eBay and Sotheby’s new venture announced

unnamedeBay and Sotheby’s announced a partnership to develop an innovative online platform that will make it easier for millions of people worldwide to discover, browse and acquire exceptional works of art, antiques and collectibles. With Sotheby’s expertise and historic auction experience and eBay’s technology platform, they will start by offering a number of live auctions that are taking place at Sotheby’s headquarters in New York. To accomplish this, eBay in the near future will be launching a newly-designed experience on its site, tailored for collectors of rare, unique and premium art and collectibles as well as first-time buyers.

As technology evolves and mobile commerce becomes ubiquitous, collectors are increasingly purchasing high-end items online and even on-the-go from their mobile devices. Both companies will focus on growing the market at price points where they expect their collectors to converge in the future – particularly in the segments such as jewelry, watches, prints, wine, photographs and 20th design. The global art market is currently estimated around $65 billion, with annual online sales far below averages for other luxury goods.

Some figures:

• Online bidders competed for 17% of the total lots offered in 2013

• The number of lots purchased online in 2013 increased 36% vs. 2012

• More than half of all lots sold were in the $5,000-$100,000 range

• 32% of all BIDnow bidders had never transacted at Sotheby’s prior to 2013

• The number of visitors to sothebys.com on mobile devices (tablet + smartphone) doubled in 2013

• Mobile traffic now in 2014 accounts for 25% of total Sotheby’s website traffic

• Collectibles accounted for nearly $8 billion of GMV in 2013 with 36 million active buyers

• Each day on eBay, more than 3,500 auctions close with a price of >$5,000

• eBay has 145 million global active buyers in 190 countries

• 40% of eBay Volume is touched by mobile

• eBay enabled $20 billion in mobile commerce in 2013, up from $0 in 2008

Important records at Christie’s for its Post-War and Contemporary Art sale – July 1st, 2014

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Record night at Christie’s with its Postwar and Contemporary Art on July 1. 7 artists have crossed their previous records, including Peter Doig, Tracey Emin and Michelangelo Pistoletto. 29 lots have been beaten more than a million pounds, for a total of £ 99.4 million with sale percentage of 84%. Top lot at Christie’s for Francis Bacon, with Study for Head of Lucian Freud sold just under the high estimate at £ 11.5 million. Second place went to Peter Doig, which renews its record after only 24 hours, with a rare self-portrait titled Gasthof, beaten to £ 9.9 million from a maximum estimate of £ 5 million. Other important records were scored by Michelangelo Pistoletto’s Lovers, 1962-66, which reached £ 2.3 million and Tracey Emin with the iconic work My Bed, sold at £ 2.5 million, doubling the estimates, surpassing the previous record of £ 481,000 of the last fall.

Record for Jean Dubuffet with the £ 4 million paid for the work of the 1963 Le gai savoir, as well as for Hurvin Anderson, Albert Oehlen and Antoni Tàpies.
Among Italians, with excellent results for Enrico Castellani White Surface of 1963, sold to £ 626.500, Alberto Burri with Red plastic 1968 that has passed the million mark, with Lucio Fontana’s Concetto Spaziale, Attese, won by Helly Nahmad Gallery for £ 6 million and Piero Manzoni with a Achrome 1958-59 to £ 1.6 million.
Yves Klein continues to keep the market stable , in the catalog with Untitled blue monochrome (IKB 164), 1962, sold to the highest estimate of £ 2 million, and Nicholas de Stael, with the work-Composition Paysage 1954, sold also the maximum estimate of £ 1.5 million.

Contemporary art stars returned in London starting from Sotheby’s – June 30th, 2014

image001The first Evening sale of Contemporary Art bring home important results at Sotheby’s London for the big names in the postwar period. From Francis Bacon, in the catalog with a triptych of his lover George Dyer, sold over the estimates at £ 26.6 million and setting a new record for the paintings of this size for the artist. New Record for Peter Doig with the work Country-rock (wing-mirrors), remained in the same collection since 1999, the year of creation, sold at £ 8.4 million. Among other records, Adrian Ghenie with The Fake Rothko,2010, sold at £ 1.4 million based on an estimate of £ 250-350000.
The auction as a whole has reached £ 93 million, well above pre-sale expectations of £ 67.9 million, with only 8 of 58 works unsold and above the result of a year ago by 17%.
The stars of the contemporary maintain a stable market, with Warhol’s Dollar Sign (Yellow), 1981, sold at the maximum estimate at £ 4 million, and Nine Multicolored Marilyns (Reversal Series) of 1979-86, sold at £ 4.5 million, as well as Gerhard Richter at auction with Abstraktes Bild (845-3), 1997, exhibited at the Venice Biennale in the same year, sold atthe higher estimate £ 2.5 million.
On the Italian front, Nicolò Cardi went to London to gain the Achrome by Piero Manzoni 1959-60 for £ 554.500, a Concetto Spaziale by Lucio Fontana, 1966 in White at £ 902.500 and a work of the 70s by Michelangelo Pistoletto for £ 422.500.

