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Understanding The Auction Season That’s Upon Us

I spent several days in September–and even in late August–reporting an article that appeared as the cover of The New York Times‘s Fine Arts & Exhibitions section, which is officially in the Sunday, Nov. 1 paper. It’s called Anatomy of an Auction, and it has been online already since mid-week last week. The article should […]

Sotheby’s Necessary But Bad Bet

When Sotheby’s took to the press release in early September, announcing that it “won” the consignment to sell the estate of Alfred A. Taubman–the auctioneer’s one-time owner–it raised a lot of questions. While Christie’s competed for the consignment, Sotheby’s had to win–not doing so would have cost it a lot of face. But in the […]

Bouvier Shenanigans, Chapter Two: Steve Cohen

When I cited that article in Le Temps, a newspaper in Geneva, to identify the buyer of Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi (Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev), I hadn’t read far enough: Yves Bouvier (pictured), the broker-dealer who sold the Leonardo to Rybolovlev–allegedly committing fraud (which his lawyer denies)–also may have used the same tactic when he sold a […]

Adrien de Vries Sculpture Fetches Record $27.9 Million

A record was set at Christie’s today for an Adrien de Vries sculpture–one that was withdrawn from sale in 2011 because it lacked an export license–and the winning bidder was the Rijksmuseum. The Mannerist sculpture, which is widely recognized as a masterpiece by the 17th century artist known as the “Dutch Michaelangelo”, was won by […]

Perelman Vs. Gagosian: A Decision

Well, it turns out, the court agrees with me on at least one case filed by billionaire Ron Perelman about the art market. As I wrote here in October, in a legal match-up between art dealer Larry Gagosian and financier Ronald Perelman, neither is a sympathetic character. But I thought then, and still do, that Perelman’s […]

What To Make of The Turner Record?

While much of the art world was in Miami Beach last Wednesday, Sotheby’s in London sold a J.M.W. Turner for a record $47. 4 million, or £30.3 million, including the premium, against a presale estimate of $24.1- to $32.1 million. That’s huge! Turner, whose biopic Mr. Turner opens in the United States on Dec. 19, […]

Spalding Takes On Art’s “Self-Congratulatory In-Group”

I suppose I first became aware of Julian Spalding, the British art museum director, when I went to Glasgow some years ago and visited Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. I hated it, and I blamed Spalding, who was then the director of art galleries for Glasgow. Kelvingrove’s collections–which include Dali’s  Christ of St John of […]

Sotheby’s Roars Back In American Art

Years ago, when I first started covering auctions, Sotheby’s always had the best American art sales. Lots of people didn’t even bother going to Christie’s to look, I recall. But that changed, and for the last several years, as in most categories, Christie’s has surpassed Sotheby’s in this category, getting the best art and posting […]

Strategic Timing: Christie’s Gallery Announcement

Last week, just as the bellwether fall sales of Impressionist, Modern and contemporary art in New York were about to begin, Christie’s announced that it was going deeper into dealer territory. Not with that headline, of course. The press release was titled CHRISTIE’S OPENS NEW ART SPACE IN ROCKEFELLER CENTER, and it said that architect Annabelle […]

The Perelman-Gagosian Brawl

You may not be avid readers of the business section of The New York Times, so you may have missed an article in Sunday’s paper headlined The Feud That’s Shaking Gallery Walls. In it, Ron Perelman says, “Art is such a beautiful thing. But it’s been sullied by an ugly business. It needs to be […]

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