In the career of every artist, there is potentially a masterpiece likely to get a record. It is still necessary to choose the good and sell it, using all the artillery and financial media available to the auction houses today. Certainly, Barney A. Ebsworth who died in April last, that great american amateur taste very safe, director of the museum of Saint-Louis and Seattle, had been one of the best purchases. To start with the illustrious canvas Chop Suey Edward Hopper painted in 1929. It was the most important painting of the artist still in private hands. The public was able to admire the retrospective of the painter, who broke attendance records five years ago, at the Grand Palais.
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on The 13th of November, at Christie’s, this canvas is iconic attached to the pedigree of the collector, ranked among the 200 largest in the world and the 100 best of America” could only soar to the heights. The work which was the subject of a guarantee to a third person a handsome profit, is a party to 91.8 million, within the range of the estimated 70 to 100 million dollars. It marks a new record for Hopper. The previous one was back in 2013, with the sale of East Wind Over Weehawken , to $ 40.4 million.
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The show was without too much surprise, since the games were already tied up in advance. Marc Porter, director of Christie’s America, did not expect less than 300 million dollars for this collection, which had been fully guaranteed. A rite of passage to get to it. The product reached $ 323 million, with 88 % of lots sold, 99 % in value for the evening sale on 13 November, and other fine records, including Willem de Kooning, Woman as Landscape awarded to the extent of its low estimate, to nearly $ 69 million. Evidence of a strong market with a lot of liquidity, Sotheby’s carried out also a nice score for its sale of contemporary art the next day: 362,6 million (17% more than in 2017) with 97% of lots sold, including a Gerhard Richter, Abstaktes Bild (1987) for $ 32 million and a Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled (Pollo Frito) , 1982, from a private collection of european, to 25.7 million euros.
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In the race for records, inevitable in each new season, the market expects a lot this evening, David Hockney at Christie’s, in Rockefeller Plaza. With Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), the artist american, 81 years old, will he become the painter the most expensive auction? Any door to believe it. It indeed has a serious chance to dethrone his compatriot Jeff Koons with his famous Balloon Dog of which the orange version (stainless steel sculpture in several tons), was sold for $ 58 million, in 2013, also at Christie s.
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In the sale catalogue, the description of “The swimming Pool” by David Hockney extends over twelve pages. TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP
The Hockney has all the advantages. Measuring a little more than two meters tall by three meters long, the canvas, by its subject, became one of his works cults appearing on the cover of many books. It was also one of the attractions of the retrospective which was consecrated in 2017, for its 80th anniversary, the Centre Pompidou. “The Tate Gallery (London), Metropolitan Museum (New York), the picture has made the tour of the world. It is his masterpiece the more “bankable”. And although we understand, the description of the lot number (9C) is not less than a dozen pages in the voluminous catalogue of Christie s.
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Its source is not bad either. It would be up to the british billionaire Joe Lewis, owner of the Tavistock Group and the English club football Tottenham Hotspur, whose fortune is estimated at some 5.4 billion dollars, according to the magazine Forbes. If the catalog Christie’s is mentioned not of course, to keep any discretion, the latter would have acquired in 1995 from David Geffen, founder of Geffen Film Company and one of the creators of DreamWorks SKG. Apparently, the seller would not have negotiated warranty with Christie’s: no mention of the symbol in the shape of a diamond in the catalogue, revealing a transaction with a third-party upstream (merchant, bank, funds in the art or even particular), to assume the financial risk and get a higher-value quick. The amount of success is usually shared between seller, garantisseur and home sales, according to complex contracts and secrets.
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in other words, without warranty, the seller has not the certainty that his table is at least the price of the estimate announced or even that it may be sold. A fact rather rare these days, where the policy of auction houses is to push the market still higher, to make records, crush the competition, and make it a talking point, even before any potential buyers have emerged. Before facing the auction, the prices are already established and can cross yet another notch. A race to the climbing that pays quite often. 17 lots are currently guaranteed in the evening sale, beginning at 19h, New York, for an estimated amount of us $ 327 million.
less than a coup de theatre at the last minute, forcing them out of the hat with a guarantee that should officially be announced just before the start of the sale, but Christie’s ensures that not, the pool of David Hockney happen to virgin of all dealings financial. For once, the market will know the true price of a work, born of the game more transparent supply and demand. But the risk to announce that array without warranty and without reservation (which means that it must be sold) is all relative. You can imagine that Christie’s already has a strong buyers in the running for this pool turquoise blue is everyone dream. She knows exactly what to expect. A brilliant coup de pub? If Hockney made a record, the results in the media, with such conditions of sales will be even greater….