Monday, June 30, 2008

Bacon, Freud and Koons Lead Christie's Auction of Post-War and Contemporary Art in London

Bacon, Freud and Koons Lead Christie's Auction of Post-War and Contemporary Art in London


A Christie's employee looks at the work titled 'L-Tyrosine -15n' (2001), by Damien Hirst. The work is estimated between 2.6 and 4 million euros: EFE/Andy Rain.

LONDON.- Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale which will take place on 30 June 2008 and is led by four exceptional highlights; Naked Potrait with Reflection by Lucian Freud (b.1922), one of the most important works by the artist to be offered at auction (estimate: £10 million to £15 million); Balloon Flower (Magenta), 1995-2000 by Jeff Koons (b.1955), the most important work by the artist to be offered at auction in Europe (estimate: in the region of £12 million), Three Studies for a Self Portrait by Francis Bacon (1909-1992), which has never before been seen in public (estimate: in excess of £10 million) and (Concetto spaziale) La fine di Dio, 1964, by Lucio Fontana (1899-1968) (estimate: in excess of £8 million). The auction is expected to realise in excess of £80 million.

Pilar Ordovas, Director and Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s London: ‘Christie’s continue to drive the market for Post-War and Contemporary Art in 2008, with fantastic results realised in our major sales in London and New York, as well as in Paris, Hong Kong, Milan and Dubai. Following the incredible success of Lucian Freud’s ‘Benefits Supervisor Sleeping’ which sold in New York in May for a record price of $33.6 million, we are really excited to be offering in London ‘Naked Portrait with Reflection’, one of the most important works by Freud to appear on the open market. We also look forward to presenting ‘Balloon Flower (Magenta)’, the most important sculpture by Jeff Koons ever offered at auction in Europe, which will be exhibited in St. James’s Square leading up to the sale. It is an unprecedented auction and we expect to attract international collectors from around the world.’

Naked Portrait with Reflection by Lucian Freud (b.1922) was painted in 1980 and is one of the most important works by the artist to appear at auction (estimate: £10 million to £15 million). The portrait stirs a sense of vulnerability – the model lies spread out on a tattered sofa, and is viewed from above, subject to the analysis of the artist—and to us, his accomplices, her public. In the top right corner of the painting, a pair of legs are apparent, adding a strange narrative tension to the painting: while initially appearing as though these were the feet of some clothed, departing man, it becomes clear by looking at the title and the peculiar angle of the floorboards that this is the artist himself, reflected in a mirror, smuggled into the picture through a device that had previously been favoured by Van Eyck and Velazquez. The painting was acquired by an anonymous collector at auction in London in December 1998, and it has remained in their possession since. It has been widely exhibited, most recently in the artist’s Retrospective at Tate Britain in 2002.

Three Studies for a Self Portrait by Francis Bacon (1909-1992) is a rare self-portrait triptych that the artist painted while in Paris in 1975 and that has never before been seen in public (estimate: in excess of £10 million). Throughout his career, Bacon’s reputation was greater in Paris than anywhere else, and he always held a desire to maintain a studio there. In 1971, Bacon’s lover George Dyer died in Paris at the time of the artist’s great retrospective in the city and in 1974, after a period of grieving, he left London for the French capital in a move that his biographer Michael Peppiatt described as ‘a mixture of morbidity, guilt and a masochistic desire to suffer more’. Painted in 1975, the present work is one of the first of an outstanding series of stark, piercing and highly analytical self-portrait triptychs painted by the artist in the mid 1970s and exploring the notion of mortality. In 1975, Bacon remarked to David Sylvester that ‘One of the nice things that Cocteau said was ‘Each day in the mirror I watch death at work.’. Acquired by the present owner in Paris in 1976, the work has never before been seen in public and has never been offered at auction.

