Art Market News in Brief!



Every fortnight, Artprice provides a short round up of art market news.

Giuseppe Capogrossi retrospective at the Guggenheim in Venice

Forty years after his death, the Guggenheim Museum in Venice is organising a retrospective of the work of Giuseppe CAPOGROSSI from 29 September 2012 to10 February 2013. The Italian artist, born in 1900 in Rome, is indeed considered one of the leading figures of the Italian avant-garde. The exhibition traces the evolution of his work: in his youth inspired by his stay in Paris, his works follow a typical path, starting first with academic subjects such as still lifes, nudes and other portraits. It was in the second part of his life, from the 50s onwards, that the artist departed from the beaten track to paint what became his emblematic work with a language consisting of signs, symbols, geometric shapes and bright colours that went beyond the usual codes of Art. The works are titled Surface thereby negating any concept of figuration. It is indeed these works that attract the strongest bids at auctions. Superficie 470 (1962, oil on canvas) fetched over $400,000 on 28 May 2011 (Farsetti Prato, Italy). Between 1989 and August 2012, a total of 42 other Surfaces exceeded the $100,000 threshold, reflecting the dynamism of a market in which more than 700 lots were auctioned. It may be noted that 79% of his lots are offered on the Italian market, generating 83% of his turnover. So it is mainly his compatriots who have raised his price index by 106% over the last decade (2002-2012).

Xavier Veilhan presents ArchitecTones in Los Angeles

From 9 August to 16 September, the French artist Xavier VEILHAN will be occupying Richard Joseph NEUTRA’s VDL Research House in Los Angeles. This is the first part of a five-part project entitled ArchitecTones, which will visit four other locations including the Koenig Case Study House in Hollywood and the roof of LE CORBUSIER’s Cité Radieuse in Marseille. The artist proceeds by taking up residence in each of the architectural wonders for a few weeks to soak up the atmosphere and the feel of the place. From these experiences, he creates works that, by their presence, scramble the equation between man, functionality and the environment illustrated by each location.
Xavier Veilhan likes to blur our perceptions with his installations and sculptures. Synthetic, monochrome, they illustrate and appropriate the symbolic language derived from the collective imagination.
Veilhan’s home country France accounts for almost all his auction sales (33 sales from 41 lots offered since 2001). In 2009, he was the second Contemporary artist to exhibit his work at the Palais de Versailles (Paris region) after Jeff KOONS. At Versailles he exhibited a mobile sculpture and a number of large format works. Thereafter, an international reputation began to emerge that has clearly lifted his prices. In 2006 one of his mobiles failed to sell in Paris; however in 2010, a similar piece fetched $51,000 in Chicago. His large-scale sculptures are also sought by collectors, two of which signed his best two auction results: Renaud, fetched $95,000 in Chicago in 2010, and Sophie, sold for $80,514 in Brussels in 2011. His small sculptures, less popular, are more affordable and usually go for between $4,400 and $13,100.

Franz West has died

The Austrian artist Franz WEST passed away on 26 July at the age of 65 after making a colossal contribution to the art world. In 2011, he was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in recognition of a lifetime’s work. Considered the heir of Viennese Aktionism, he was mainly known for his three-dimensional works between sculpture, furniture and utilitarian object. Entitled Pass-Stücke, these portable works do not exist unless handled by spectators. Indefinable, transportable, and free shapes in gypsum, papier maché or metal, they are highly sought-after at auctions. One of them, Larvae, set the artist’s auction record in 2008 at nearly $600,000 (Philips de Pury & Company, London, 29/06/2008).
In the late 1990s, Franz West gradually invested the international marketplace with auction results around $20,000. In 2006 he crossed the $100 000 threshold with Rent (mixed media, 2001) at Philips de Pury & Company (New York, 14/03/2006). The artist’s price index has posted strong growth since 2010, with an increase of 12%. Nevertheless a significant portion of his market remains affordable, and the majority of his lots change hands for less than $10,000.

Tony Cragg in London’s Exhibition Road

From 1 September to 25 November Tony CRAGG will be presenting new monumental sculptures on Exhibition Road in London and in the surrounding museums.
Born in Liverpool in 1949, Anthony Cragg studied science a few years before devoting himself to art. In 1981, he gained considerable notoriety with installations made of waste materials that appropriate and caricature everyday objects. These works question our relationship to the materials we produce and process. According to him, since they are the foundation of our materialistic age, we are bound to them physically, intellectually and emotionally.
Since the late 1990s, he has devoted himself to sculpture which reflects upon the results of basic research in physics, theorizing the causality of shapes. A renowned artist, his works are present in the world’s most important museums and private collections. He won the prestigious Turner Prize in 1988 and the Praemium Imperiale in 2007.
There is a segment of his secondary market that is affordable at under $5,000 consisting of rare drawings and other small plaster sculptures (Extrusions). However in order to obtain a more characteristic work by the sculptor, such as a curvy sculpture in bronze with organic shapes, we must go upmarket and invest around $30,000. For example, his Knot was acquired for $27,000 in June 2012 (Phillips de Pury & Company, London). Emblematic of his formal research in the 1980s, his pieces in assembled plastic easily fetch $60,000. The media impact of his exhibition at the Louvre in 2011 is certainly no stranger to the renewed interest from collectors. Following that event, his work generated a new record in May 2011 (his previous record dated back to 2009 for Bent Of Mind which fetched $210,000 at Sotheby’s New York) when his majestic Divide, a stainless steel sculpture, more than three metres high, fetched $675,000 (Sotheby’s, New York) against a high estimate of $400,000. Since then (until June 2012), four other works have sold between $220,000 and $280,000, revitalizing his price index.