Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Fantasy Auctions 2005 (Fall Edition)

OK, so it's that time of year again. Next week or so the fall auctions will begin, and, just as I had in the spring, I'm sharing my Fantasy Auction 2005 (Fall Edition). Word on the street (that would be 10th Avenue, mostly near 23rd Street [OK, really just at the Half King]) is that Contemporary and Modern sales are expected to continue their upward spiral. Recent photography auctions certainly have surpassed expectations.

The NYT reports that the controversy this time around---what would auction season be without a little scandal now?---is how many Modern works on the block are coming from major museums' inventory. The Modigliani seen here is being sold by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and is expected to bring $4 million to $6 million:

Undaunted by the tempest over the New York Public Library's sale of a prized painting, arts institutions across the country are cleaning out their closets for auctions starting next week, stirring fresh unease among art historians and curators.

Modigliani's "Portrait of Manuel Humbert," to be sold by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is expected to bring $4 million to $6 million. Artworks going on the block include paintings by Picasso, Modigliani and Chagall, and rare photographs by masters like Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston. In December, the public library is moving ahead with the sale of two portraits of George Washington, by Gilbert Stuart, and 16 other paintings.

For these present purposes though, just like last time, I'll limit my attention to work up for sale by living artists (generally speaking). Again, how this works is, I find $3 million dollars under my mattress (every 6 months, no less), which is all I can spend, and then use the three major auction houses' online catalogs to choose what I'll bid on up to that amount. I'll use their results to report back how I did based on whether my upper limit was enough to secure a piece. Here we go:

Sotheby's (warning: the buggers now make you register...but it's free)
Contemporary Evening
Sale No. 8129
Session 1
9 Nov 05, 07:00 PM.
New York

Luc Tuymans (LOT 4)
Oil on canvas
Diameter: 28 in. 71.2 cm.
ESTIMATE: $ 350,000—450,000 (I've been a bit disappointed in Tuymans lately, but I'll have a good look at this one...if it's as nice as the photo suggests, I'll go up to $500,000)

Cy Twombly (LOT 29)
Untitled (New York City)
Signed and dated NYC 1968 on the reverse
Oil based house paint and wax crayon on canvas
68 x 85 in. 172.7 x 215.9 cm.
ESTIMATE: $ 8,000,000—10,000,000 (Yes, yes, I've only got 3mil, but maybe if I can sneak past the guards and lick the back of this, no one else will want it...or maybe a false bomb scare would clear the room...or...oh, alright...I'll go up to $3,000,000 and just have Bambino stare down anyone who outbids is called "fantasy auctions" afterall. Obviously, if I get it, all the rest of this is mute...but since that's unlikely, I'll carry on.)

Edward Ruscha (LOT 37)
You and Your Neighbors
Signed and dated 1987 on the reverse; signed, titled and dated 1987 on the stretcher
Acrylic on canvas
54 x 120 in. 137.2 x 304.9 cm.
ESTIMATE: $ 600,000—800,000 (I'll go up to $750,000)

Contemporary Day
Sale No. 08130
Session 1 10 Nov 05, 10:15 AM.
Session 2 10 Nov 05, 02:00 PM.
New York

Yes, yes, Andy's dead, but look at's fabulous (this "living" artist rule will be somewhat liberally adhered to). I have to get this for Bambino.

Andy Warhol (LOT 262)
Hammer and Sickle
Graphite and watercolor on paper.
Executed in 1976, this work is stamped by the Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board Inc. and numbered A156.042 on the reverse.
40 1/2 by 28 in. 102.9 by 71.1 cm.
ESTIMATE: $ 70,000—90,000 (I'll go up to $125,000...Bambino's worth it)

Post War & Contemporary Art (Evening Sale)
Sale 1573
8 November 2005, 7:00 pm
20 Rockefeller Plaza, New York

I'd almost feel guilty buying this (I can think of other people who should have it), but if it goes under my top price, I'll take good care of it):

Elizabeth Peyton (LOT 63)
Colin de Land
Oil on canvas
60 x 40 in. (152.4 x 101.6 cm.)
Painted in 1994. This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.
ESTIMATE: $ 400,000 - 600,000 (I'll go up to $750,000 but only because of the subject)

Post War & Contemporary (Afternoon Session)
Sale 1575
9 November 2005, 2:00 pm
20 Rockefeller Plaza, New York

NOTE: This is perhaps the most interesting Session for younger artists, including works by Julie Mehretu, Dana Schutz, Kehinde Wiley. Folks will be watching this one carefully.