Jeff Koons’s Balloon Flower (Magenta), 1995-2000 is the most important work by the artist to be offered at auction in Europe. The sculpture is offered from the Rachofsky Collection of Dallas and is expected to realise in the region of £12 million. With its monumental scale, mirrored surface and magnificent magenta color, Jeff Koons’s gleaming and seductive sculpture based upon a balloon twisted into the shape of a purply-pink wideopen bloom stands as a celebrated icon within the oeuvre of one of the most influential artists working today.

A further highlight of the auction is (Concetto spaziale) La fine di Dio, 1964, by Lucio Fontana (1899-1968). The La Fine Di Dio series of 1963 and 1964 represents arguably the pinnacle of the artist's career, and the example to be offered at Christie's is expected to realise in excess of £8 million.

Madrid desde Torres Blancas by Antonio Lopez (b. 1936) is expected to realise £1,500,000-£2,000,000. Along with Gran Vía (1974-1981), a much smaller painting, Madrid desde Torres Blancas is the most important urban view ever painted by the artist. It was started in 1976 and finished only in 1982 after which it was sold from the artist´s studio to an important private European collection. It has since passed by inheritance to the present owner. It has been seen very rarely in public and could become the most expensive work by a living Spanish artist sold at auction.

Christie's will offer a selection of Indian art at the London evening sale for the first time, as the international demand for post-war and contemporary Indian art continues to grow. The leading highlight is La Terre, 1973, by Syed Haider Raza (b. 1922), one of India’s leading modern masters and a founder member of the revolutionary Bombay Progressive Artist's Group (estimate: £1,000,000-£1,500,000). A further highlight is Curry II, a sculpture in stainless steel by Subodh Gupta (b. 1964), one of the most prominent contemporary Indian artists whose work was exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 2005. Chinese contemporary art is led by Father and Daughter by Zhang Xiaogang (b. 1958), one of the most successful artists of the Chinese avant-garde, which is expected to realise £900,000-£1,500,000.

Further highlights of the Post-War section of the sale include Nine Multicoloured Marilyns (Reversal series) by Andy Warhol (1928-1987) (estimate: £2,500,000-£3,500,000), Great American Nude No. 44 by Tom Wesselmann (1931-2004) (estimate: £2,500,000-£3,000,000), The Cathedral, The North East Face / Uluru (Ayers Rock) by Michael Andrews (1928-1995) (estimate: £1,000,000-£1,500,000) and works by Mark Rothko (1903-1970), Nicolas de Stael (1914-1955) and Antoni Tapies (b.1923).

Further highlights of the Contemporary section include L-Tyrosine-15n, 2001, by Damien Hirst (b. 1965) (estimate: £2,000,000-£3,000,000), Untitled, 2004, by Anish Kapoor (b.1954) (estimate: £600,000-£800,000), Heimat Land by Mamma Anderson (b.1962) (estimate: £120,000-£180,000), Auto, 2001, by Jeff Koons (b.1955) (estimate: £2,200,000-£2,800,000), Untitled (Fashion) by Richard Prince (b.1949) (estimate: £300,000-£400,000 and works by Takashi Murakami (b.1963) and Tom Friedman (b.1965).

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Babylon. Myth and Truth Opens at Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Prozessionsstraße, Detail: schreitender Löwe, Babylon, 6. Jh. v. Chr. Tonziegel, gebrannt und farbig glasiert. Vorderasiatisches Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Foto: Maximilian Meisse.

BERLIN.- Babylon - myth, city, legend and truth. Vivid associations, which no other city can quite evoke as strongly in our minds. With this major exhibition, the National Museums in Berlin, jointly with the Musée du Louvre in Paris and the British Museum in London, venture to explore the myth of Babel and the true facts surrounding the ancient city of Babylon: two worlds - one exhibition.

The first section of the exhibition (=Truth) exposes the roots of our Western culture by looking at the archaeological remains of Babylon, thus revealing what lies behind the legends. This section centres around the Ishtar Gate and the Processional Way of Babylon, one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World. Over 800 objects are exhibited, among them statues, reliefs, votive offerings, architectural fragments, and documents.

