Flash News : Art Paris – Francis Bacon – Bill Viola



Every fortnight, Artprice provides a short round up of art market news: Art Paris – Francis Bacon – Bill Viola

Art Paris and China

After showcasing the Russian art scene in 2013, this year Art Paris is turning its attention eastwards (Central Europe, the Middle East and Asia). And as 2014 is the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and China, 10 of the 140 international galleries selected come from Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, with 90 artists being represented from the modern and contemporary Chinese art scene. Aside from the commemorative aspect, the stakes are high because the Chinese scene is one of the most dynamic in terms of production and because China has once again – for the fourth consecutive year – consolidated its position as the global capital of the art market in terms of annual revenue. Indeed, at $4.1 billion, sales of art in China have once again grown by 21 % compared to 2013.
So from 27-30 March 2014 Paris will be tuning into the Chinese art scene under the glass-domed roof of the Grand Palais. The fair will also be hosting other exhibitions with a Chinese flavour, including the exhibition De la Chine aux Arts Décoratifs at the Centre Pompidou; and an installation by Prune Nourry at Centquatre-Paris entitled Terracotta Daughters, a monumental work comprising 116 life-sized terracotta daughters that draws attention to gender selection in China.

Francis Bacon’s most expensive work

Three months ago, British artist Francis BACON became the creator of the most expensive work ever sold at auction when Three Studies of Lucian Freud went under the hammer for $127 million at Christie’s New York on 12 November 2013. This major work comprises three oils on canvas, each measuring 198 x 147.5 cm. A single canvas with the same dimensions was offered for sale in London on 13 February 2014. Christie’s took charge of its sale, but chose not to publicly reveal its estimate for this portrait of George Dyer. It finally went under the hammer for the equivalent of $62 million, which represents $20 million more than the per-panel price of the record triptych, $15 million more than the previous record for a single canvas (Study from Innocent X) and – most importantly – $56 million more than the price it attained when it was sold at Christie’s New York in 2000!

The buyer certainly paid top dollar for this portrait of Bacon’s lover and muse George Dyer, setting a record for a single work and producing a European auction record for Christie’s. The artist’s prices are on a constant upward spiral and have seen a global increase of 235% over the last decade. As a result, owners are feeling tempted to sell. Three paintings have already been sold this year compared to seven for the whole of 2013. Of these, a streetscape painted around 1943 doubled its estimate (sold for £390,000 at Sotheby’s on 13 February), proving that there is also no shortage of demand for the artist’s early works.

Bill Viola and Paris

Bill VIOLA is to have his very first major solo exhibition in France. From 5 March to 21 July 2014, the Galeries nationales du Grand Palais will be showcasing a large body of his work from the mid-1970s to the present day, including moving paintings and installations. A champion of contemporary video art, Viola uses his videos to express his emotional journey through fundamental themes of life, death and transfiguration. Over the last 40 years, this American artist has been using video as a medium for tackling universal themes. His market is based in London and New York, where he has achieved his best prices at auction. He has broken the $100,000 barrier 21 times and has twice sold works for over $500,000 (notably the installation Eternal Return for the equivalent of $613,000 at Phillips De Pury & Company London on 14 October 2006). Is the Paris scene going to wake up to this creative form? There are some positive signs, including a six-figure sale for Bill Viola in 2009 (Anika (Study for Ocean without a Shore), for €110,000, or over $142,000, on 17 March 2009 at Christie’s) and the first major sale of video art organised in France by Vincent Wapler on 29 January 2014.