The stock markets may be sliding, but that has had no impact on the art market, which has been achieving new records on a daily basis. This summary of major Spring 2010 records shows the worldwide scope of current strength in the art market.
An important bellwether has been the sale of 27 works of art from the collection of Mrs. Sidney F. Brody, a Los Angeles area philanthropist. The total sales amount of $224.2 million is a record for a U.S. art collection. (The world record was set last year in the auction of art and decorative art from the estate of Yves Saint Laurent, which sold for a total of $375 million.) The Brody Collection sales also set a new record for the highest price paid for a single work of art at auction, $106.5 million for “Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust“ which Pablo Picasso painted in 1932.
Art prices have risen around the world, supported by strong demand from buyers around the world. While most of the sales activity has taken place in New York, the world leader in art sales, two-thirds of the buyers have been from outside the United States. Latin American, Russian and Middle Eastern area collectors have made the bidding noticeable more competitive. Overseas auctoin houses have reported a similar increase in art price records: Phillips de Pury London, Bukowskis Stockholm, Dorotheum Vienna, and Menzies in Sydney, Australia.
Photography is the only category still waiting for a new record in 2010. This is because of the high hurdle set in December 2009 when an Ansel Adams photograph signed by the artist sold for a record $360,000 at Swann Galleries in New York. The iconic work is titled “Moonrise – Hernandez, New Mexico.”
This good news made headlines of a different sort today. Paris police reported that five paintings were stole earlier today from the Museum of Modern Art in Paris. Initial reports identify the works as :
La femme a l’eventail by Amedeo Modigliani
La pastorale by Henri Matisse
Le pigeon aux petits pois by Pablo Picasso
L’olivier pres de l’Estaque by Georges Braque
Nature morte aux chandeliers by Fernand Leger
French police reports estimate the total value of the five works of art at $600 million. That equates to an average of $120 million per painting. That figure is 12% higher than the recent record for the highest price paid for art at auction — a strong sign that more price recrods will be set in the art world in the coming years.