The second section of the exhibition (=Myth) regards Babylon as a metaphor for the dark sides of civilisation - repression and the lack of freedom, terror and violence, hubris and madness. In European art and culture, the myth of Babel is closely related to mankind's primal fears. Here, visitors experience the mythical story of the rise and fall of Babylon as a city of sin and tyranny, as the site of the confusion of tongues and the metropolis of eternal apocalypse. They venture on an expedition to the mysterious roots of these ideas, their emergence and establishment throughout the centuries up to the current day. The story is not one of a historical truth about Babylon, but of a truth about a civilisation that needs the myth of Babel in order to understand itself.

This is the first exhibition to present the Babylonian treasures from the world's ‘universal museums' jointly in a single show. In this way, 3000 years of Babylonian history is brought to life in a unique and comprehensive fashion.

Architect David Fisher Announces the World's First Rotating Skyscraper

Architect David Fisher Announces the World's First Rotating Skyscraper


Visionary Italian architect Dr. David Fisher today announced the launch of the revolutionary Dynamic Tower. 2008 ® All Rights Reserved.

NEW YORK.- Visionary Italian architect Dr. David Fisher today announced the launch of the revolutionary Dynamic Tower, the world's first building in motion, to be constructed in Dubai and Moscow with other locations planned worldwide.

Rotating Tower Dubai Development Ltd headed by the Dynamic Group, announced the opening on June 24 of the reservations list for the first Dynamic Tower in Dubai. The company has also revealed the design and floor plans of the rotating building which will have 80 floors and be 420 meters (1,380 feet) tall. Apartments will range in size from 124 square meters (1,334 SF), to Villas of 1,200 SM (12,916 SF) complete with a parking space inside the apartment.

Dr. Fisher also announced that the second Dynamic Tower planned for Moscow is now in the advanced design phase, with preassembling of the units to start soon and completion scheduled for 2010. The developer is the Mirax Group, headed by leading international developer Sergei Polonsky, The Moscow tower, which will have 70 floors and be 400 meters (1,310 feet) tall, will be located in Moscow City area, the new prestigious part of the Russian capital.

“Our intention is to build the third Rotating Skyscraper in New York,” Dr. Fisher stated. “Additional Dynamic Towers will be built around the world, following an expression of interest from developers, governments, and public officials to construct a Dynamic Tower in Canada, Germany, Italy, Korea and Switzerland”.

The Dynamic Tower offers infinite design possibilities, as each floor rotates independently to create a building that constantly changes shape, resulting in a unique and ever evolving architectural structure.

“The Dynamic Tower is environmentally friendly and the first building designed to be self-powered, with the ability to generate its own electricity, as well as for other nearby buildings, it achieves this feat with wind turbines fitted between each rotating floor, An 80-story building will have up to 79 wind turbines, making it a true green power plant,” Dr. Fisher stated.

The Dynamic Tower is also the first skyscraper to be built entirely from prefabricated parts that are custom made in a workshop, resulting in cost savings, this approach known as the Fisher Method, also requires far fewer workers on the construction site, thereby dramatically lowering construction costs.

“Each floor of the building can be completed in only seven days. From now on, buildings will be made in a factory,” Dr. Fisher said.

By combining motion, green energy and efficient construction, the Dynamic Tower will change architecture as we know it, and herald a new era of Dynamic Living.

Renowned Italian architect Dr. David Fisher is the creator of the Dynamic Tower, a building in motion. He has spent more than 30 years working to redefine the technical and technological extremes of buildings in cities like London, New York, Moscow, Hong Kong, Paris and Dubai.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Christie's in London Sells Monet Masterpiece for $ 80.5 Million A Record for the Artist

Christie's in London sold Claude Monet's "'Le bassin aux nympheas" for £40,921,250 / $80,451,178 / €51,683,539 . Photo: EFE / ANDY RAIN

LONDON.- Christie's Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale took place this evening (24 June 2008) and realised £144,440,500 / $283,970,023 / €182,428,352 - the highest ever total for an art auction held in Europe. The top lot of the auction was Le bassin aux nymphéas, a masterpiece painting by Claude Monet which realised £40,921,250 / $80,451,178 / €51,683,539, a world record price for the artist at auction. 34 works of art sold for over £1 million (44 for over $1 million), and buyer activity at the auction (by lot) was 62% Europe including United Kingdom, 34% Americas, 3% Asia and 1% other. The auction saw a total of 8 artist records established, including for Claude Monet, Henry Moore and Natalia Goncharova.

