Fontana by Year Made
Great extended analysis at Art Market Monitor courtesy Art Media Agency
Beauty will save the world.
The sale achieved a punchy £38.4m, on the nose of its high estimate and with just 23 lots bought in. Very active in the room was Italian film-maker Pietro Valsecchi, who picked up four works, including Boetti’s checkerboard-like embroidery “Addition” (1974), which made £1.7m, well over the estimate of £300,000-£400,000. Having successfully disposed of the group, the Fossatis are apparently going to collect younger artists – and have a tidy sum with which to do so.
A few choice’words from the article:
Since the contemporary art market weathered the economic downturn better than assets like homes, Ms. Boesky thinks art is now considered a less volatile asset than it once was. “Late 2009 and 2010 wasn’t easy for anyone, but it’s kind of incredible,” she says. “The richest people…even in the worst of times are still rich, and they need to put their money somewhere." Unlike stock in a tech company, art is a physical asset. "Things go up and down, but they don’t go to zero…and at least I have a storage facility in Delaware I could visit,” she quips.
In the past few years, the art market has come under fire for its lack of oversight. Art-fair transactions are not public, and auction houses rarely disclose buyers or sellers of works they bring to market. Most galleries don’t post the prices of their artwork, in defiance of a decades-old law that mandates they do so.
And groups of speculators can buy a large amount of work by a particular artist, put the pieces up for sale at auction and then enlist their friends to bid up the prices. If the works sell well, the speculators can reap tidy profits. “You can call that collusion, but it’s not illegal, and I don’t even know if it’s unethical," she says. She admits there is a fine line. "You could compare it to insider trading in that…all the little people who don’t get access get hurt by losing opportunity," she says, "but it’s all very gray.”
Ms. Boesky does think the art world, traditionally a handshake business, would be better served by embracing written contracts, which would avoid many of the legal spats over payments that have plagued countless deals. In the end, though, she says most people buy art because they love it. "We’re talking about art," she says. "Nobody gets hurt."
It’s all very gray, indeed.