Candida Höfer (LOT 499)
Scuola Grande Arcionfraternita di S. Rocco Venezia I
47 x 72 in. 119.4 x 182.9 cm.
Executed in 2003. This work is number two from an edition of six.
ESTIMATE: $ 20,000 - 30,000 (I'll go up to $40,000)

James Casebere (LOT 519)
Four Flooded Arches from Right with Fog
Signed 'J Casebere' (on a paper label affixed to the stretcher of the upper panel).
Diptych--digital chromogenic prints face mounted to Plexiglas.
Each: 48 x 77 in. 121.9 x 195.6 cm.
Executed in 1999. This work is number one from an edition of three.
ESTIMATE: $ 25,000 - 35,000 (I'll go up to $45,000)

Contemporary Art Part I
10 Nov 2005, 7:00 PM EST
New York, NY010505

Cy Twombly (LOT 57)
Untitled (Roma)
Signed "Cy Twombly" upper right.
Oil, graphite and pastel on canvas.
9 ¾ x 13 ? in. (24.8 x 35.2 cm).
Executed in 1961.
ESTIMATE: $ 200,000-300,000 )I'd go up to $500,000 [which I suspect it will go to easily, but...])

Contemporary Art Part II
11 Nov 2005, 10:00 AM EST
New York, NY010605

Zhang Huan (LOT 194)
To Raise the Water Level in a Fishpond (Close Up).
Signed, dated "1997", tilted in Chinese and numbered on the reverse.
Cibachrome photograph on Fuji archival paper.
64 x 94 in. (162.6 x 238.8 cm).
Executed in 1997.
This work is from an edition of one plus one artist's proof.
ESTIMATE: $ 20,000-30,000 (I'll go up to $60,000)
Feliz Gonzalez-Torres (1957-1996 [OK, so I'm breaking my "living artist" rule]) (LOT 219)
Signed "Felix Gonzalez-T" upper right corner. black and white photograph.
5 ½ x 6 ¾ in. (14 x 17.1 cm).
Executed ca. 1983.
ESTIMATE: $ 8,000-12,000 (I'll go up to $17,000)

Yayoi Kusama (LOT 392)
Nets Obsession.
Signed, titled, dedicated and dated "Yayoi Kusama 1960 Nets Obsession To Peter Rohr" on the reverse.
Oil on board.
19 ¾ x 15 ½ in. (50.2 x 39.4 cm).
Executed in 1960.
This work is accompanied by a photocertificate signed by the artist.
ESTIMATE: $ 30,000-40,000 (I'll go up to $65,000)

Olafur Eliasson (LOT 454)
Signed, numbered of seven and dated "Olafur Eliasson 1998" on the underside of base.
Stone, steel rod, motor and wooden base with glass bowl cover.
9 x 9 ½ x 9 ½ in. (22.9 x 24.1 x 24.1 cm).
Executed in 1998.
This work is from an edition of seven.
ESTIMATE: $ 4,000-6,000 (love him, but this is a chunk of change for a piece of this edition size and scale...I'll stop at $5,500)

Contemporary Thurn u. Taxis Collection Part I
7 Nov 2005, 7:00 PM EST
New York, NY010705

Martin Kippenberger (1953-1997 [yes, breaking rule again, so sue me]) (LOT 15) Verstehe.
Signed and dated '"Martin Kippenberger 90" on the reverse. Oil on canvas.
47 x 39 in. (120.3 x 100 cm).
Executed in 1990.
ESTIMATE: $ 100,000-150,000 (MK's sizzling hot right now, so it's very unlikely this will go for so little, but I'll go up to $200,000)

And, yes, I'm a bit over budget (about half a mil), even without the first Twombly, but of course, I have to quit once all the money is spent, and there's always the chance I won't get anything. Results to come...


Blogger Mark said...

Nice Peyton. Amazing numbers for living/young artists. Would you bid yourself or do a call in from your secret island layer?

10/26/2005 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Oh, I'd definitely bid in person.

I've done it (for other people), and it's nerve-wrecking, but that kind of consumption is all about being conspicuous, so when in Rome....

10/26/2005 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Is there a psychological advantage to phone in bids?

10/26/2005 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Is there a psychological advantage to phone in bids?

Probably...but what's the fun in winning if no one knows you've won?

I'd probably feel differently if I were really spending $3 million.

10/26/2005 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger Hans said...

I would buy only the Modigliani and the Gonzalez-Torres.

10/29/2005 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...


do you mean out of my own choices or all the lots in all the sessions?

10/29/2005 07:58:00 PM  

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