Olivier Camu, Director and Head of Impressionist and Modern Art, Christie's London and Thomas Seydoux, International co-head of Impressionist and Modern Art at Christie's: "This evening's auction realised the highest total for any art auction ever held in Europe, and illustrates the continuing strength and confidence of the art market. We saw particularly strong bidding for works of the highest quality which were fresh to the market. The leading lot of the auction was 'Le bassin aux nymphéas', a masterpiece painting by Claude Monet which witnessed a bidding battle involving many international collectors, before selling to a client in the saleroom for £41 million, a new world record price for the artist at auction. A further highlight was 'Danseuse a la barre', an extremely rare early masterpiece in pastel by Edgar Degas, which also drew bidding from a number of international clients and far exceeded its pre-sale estimate, selling for £13.5 million, the second highest price for the artist at auction."

The top 5 prices of the evening were:

- Le bassin aux nymphéas, a masterpiece painting by Claude Monet which was offered from the Estate of J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller and which realised £40,921,250 / $80,451,178 / €51,683,539, a world record price for the artist at auction.

- Danseuse a la barre, an extremely rare early masterpiece in pastel by Edgar Degas (1834-1917) which realised £13,481,250 / $26,504,138 / €17,026,819 far exceeding its pre-sale estimate of £4,000,000 to £6,000,000.

- Les Fleurs, circa 1912, a rare and powerful work by Natalia Goncharova (1881-1962) which sold for £5,529,250 / $10,870,506 / €6,983,443, a world record price for the artist at auction, and a world record price for a work by a female artist at auction.

- Draped Reclining Woman by Henry Moore (1898-1986) which was also offered from the Estate of J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller and which realised £4,297,250 / $8,448,394 / €5,427,427, a world record price for the artist at auction.

- The Portrait of Yanaihara by Alberto Giacometti (1906-1966) which was painted in 1958 and which sold for £4,297,250 / $8,448,394 / €5,427,427.

Property from the Estate of J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller

The auction was led by a selection of seventeen works from the Estate of J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller. J. Irwin Miller, an industrialist from Columbus, Indiana, and his wife Xenia Simons Miller, who were major philanthropists and patrons of the arts and who were instrumental in turning the American city of Columbus, Indiana, into a showcase for modern architecture. The seventeen Impressionist and Modern works together realised £67,540,050 / $132,783,738 / €85,303,083, and was led by Claude Monet's Le bassin aux nymphéas which realised £40,921,250 / $80,451,178 / €51,683,539, a world record price for the artist at auction.

Works from the Collection of the late Simon Sainsbury

A selection of 7 works from the collection of Simon Sainsbury were sold this evening for a total of £10,424,750 / $20,495,059 / €13,166,459, led by Collioure. Les Balancelles, 1887, an early Pointillist picture by Paul Signac (1836-1935) which sold for £2,953,250 / $5,806,090 / €3,729,955. One of Britain's most generous philanthropists and discerning collectors, the late Simon Sainsbury assembled throughout his lifetime one of the finest private British collections of the 20th century, from which a selection of furniture, ceramics and art was sold at a landmark auction on 18 June 2008 at Christie's in London for £16,512,025 / $32,214,961 / €20,772,127, bringing the total to £26,936,775 / $52,710,020 / €33,938,586. Proceeds from the sale of the collection as a whole will benefit the charity established by Simon Sainsbury in 1965, The Monument Trust.

