Flash News: The Armory Show – China – Odilon Redon – Jeff Koons



Every fortnight, Artprice provides a short round up of art market news: Armory Show – Chine – Odilon Redon – Jeff Koons

The Armory Show once more; China for evermore

The 16th Armory Show is now open! This New York event, one of the most important in the year for modern and contemporary art, is running from 6 to 9 March 2014. Justifying a narrower selection on grounds of quality, show director Noah Horowitz announced a smaller number of exhibitors this year in what seems to be a trend – the Armory hosted 274 galleries in 2011, 220 in 2012 and 215 in 2013, and now features 203. The chosen few include heavyweights such as Lehmann Maupin (New York and Hong Kong), Almine Rech (Paris and Brussels), Nara Roesler (Sao Paulo) and David Zwirner. Ten galleries under ten years old are also making the most of this showcase to present one or two artists each.
Here again, China’s importance on the world stage is conspicuous – Philip Tinari, director of the Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art in Beijing’s 798 Art District, has selected 17 Chinese art galleries for the fair, nine of which have never before exhibited outside Asia. As well the usual stars in Chinese art, we are promised a number of discoveries.
The other notable focus of the 16th Armory Show lies in an independent exhibition central to the fair. Entitled “Venus Drawn Out“, it pays tribute to key 20th century women artists, most still overshadowed by male artists, who are always more highly rated according to market law. The works were selected by Susan Harris, and include names like Louise BOURGEOIS, Helen FRANKENTHALER, Eva HESSE, Lee KRASNER, Yayoi KUSAMA, Georgia O’KEEFFE and Betye SAAR.

Odilon Redon at auction and on show at Beyeler

The Odilon REDON exhibition at the Beyeler Foundation opened last month, and runs until 18 May 2014. It features a large number of top-class paintings, pastels, drawings and etchings on loan from museums and private collections.
The artist, a major exponent of French Symbolism, and a forerunner to modern art who inspired several great artists, has been much in the headlines over the past three years. Ever since a retrospective at the Grand Palais in Paris in 2011, Odilon Redon has aroused increasing enthusiasm amongst buyers. In October 2013, the hammer fell memorably on a sum five times higher than the estimate for a series of ten prints: The Temptation of Saint Anthony (based on a text by Gustave Flaubert) (1888), a set published by Deman in Brussels in 1888 in an edition of 60. This set fetched $1.2 million at Christie’s New York on 29 October 2013.

Up till then, only oils on canvas and pastels (generally bouquets of flowers) had managed to cross the million threshold. But on top of that, this sale led to scenes of unprecedented fervour, with several prints adding two noughts to their original estimates. These included a first state of Pegasus Captive (1889), a lithograph probably published in an edition of 100, estimated at $35,000 and knocked down for $850,000 ($1.025 million including the buyer’s premium). But although the historic significance of some plates may waft their prices up to the top end of the market, 40% of Redon’s prints are still affordable at under $3,000…

Jeff Koons: another $20 million

The year has got off to a good start for Jeff KOONS, whose sculpture Cracked Egg (Magenta) sold for the equivalent of $20.6 million on 13 February 2014 at Christie’s London, within its estimate range.
This gleaming giant egg, which belongs to the Celebration series begun in 1994 and comes in five versions, garnered the artist’s fifth best hammer price three months after a he set record of $52 million, making him the world’s most expensive living artist… and with good reason! Last year, at $52 million, Balloon Dog (Orange) generated proceeds roughly equivalent to those of Japan, no. 11 in the global market for the sale of art works in 2013. In ten years, buoyed up by the world’s most powerful buyers, Koons has risen from 76th in the world ranking (with $4.4 million generated by the sale of 21 works in 2003) to 25th, thanks to 78 works sold at auction in 2013, which produced over $75 million. Today, his market commands a financial scope equal to that of Australia, lying ninth in the global market with total results of $76 million in 2013.