), including some fifty drawings, paintings and sculptures, focusing on the genesis and development of the relief paintings. The exhibition made no great impact but apparently stimulated connoisseurs of concrete art, as his auction performance has never been so good as in 2015 (with annual sales amounting to USD 188,000). Sheltered from the speculative whims of the market, 87% of the work of Gottfried Honegger is available for less than USD 10,000.

Liu Wei: The Upcoming Generation
From 27 January to 2 May 2016, the Vuitton Foundation is presenting an exhibition of contemporary Chinese art, Bentu, organised in collaboration with the Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art (UCCA), and curated by Suzanne Pagé. Twelve members of the new generation of Chinese artists have been selected, including Liu Wei, represented by the Lehman Maupin Gallery in New York. LIU Wei is on the rise, particularly in auctions, where his performance has been spectacular. This young artist, born in 1972, achieved a 102% rise in revenue in the course of 2015. Only 13 works came up in auction rooms, but they were enough to generate a turnover of USD 5.3m, an average of more than USD 400,000 per lot. In just one year, this young artist has exceeded his own record four times to finally reach a peak of over USD 856,000 in November (Christie’s Hong Kong), for a large colourful view of Tiananmen.