Works from a Distinguished European Collection

A selection of 11 works from a Distinguished European Collection assembled nearly half a century ago realised £9,494,550 / $18,666,285 / €11,991,616, and was led by Les Sapins, Varengeville, a luminous coastal landscape by Claude Monet (1840-1926) which was painted in the Summer of 1882, when the artist was staying at Pourville on the Norman coast in France and which sold for £3,177,250 / $6,246,474 / €4,012,867.

The Hoh Collection

The auction sold 7 works from the impressive collection of 20th century avant-garde works assembled by Alfred and Elisabeth Hoh, which toured various German institutions between 1998 and 2000 as the 'Languages of Art' exhibition and which realised £12,816,750 / $25,197,730 / €16,187,555. Leading the selection was Les Fleurs, circa 1912, a rare and powerful work by Natalia Goncharova (1881-1962) which sold for £5,529,250 / $10,870,506 / €6,983,443, a world record price for the artist at auction, and a world record price for a work by a female artist at auction.


Claude Monet (1840-1926), Le bassin aux nymphéas, 1919
Sold: £40,921,250 / $80,451,178 / € 51,683,539

Natalia Goncharova (Russian, 1881-1962), Les Fleurs
Sold: £5,529,250 / $10,870,506 / €6,983,443

Henry Moore (1898-1986), Draped Reclining Woman, 1957-1958
Sold: £4,297,250 / $8,448,394 / €5,427,427

Vladimir Baranoff-Rossiné (Russian, 1888-1944), The Rhythm (Adam and Eve), 1910 Sold: £2.729.250 / $5.365.706 / €3.447.143

Vera Rockline (Russian, 1986-1934), The Card Player
Sold: £2,057,050 / $4,044,554 / €2,598,307

Oscar Dominguez (1906-1957), Machine à coudre électro-sexuelle
Sold: £1,497,250 / $2,943,594 / €1,891,027

Leo Gestel (1881-1941), Gladiolen
Sold: £505,250 / $993,322 / €638,131

Frits Van Den Berghe (Belgian, 1883-1939), Bloemen over de stad (Fleurs sur la ville) Sold: £241,250 / $474,298 / €304,699

Monday, June 16, 2008

Women: Dalí's View - New Exhibit Explores Dalí's Artistic Obsession With Female Form

Women: Dalí's View - New Exhibit Explores Dalí's Artistic Obsession With Female Form


Salvador Dali, Three Young Surrealist Women Holding in Their Arms the Skins of an Orchestra, oil on canvas, 1936. © Salvador Dalí Museum, Inc. St. Petersburg Florida, (2008)

ST. PETERSBURG, FL.- Continuing to explore Salvador Dalí’s work in new ways, the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg presents Women: Dalí’s View, an exhibition which examines Dali’s artistic obsession with the female form. On view until September 21, 2008, the paintings, drawings, watercolors, prints and objects assembled from the museum’s permanent collection – the largest outside of Dalí’s native Spain – represent a diverse range in the artist’s approach to the female form, and reveal how images of women dominate Dali’s work, much as they do the history of art.

Women: Dalí’s View features 94 works from the museum’s permanent collection, beginning in 1916 with childhood sketches and concluding in 1976 with one of Dali’s last portraits of his wife. Dali Museum Curator Joan Kropf has presented the works according to themes of Folklore, Landscape, Venus, Gala and Madonnas/Saints & Angels and the exhibit includes images drawn from Dalí’s more personal iconography, such as The Angelus, Beatrice and Gradiva.

Women, as an artistic obsession, mirror the changing images and identities of females in our society. Among the sculptures of the earliest human beings are voluptuous figurines that emphasize the breasts and hips of sustenance and reproduction. With serene and commanding facial features, the Greek goddess of beauty, Aphrodite, and the Roman, Venus, were often represented partially clothed, presenting a composite of sensual and intellectual beauty. In the Middle Ages, the Virgin Mary and the female saints engaged the attention of artists and are depicted as fine featured, fragile, and long suffering. In short, women in art are as diverse as women in life. No representation is consummate but always an expression of their variability and the attitudes toward them on the part of artists, most of whom have been men.