London started its summer with Impressionist and Modern Art successful sales

Monet, Nympheas, Sotheby's

Monet, Nympheas, Sotheby’s

The sales of Impressionist and Modern Art in London began with a good result at Sotheby’s for its Evening sale on June 23rd, with a total of € 152 million and a percentage of lots sold of 91.3%.
Top lot for Claude Monet, Water Lilies, who reached its second highest price at auction, which from an estimate of £ 20-30 million has risen to over £ 31 million. The masterpiece of Piet Mondrian, Composition with Red, Blue and Grey, 1927 (£ 13000000-18000000) flew to £ 19 million, the second highest price for this artist. The work was kept in the private collection of the artist until his death in 1944, and this is one of the rare masterpieces of Mondrian presented on the auction market. Le taureau by Pablo Picasso has quadrupled reaching the maximum estimate at £ 1.8 million; an excellent result for Edvard Munch‘s Hus i Borre (1904-5) sold at £ 1 million and for Tamara de Lempicka, Suzanne au Bain, who exceeded the £ 2 million of the maximum estimate.
The following evening Christie’s totaled £ 85.7 million, with percentages of 67% sold by lot and 71% by value. Top lot the work of Kurt Schwitters 1920, Ja – Was? – Bild, sold at £ 13.9 million, a new record for the artist at auction.
From the group of 4 works by Alberto Giacometti, Femme de Venise II, 1956, has been sold at £ 9 million. Among other top lots, L’artiste et le modèle nu by Henri Matisse, sold at £ 6.8 million; Kinderbild (Katze hinter einem Baum) by Franz Marc, who made £ 6.2 million; La Montagne Sainte-Victoire vue des Lauves, watercolor on paper of 1902-1906 by Paul Cézanne, beaten to the minimum estimate of £ 3.5 million.

Confidence returned to Russian art market

The Pearl Mosque at Agra by Vasily Vereshchagin (1842-1904) | Price Realised: £3,666,500 at Christie's on June 2nd

The Pearl Mosque at Agra by Vasily Vereshchagin (1842-1904) | Price Realised: £3,666,500 at Christie’s on June 2nd

This week, Business Insider published an interesting article about Russian art market, analyzing that neither US sanctions nor the worries about Ukraine crisis have made any impact on the willing to collect of Russian art buyers. In fact, auctions of Christie’s, Sotheby’s and MacDougall’s have reached their high this month in London.

“Nearly all the Russian buying was by Russians living in Russia, rather than in the West. There was some encouraging interest and buying by Ukrainians resident in Ukraine; in the past they have been an important part of the market, so it is good to see they are still here in spite of the country’s economic difficulties. Also, Moscow collectors are selling to other Moscow collectors via the London auction market; there is turnover.”

“Christie’s and Sotheby’s dominate the remainder of the Russian art market, with Christie’s claiming in the wake of the June sales that it holds the largest market share for Russian art traded internationally. Christie’s reports that its June 2 auction realized sales of 234 of the 302 lots on offer, for a total value of £24,012,200 ($40,196,423), including the buyer’s premium.”

“Sotheby’s reports that at three auctions of paintings and other works over the first week of June it realized £23.8 million – the highest result in the category since June 2008, and the third highest total in Sotheby’s history. According to Frances Asquith, the head of Sotheby’s Russian paintings department, the outcome “quickly dispelled any pre-sale doubts that had been raised about the market. The appetite for Russian masterpieces has never been stronger. In this market quality speaks for itself.””
Read the full article


YBA show highlighting UK-Russia Year of Culture cancelled over Ukraine tensions

The exhibition of  the Young British Artists (YBAs) in Russia, expected to be one of the highlights of the 2014 UK-Russia Year of Culture, has been cancelled because of a lack of sponsorship, probably due of increased international tensions in the Ukraine. London Calling: Breakthroughs in British Art, 1986 – 1999 was scheduled to open in the Fall with artists such as  Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Marc Quinn and Sarah Lucas. The Ekaterina Foundation, hosting venue and  partner of the initiative, hadn’t been able to raise funds, so the show has been postponed to 2016.

Are we sure that the Ukraine crisis is the only cause? Or private Russians tycoons don’t want to support and to associate their names to contemporary art?