Monday 16 June 2014

London Calling | London to Stuttgard all the auction way

ΙΝ spite of  the public feeling formed over the news, the arts industry took a blow from the economic crisis of 2008, its auction segment also saw a contraction. In international figures, art prices fell by 7.5% in Q1 of 2008 in comparison to the previous quarter. However, since then things changed; there is significant growth, as the art market has developed into a worldwide commercial phenomenon through the marketing of the major galleries and auction houses, which has had a profound impact. The ever rotating taste of collectors, who start collecting Contemporary pieces from their first purchase, stands in contrast to the ones started with 19th Century works or even Old Masters. The reasons stem from the age of the buyers who are now younger than in previous generations since their lifestyle leaves small room for a scholarly approach to collecting. In most cases people want an instantly recognizable trend-driven brand name on their walls. Thus a Warhol or a Hirst is preferable as it will immediately be recognized by the visitor in whatever environment it may be found (residential, corporate or other).   Nowadays, buyers do not want to trust their instincts or to challenge themselves into finding the next Picasso; the media, art scouts and major galleries can do that for them, but even those rascals tend to fail miserably most times they will present an artist not known already, who lacks well established credentials of enormity. In addition, the art market for Impressionist and Modern Art boomed in the mid-eighties and few thought that prices would ever recover. They did, and recently that has caused a huge amount of investment buying for the future which has caused massive price booms for even the youngest artists. The current trend for buying established Contemporary artists, such as David Hockney, is one to follow.

Bearing all these in mind is the essential toolkit for anyone to understand the decline or rise in art auction prices. Since I do not subscribe to the new dogma, I would advice caution towards the new kids on the block, say Banksy, while I would suggest they look closely at classic era paintings somewhat underpriced. By a London point of view,nothing has changed in the last 3 years in terms of highly localized markets, such as the Iberian and the Balkans, while Italian contemporary art market turns introvertly into extinction, and the French contemporary prevails the original gloomy expectations.

Bargain hunting and auction spotting is becoming a national sports, and the auction market is actually  flourishing. Nevertheless, the arts auction in London boroughs is limited to Russian and the new style collectors, leaving a lavish space for good buys. I should pinpoint the most expected upcoming auctions, limited to the Sotheby's, Bonhams and the Christies, although I would advise the clock collectors to look into the Fellows last minute auctions.

The Christies hit of the season is in New York with the William Andrews Clark’s treasures, in the Rockefeller Plaza on 18 June 2014. This sale features over 400 items, including fine art, musical instruments, Gilded Age furnishings, decorative arts and rare books collected by two generations of the Clark family. Back in the UK, the next day attending the pre-Raphaelite British impressionist's art sale in 85, Old Brompton Road consists of  121 magnificent painting of stature. A strong entry into July is the Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Auction on the month's first day held in King Street, featuring Yves Klein, Lucio Fontana, Gerhard Righter and yet another emblematic “Study for Head of Lucian Freud” by Francis Bacon. The classic's lovers will be satisfied more with the 9th of July day sale at St. Jame's; Old Master and British Paintings announced.

The Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on the 23rd and the Contemporary Art Evening Auction on the June, 30, open a  significantly strong summer. Piet Mondrian, Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, will  be found among the Lots within the Impressionists and Moderns, whereas eleven Lots belong to the compelling Sender Collection, within the Contemporary arts evening. To stress a little bit on the particulars of the Sender Collection please read this essay titled “Ahead of the Curve”; I reckon it is a deserved read.


The John Robertson Collection of Marine Paintings on the 9th of July is perhaps the most expected event, as well as the Old Masters paintings falling onto the particular day.

Non Art most expected auctions
Sotheby's finest and rarest wines is a personal favourite, while Bonham's Stuttgart, Mercedes-Benz Museum auction on the 12th of July featuring  an excellent choice selection of some 40 motor cars manufactured by the renowned German marque over its more than a century long history.

For dates and details be advised to visit the Houses websites. 

The ex-Stirling Moss, Denis Jenkinson, 1955 Mille Miglia reconnaissance,1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing, will be found at the Stuttgart Mercedes-Benz auction held by Bonham's. The 'Gullwing' being offered is chassis serial '4500019', whose eventful past includes being the model-launch vehicle displayed by Daimler-Benz at the 1954 Paris Salon de l'Automobile exhibition; the 1955 London Motor Show car displayed at Olympia; and the 1955 'Autocar' magazine road-test car.  Even more significantly, Stirling Moss (Knighted in 2000 for services to Motor Sport) and his factory team navigator – 'Motor Sport' magazine journalist and former World Champion Motorcycle Sidecar racing passenger, Denis Jenkinson – used this car during course reconnaissance preceding their stupendous victory in the 1955 1,000-mile Mille Miglia round-Italy road race – one of the most illustrious and legendary drives in all motor sporting history.  World-renowned in period – and much coveted by collectors today – the 3-liter 6-cylinder fuel-injected 300SL 'Gullwing' Coupe was, from 1954-57, the world's fastest production supercar.

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