Dalí’s range of approaches is as diverse as these historical representations. The exhibition begins with young artist’s first images of women – sketched scenes of nudes, festivals, and witches from Catalan folklore. Drawing of various art historical references, Dalí’s early academic works range in influences, but his sister, Ana Maria Dali, was a favorite model. She is the model for Portrait of my Sister (1923) and Girl's Back (1926), which depicts her head, shoulders and hair as viewed from behind. Her shoulders are illuminated by a warm light, and she is set against a dark ground, features which recall the Naturalism of Jan Vermeer.

Explicitly erotic themes appear frequently in Dalí's drawings of the female body. Girl with Curls (1926) presents a clothed woman standing in a landscape which recalls 15th-century Florentine painting. The girl is turned away from the viewer and slightly lifts one foot, while the resulting tension in her hips suggests erotic desire. Dalí's Bather paintings (1928) attack the conventional ideas of Beauty, that of the reclining nude, through disturbing transformations and fragmentations of the female body.

In Dalí’s paintings from the surrealist period, he continually mythologizes his wife Gala, so that the woman and the mythological figure merge into one. He paints and repaints her until she becomes a familiar feature of his iconography. Painting her as the Sphinx, Gradiva, and Leda, Dali infuses in Gala his interest in the feminine myths of mothers, daughters, muses, and predators. For Dalí, Gala was “my intimate truth, my double, my one,” and he developed a twinned public persona, sometimes signing his paintings Gala Salvador Dalí.

In Enchanted Beach with Three Fluid Graces (1938), Dalí returned to an imaginative interpretation of the Fates of Greek mythology. In Dalí's later period, he unites the image of Gala with the traditional subject of the Virgin Mary. In Study for Head of the Madonna of Port Lligat (1950), Gala is the model for the Madonna. Yet he heaps upon her even more qualities as she stands as witness and regent to his exploration of his changing artistic engagements with classical painting, Catholicism, and atomic science.

Women: Dalí’s View is made possible by Progress Energy, a Museum sponsor since 2002, whose continued support for arts provides a benchmark for corporate engagement in the community. Presenting Sponsors for the St. Petersburg exhibition include, Table Mesa Lounge, Northern Trust, House of Ska, duPont Registry, Ovation by JMC Communities and skirt! Magazine.

Located at 1000 Third Street South in downtown St. Petersburg, Fla., the Salvador Dalí Museum holds the pre-eminent American collection of the artist’s work. The museum, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2007, is sponsored in part by the Pinellas County Cultural Affairs Department, the City of St. Petersburg, the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, Florida Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information, please call (727) 823-3767 or visit the Museum web site at

Friday, June 13, 2008

Sotheby's to Offer Untitled (Pecho/Oreja) by Jean-Michel Basquiat on Behalf of the Members of U2

Sotheby's to Offer Untitled (Pecho/Oreja) by Jean-Michel Basquiat on Behalf of the Members of U2


Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (Pecho/Oreja), 1982-3. Estimate: £4-6 million. Photo: Courtesy of Sotheby's.

LONDON.- SOTHEBY’S forthcoming Contemporary Art Evening Sale will be highlighted by Jean-Michel Basquiat’s early masterpiece, Untitled (Pecho/Oreja), 1982-83. The work will be offered on Tuesday, July 1st, 2008 and comes from the joint collection of Irish rock band U2. It is estimated at £4-6 million.

The painting was first spotted by U2's bassist Adam Clayton at the Robert Miller Gallery in New York. The band acquired Untitled in 1989, and it has since resided in their Dublin studio.

Oliver Barker, Senior Specialist, Sotheby’s Contemporary Art department, said: "It seems especially appropriate that a work by Basquiat should end up at a music studio, since so much has been said about the relationship between his art and music."

