Flash News: Erro in Lyon – Sao Paulo – Phillips and London



Every fortnight, Artprice provides a short round up of art market news: Erro in Lyon – Sao Paulo – Phillips and London

Erro à Lyon

Gudmundur Gudmundsson, alias ERRO, was born in Iceland in 1932. After studying and teaching art at Reykyavik Art College, he moved to Paris in 1958, where he joined the Narrative Figuration movement. This collector of images describes himself as “a kind of commentator, a reporter […] who gathers together all the world’s images […] to create a synthesis”. A lover of discount book stores, the artist also draws from the flow of digital images to create series of works: Radioactivity, Playback, Méca-make-up, Scapes, etc.
In 2010 he appeared at the Centre Pompidou in Paris with an exhibition of his collages (Erro – 50 years of collages). Four years later, he is now being honoured with a retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Lyon. Across 3,000 m² of exhibition space, this show brings together 500 selected works from public and private collections throughout Europe (3 October 2014 to 22 February 2015). Erro has also made a major donation to the city of Lyon – a large 5 x 3-metre canvas entitled Silver surfer saga (1999), from the series Saga of America Comics. This will now enhance the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Lyon.
On the market, Erro is a member of that select group of living French artists who have exceeded one million dollars at auction. His record of $1,056,600 was set in 2007 for Comicscape, painted in 1971 (sold for €720,000 or €838,650 including buyer’s premium, equivalent to $1.23 million including buyer’s premium, at Christie’s Paris on 11 December 2007). However, as his market is 87% French and he enjoys very little exposure outside Europe, his works are still affordable at auction. Some 65% of lots sell for less than $5,000, including acrylics and large canvases.

Sao Paulo

Just a few days ago, the Sao Paulo Biennial opened its doors under the poetic banner “How to (…) things that don’t exist“. One hundred artists from 34 countries have come together in a superb building designed by Oscar Niemeyer and Hélio Uchôa. Over the coming weeks they will reflect on the capacity of art to question life (actions, limitations, injustices and transgressions) and on the power of the imagination. The Sao Paulo Biennial runs from 6 September to 7 December 2014 and entry is free. This is the 31st edition of the Biennial, which was launched in 1951, making it one of the world’s oldest art biennials after Venice (which first opened its doors in 1895). The Biennial’s diverse horizons and wide range of artists include Jonas Staal from the Netherlands, Danica DAKIC from Bosnia and certain artists who are particularly popular in the market, such as QIU Zhijie from China and the Brazilians Cildo MEIRELES and TUNGA. Tunga set his record at auction last May ($120,000 with Palindromo Incesto, sold at Christie’s New York on 28 May 2014).

Sao Paulo and Rio (recently home to ArtRio from 11 to 14 September 2014) are emerging as top destinations for contemporary art. However, while the local art market is booming, international players are keeping a close watch on the administrative and economic changes taking place in Brazil. They are still waiting for changes to be made to import taxes on art works, as these still make it difficult for foreign galleries to establish themselves in the country.

Phillips and London

Phillips will be unveiling its new London base in Berkeley Square during the Frieze Art Fair (15-18 October 2014), with a prestigious exhibition that brings together Donald JUDD, Frank STELLA and Enrico CASTELLANI. The strategic location of Berkeley Square, just a stone’s throw from the major galleries (Gagosian, La Pace, Hauser & Wirth) brings Phillips closer to Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Bonham’s, who are also well ensconced in the business district.
Phillips stands out from the rest because of its ultra-contemporary selection and themed sales. Its London sessions in the first quarter of 2014 produced $47 million in revenue (including its major contemporary art sale in early July), compared to $149.7 million in New York during the same period. This is small change compared to the exceptional figures posted by Christie’s and Sotheby’s, but it is a good result when weighed against the European market. Phillips is one of the leading auction houses for contemporary art and indeed is the world’s fourth-largest company in this sector, behind China’s Poly International. It will hold its first prestigious London sale – the Contemporary Art Evening Auction – on 15 October 2014, with a large work by Rudolf STINGEL adorning the cover of its catalogue. Stingel, who has achieved the fifth-highest sale so far in 2014 at Phillips London (Untitled (2012), sold for the equivalent of $1,198,960 on 2 July 2014) has also set a record of $2.3 million at the company’s New York saleroom.