Thursday, October 16, 2008

Art world braces for effects of market meltdown

Christie's auction house in London hopes to raise more than 57 million pounds at an upcoming auction of Post-War and Contemporary Art auction. As banks go bust and the world's stock markets reel, Christie's unveiled the works that are up for grabs. The auctioneer hails the collection as the most valuable and comprehensive autumn sale ever.
Christie's auction house in London hopes to raise more than 57million pounds at an upcoming auction of Post-War and Contemporary Art auction.
The headline lot is Lucian Freud's last remaining portrait of his great friend and fellow British artist, Francis Bacon. The other portrait was stolen from a Berlin exhibition in 1988.
The portrait of Bacon is unfinished. It offers a glimpse into the inspirational relationship between two great British artists of the 20th century. The painting has been in private hands since 1970 and has been exhibited only twice.
Christie's auction house in London hopes to raise more than 57million pounds at an upcoming auction of Post-War and Contemporary Art auction.
Judd Tully, editor-at-large of Art And Auction Magazine, said, "It's an important work, it's rare, it has all of the bells and whistles that one would think that given the estimate it would reach. However given the time that we are in right now, no-one really knows. This week is going to be a huge, I don't know about huge, but an acid test for the art market."
The Freud is expected to fetch between five and seven million pounds.
Other highlights include Francis Bacon's "Portrait of Henrietta Moraes", estimated at between 5.5 and 7.5 million pounds.
Leading the sale in terms of expected sale price is Lucio Fontana's "Concetto spaziale, La fine di Dio". The painting was inspired by the dawn of the Space Age and Yuri Gagarin's 1961 space journey. It's widely regarded as one of Fontana's best works.
The last major crash of the art market came in the early 1990's, several years after the 1987 U.S. stock market crash. Experts say traditionally, art markets do not follow in lock step with downturns in the securities markets and they rarely come in tandem.
Christie's auction house in London hopes to raise more than 57million pounds at an upcoming auction of Post-War and Contemporary Art auction.
Pilar Ordovas, head of Post-War And Contemporary Art of Christie's London, said, "Historically we have seen that financial markets and the art market do not have an exact correlation and I think the economic circumstances of today and the art market today is a very different market to what it was in the '90's so it's very difficult to compare because we have found ourselves in a market which is truly global, where new collectors from new economies have been heavily participating as well as established collectors. I think what we see throughout times and throughout history is that when the best of the best comes into the market, the market still achieves incredible results and it's the rarity and the quality of the works that really has an impact."
Not all the lots in the Christie's auction are in the multi-million pound bracket. Andy Warhol's "Diamond Dust Shoes" is up for between 450-750 thousand pounds.
Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art lots are on display in London until the auction on Sunday.

Source - CCTV
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