Painted when the artist was just 22 years old, Untitled (Pecho/Oreja) exhibits a sublime combination of imagistic cacophony and compositional economy. The brilliantly delineated head, a motif that continued to underpin Basquiat’s work for the rest of his brief career, stands as both idiosyncratic self-portrait and skull-like talismanic call-sign. This painting was executed during 1982, a year of unprecedented success for the fledgling artist, having held his first solo exhibitions at major galleries including Gagosian in Los Angeles and Bruno Bischofberger in Zurich. Towards the end of that year, Manhattan dealer Annina Nosei became Basquiat’s primary dealer, and the artist moved into a studio in the basement of his new gallery. Here, he was at last able to paint freely and early on, he produced a prodigious group of masterworks.

Untitled (Pecho/Oreja) is scattered with the iconic marks and signs of Basquiat’s incomparable aesthetic vocabulary, characteristic of his best work from this early period. The highly stylized face evokes both the primitive scribbles of a child and the elaborate iconography of ancient African reliquary masks, both important influences on the young Basquiat who, like his hero Picasso, interrogated long-forgotten artistic traditions in his interpretations of contemporary visual culture.

In May 2007, Sotheby’s established a world record at auction for Jean-Michel Basquiat when it sold Untitled, a masterpiece dating from 1981, for $14.6 million in New York. Since then, the company has offered further outstanding works by the artist including Untitled (Electric Chair), 1981-82, which sold for $11.8 million in November 2007, and Untitled (Prophet I) from the same period, which sold for $9.5 million in May 2008.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Grace Kelly Years Princess of Monaco Opens at The Salle Saint-Jean, Hotel de Ville

PARIS.- The Mayor of Paris is paying tribute to Princess Grace of Monaco by hosting the exhibition that the Grimaldi Forum presented in summer 2007. Curated by Frédéric Mitterrand, this exhibition looks at the various periods and facets of Grace Kelly's life.

From Hollywood star to Princess of Monaco, the story of a magnificent woman whose destiny was exceptional.

The exhibition takes visitors to the very heart of the memories of Grace Kelly's years as Princess of Monaco. A tribute exhibition, it leafs through an album of photographs by the greatest names in photography (Howell Conant, Cecil Beaton, Irving Penn and others), reveals the correspondence that Grace Kelly maintained with her Hollywood friends and the world's celebrities (Jacky Kennedy, Alfred Hitchcock, Maria Callas, Cary Grant et al) and displays personal belongings, a part of her wardrobe (including her wedding gown), some of her jewellery and many of her fashion accessories including the famous Kelly bag by Hermès.

Grace Kelly's first life, in cinema, is extensively documented through a montage of excerpts from her principal films and a big section devoted to Alfred Hitchcock's film Rear Window, but there are also sequences from home movies that Princess Grace herself filmed, movies that allow visitors to see exactly what her everyday life was like.

Through this woman who left us too soon, an entire era is sensed. An era trying to forget a devastating second world war. An era in which one woman, Grace Kelly, left her native America because love made her prefer the Old World.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

L´art actuel français a la cote

L´art actuel français a la cote

Soutenue par une hausse généralisée des prix de l´art contemporain, la cote de certains artistes français dépasse désormais le million d´euros pour les plus belles pièces.

La morosité du climat financier de ce début d´année faisait craindre un éclatement de la bulle spéculative dans laquelle le marché de l´art est entraîné depuis quelques années. Les premières ventes orchestrées à Drouot en février et mars 2008 n´avaient pas réussi à rassurer les acheteurs. Il aura fallu attendre le succès des ventes new-yorkaises de mai pour que Paris reprenne des couleurs.

Si globalement les prix du marché de l´art français sont stables depuis le début de l´année, le très haut de gamme semble encore progresser. Dans cette conjoncture, l´art contemporain reste très spéculatif et plus que jamais les pièces exceptionnelles des stars du marché sont fortement valorisées. Cet engouement est particulièrement reflété dans la multiplication des enchères millionnaires pour des artistes actuels français. Artprice a réalisé pour l´occasion le classement des artistes français actuels en fonction de leur record en ventes publiques. En haut du panier, seuls trois d´entre eux parviennent à flirter avec des adjudications millionnaires.

