Flash News : On Kawara – Jean Dubuffet – Anna-Eva Bergman



Every fortnight, Artprice provides a short round up of art market news: On Kawara – Jean Dubuffet – Anna-Eva Bergman

JULY 10, 2014

Japanese conceptual artist On KAWARA passed away on 10th July at the age of 81. He was a teenager at the time of the Hiroshima bombings, and his earliest works – most of which he later went on to destroy – reflect the chaos of that period with their depictions of amputated body parts. After a move to New York in 1965, on 4 January 1966 he began his ‘Today’ series and his famous ‘Date Paintings’. In these works, On Kawara paints the date of execution on a single-colour background. Cold, rigid, mechanical – these works are governed by the concept behind their execution. They differ only in their size, the colour of the solid background and the inscription, which was adapted to suit the conventions of the country in which the painting was executed. If Kawara was unable to complete the painting on the day it was started he destroyed it. If he finished it, he placed it in a cardboard box along with a clipping from a local newspaper. On Kawara questions, records, and yet also defies time.
This major figure has proved popular at auction – of 141 lots presented at auction between 1991 and 2014, only 16 failed to find a buyer. He broke the million-dollar barrier on 26 February 2007 with a lot containing 10 works: Apr3, 1990»/«June 6, 1991»/«Nov14, 1992»/«26 Mai 1993, which sold for $1.94 million at Christie’s New York. The only canvas sold on this record-breaking day, MAY 1.1987, was the largest painting he ever produced. Changing hands for $1.83 million in 2007 (on 16 May 2007 at Christie’s New York), on 12 May 2014 it achieved close to $4.2 million (again at Christie’s New York), setting a new auction record for On Kawara by a large margin. Since 2013, the majority of his Date Paintings have changed hands for between $220,000 and $620,000 (for smaller sizes between 20 x 25 cm and 45 x 60 cm). Other series, such as the postcard art I Got Up, are available for $3,000 to $16,000.
During his final months, On Kawara was working on his first retrospective at the Guggenheim New York, planned for 2015: On Kawara–Silence (6 February – 3 May 2015). This exhibition will continue to keep his work alive.

Dubuffet at the Fondation Leclerc

The Fondation Leclerc, based in Landerneau in the heart of Brittany, opened in June 2012 with a Gérard Fromanger retrospective. This year, from 22 June to 2 November, it is revisiting the career of popular French artist Jean DUBUFFET. Thanks to loans from two major collections, Les Arts Décoratifs and the Fondation Dubuffet, the Franciscan monastery will be adorned with some 210 works, promising an “unprecedented display of the artist’s greatest works”.

Fifteen years on from his retrospective at the Centre Pompidou, the Fondation Leclerc is once again turning the spotlight on this unique artist, who has recently set a new record at auction. On 1 July 2014, Le gai savoir, an oil on canvas painted in 1963, sold for over $6.7 million, almost $2 million more than its high estimate of $3.68-$4.69 million (at Christie’s London). The same day, also at Christie’s, the vibrancy of the contemporary art sessions allowed Tracey EMIN to set a new record of $4.2 million for My Bed and Antoni TAPIESGran ocra amb incisions (Large Ochre with Incisions) scaled new heights with a hammer price of $2.76 million.

Anna-Eva Bergman exhibits in France after long absence

Until 23 August 2014, the Jerome Poggi Gallery is presenting the work of French-Norwegian artist Anna Eva BERGMAN. Over recent years she has slipped off the radar in France – the partner of Hans HARTUNG (to whom she was married twice!), has not been shown in Paris for 20 years. This is hardly surprising, given that her best sale in France (Sans Titre, sold for $565) dates back to 1990.
This Parisian gallery owner is making welcome efforts to restore the artist’s profile in France. Despite a retrospective at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris – held during her lifetime in 1977 – demand for her works remains very localised. Indeed, 54% of her sales revenues over the last 15 years have come from Norway, and 8 of her top 10 sales were recorded in Oslo. Anna-Eva Bergman’s auction prices are still far removed from the heights scaled by her husband Hans Hartung (his work entitled T 1947-14 sold for $1 million in 2010 at Versailles Enchères). Her record price of $47,096 was set in 2010 for Tourbillon Lumineuse.
Her works remain very affordable, with 86% of all lots over the last 10 years selling for less than $5,000, and only one lot has changed hands for more than $10,000 since 2011.
The artist’s international visibility could increase in 2015 because she will enjoy a retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Palma, Majorca – a positive development, as she has not previously appeared in Spanish salerooms.