STARS OF THE YEAR
The Guennol Lioness

The Guennol Lioness

 

Mark Rothko - White Center

Mark Rothko: White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose), 1950

 

Andy Warhol - Green Car Crash

Andy Warhol: Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I), 1963

 

Rembrandt van Rijn (attributed to):

Rembrandt van Rijn (attributed to): "Young Rembrandt as Democritus, the smiling philosopher", c.1629

 

Lyonel Feininger's Jesuiten III, 1915

Lyonel Feininger's Jesuiten III, 1915

 

 

Joseph Wright of Derby:

Joseph Wright of Derby: "Portrait of the Captain Robert Shore Milnes"

 

 

Vincent van Gogh: The Fields (Wheat Fields), 1890

Vincent van Gogh: The Fields (Wheat Fields), 1890

 

Diego de Velázquez:

Diego de Velázquez: "Portrait of King Phillip IV", c.1628

 

 

Jackson Pollock: "Number 16"

Jackson Pollock: "Number 16"

ART MARKET REVIEW - YEAR 2007



A brief review of the Art market for year 2007, with the stars of the season and the main successes and disappointments

by G. Fernández - theartwolf.com

THE SUPERSTARS OF THE YEAR

The Guennol Lionness, Mesopotamia, c.3000 b.c.

$57,161,000 at Sotheby's NY, December 5th 2007 - estimated $12 - 18 million

Though not the highest price of the year -see below- this "tour de force in limestone", as Sotheby's described it, was by far the most important auction event of the year. The small piece is not only the most expensive antiquity or sculpture ever sold, but it is arguably the most important piece of Art to have been auctioned in the last 10 years.

Mark Rothko: White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose), 1950

$72,840,000 at Sotheby's NY, May 15 th 2007 - - estimated in excess of $40 million

The highest estimated price of the year turned into the highest auction price of the year. Not surprising. At the same auction, Francis Bacon's "Study for Innocent X", 1962 went for $52.7 million , the fourth highest price of 2007

Andy Warhol, Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I), 1963

$71,720,000 at Christie's NY, May 17 th 2007 - estimated $25 - 35 million.

Of course a much-anticipated auction record for a Warhol, but not a milestone in an ultra-strong (maybe even crazy) contemporary Art market.

THE SUCCESSES

Damien Hirst: "Lullaby Spring"

$19,200,000 - estimated $6 - 8 million at Sotheby's London, June 2007

2007 was the "Hirst Year". Not only his polemical skull was sold at a private sale for $100 million, but also this piece made Hirst the most expensive living artist at auction.

Rembrandt van Rijn (attributed to): "Young Rembrandt as Democritus, the smiling philosopher", c.1629

$4,300,000 - estimated around $3,000 at Moore Allen & Innocent, Cirencester, England, October 28 th 2007

Wait a moment. a Rembrandt estimated at $3,000? This is a fascinating story that you can read here

Lyonel Feininger: Jesuiten III, 1915

$23,280,000 - estimated $7 - 9 million at Sotheby's NY, May 8 th 2007

The price not only triplicated the estimated, but also the previous auction record for a work by the artist. This sale placed Feininger among the most valuated expressionist painters, along with Klimt and Beckmann

Joseph Wright of Derby: "Portrait of the Captain Robert Shore Milnes"

$7,208,000 - estimated: $1 - 1,5 million at Sotheby's NY, January 25 th 2007

A record price for the artist at auction. At the same sale, "Announcement" by El Greco was sold for almost $4. 2 million (estimated: $800.000)

Figure of a horned hero, Elamite, c.3000 - 2800 b.c.

$3,176,000 - estimated $150,000 to $250,000 at Sotheby's NY, June 7 th 2007

2007 was a good year for the antiquities market, not only for the $57 million Guennol Lioness, but also for the pieces sold in benefit of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo. The most famous of them, of course, is the "Artemis and the stag" sold for $28.6 million, but at the same sale, this very interesting piece was sold for nearly 20 times its estimated value. Also in that sale, a charming Roman funerary marble statue of a poet, c.50 B.C.-A.D. 14 and estimated $125,000 to $175,000 was sold for $2,056,000

Seated figure, Chinesco, 100 b.c. - 250 a.c.

$1,720,000 - estimated $150,000 to $250,000 at Sotheby's NY, May 17 th 2007

Stylized, charming and graceful, this piece is a masterpiece of the Pre-Columbian Art. The market noted it and the piece is now the most expensive Pre-Columbian work ever sold at auction.

Head of an Oba, Benin, Nigeria, circa 1575-1625

$4,744,000 - estimated $1 - 1.5 million at Sotheby's NY, May 17 th 2007

Another masterpiece from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, this head was collected in 1897 by a British expedition in Benin

THE DISAPPOINTMENTS

Vincent van Gogh: "The Fields (Wheat Fields)", 1890

Unsold - estimated $28 - 35 million at Sotheby's NY, November 7 th 2007

By far the greatest disappointment of the season. This excellent painting had it all to become a +$50 million blockbuster: it is a famous, extremely beautiful and ultra-rare (last of van Gogh's latest landscapes in private hands) painting by a superstar artist. No more money for Impressionist and modern masters? Absolutely not: at the same sale, a great Gauguin went for $39 million, and a Picasso sculpture for $29 million.

Diego de Velázquez: "Portrait of King Phillip IV", c.1628

Unsold - Estimated around 2 million euros ($2.8 million) at Sala Retiro, Madrid, December 12 th 2007

Okay, it was badly restored. Okay, it was almost unknown by the critic. And also, the painting was declared a National Treasure and could not leave Spain. But seeing a major Velázquez with a ridiculous estimate of under $3 million being unsold is just a joke. Clean it, and put it into the international market (which is forbidden by Spanish laws) and you will get an eight-digit valued painting which could be the centerpiece of any serious collection.

Jackson Pollock: "Number 16", 1949

Unsold - estimated $12 - 16 million at Sotheby's NY, May 15 th 2007.

Just six months after Pollock's "Number 5" was sold for $140 million in a private sale (highest price ever paid for an artwork), Sotheby's offered three good Pollocks in its sale of contemporary Art. The result was catastrophic: all three lots in the auction by Jackson Pollock failed to sell, including this all-over masterpiece.

Tibetan Gilt Copper Maitreya inset With Silver and Semi-Precious Stones, 13th century

Unsold - estimated on request at Sotheby's NY, September 21 st 2007

This pristine Maitreya was the star of the "Arts of the Buddha" sale, a marvelous piece filled with precious stones that, surprisingly, did not find any buyer in a quite successful sale.

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