Les artistes français* vivants les plus cotés


€ 2 808 000 BOURGEOIS Louise (1911)
2 € 1 310 000 SOULAGES Pierre (1919)
3 € 1 000 000 MATHIEU Georges (1921)
4 € 800 000 RAYSSE Martial (1936)
5 € 410 238 SZAFRAN Sam (1930)
6 € 283 800 TEXIER Richard (1955)
7 € 276 609 LALANNE François-Xavier (1927)
8 € 260 000 RAYNAUD Jean-Pierre (1939)
9 € 220 000 BUREN Daniel (1938)
10 € 200 000 VENET Bernar (1941)
*nés en France

En tête d´affiche, Louise Bourgeois a décroché une enchère de 3,6 m$ (2,8 m€) à New York en novembre 2006 pour une monumentale Spider de plus de 2 mètres de haut, en bronze fondue en 1997. Cette année, en France, elle a obtenu chez Christie´s une enchère de 2,5 m€ (4 m$) pour une autre araignée, une pièce unique en acier et tapisserie produite en 2003, à l´âge de 91 ans. Un signe de la spéculation dont fait l´objet la doyenne des artistes français : ce record couronne tout simplement sa pièce la plus récente présentée en ventes publiques. Il faut dire que sa cote a encore progressé de +79% en 2007 et que sa rétrospective à la Tate Modern de Londres, puis à Paris au centre Pompidou, et bientôt à New York lui assure une intense actualité médiatique.

Pierre Soulages, se hisse en seconde position du classement. En décembre dernier, chez Perrin-Royere-Lajeunesse, cet artiste de 89 ans a obtenu une enchère de 1,31 m€ pour une peinture de 1959 large de 2 mètres. Un an plus tôt, en juillet 2006, il avait déjà atteint le seuil du million d´euros, grâce à une autre toile de 1959 adjugée 1,06 m€ chez Sotheby´s. C´est essentiellement à cette époque que sa cote a le plus progressé, avec un bon notable de +143% sur la seule année 2006. Cette élévation des prix s´est étendue à son œuvre gravée qui représente près du ¾ des transactions. A titre d´exemple, son Eau-forte II s´est négociée 3 000 € en novembre 2007 chez Tajan, contre 1000 € dix ans plus tôt. Pierre Soulages est l´un des rares artistes français dont le travail est visible dans la plupart des musées internationaux, dans plus de 25 pays. Ce rayonnement se répercute évidemment sur le marché, avec un produit de ventes réalisé pour 50% à l´étranger.

Georges Mathieu est le troisième a atteindre le million d´euros dans ce classement. Chez Sotheby´s Paris, lors de la vente d´art contemporain du 26 mai, L'abduction d'Henri IV par l'archevêque Anno de Cologne, une toile monumentale 1958 s´est arrachée 1 m€. Il faut dire que cette adjudication exceptionnelle est le fruit d´une hausse des prix de +409% en 10 ans. Son précédent record avait été établi en décembre dernier chez Perrin-Royere-Lajeunesse (Paris) avec une enchère de 353 000 € pour Capitulation du Vali Abou Tho. En 2007, pas moins de 20 toiles de l´artiste avaient dépassé le seuil de 100 000 $ aux enchère. Un niveau de prix qui n´avait pas été réalisé par Georges Mathieu pendant une période de 10 ans, entre 1994 et 2004.

Tout comme Louise Bourgeois et Soulages, une grande part du produit des ventes de Georges Mathieu est réalisé à l´étranger. Ce qui tend à prouver que pour pouvoir atteindre des sommets aux enchères, un artiste français doit avant tout rayonner à l´international. Dès qu´elle n'est soutenue que par une demande nationale, à l´image de Richard Texier et Jean-Pierre Raynaud, la cote des artistes français semble plafonnée. Même Robert Combas, élevé bien souvent en tête des artistes français par produit de ventes, ne parvient pas à atteindre le TOP10 par niveau de prix, dont le ticket d´entrée est à 200 000 €.