Apollo’s regular round-up of art market headlines and comment. Visit Apollo Collector Services for expert advice on navigating the art market.
TEFAF makes its mark on New York | ‘The fair looked spectacular – that’s the phrase I kept hearing – and all the right people were there.’ The words of David Tunick, a specialist dealer in prints and drawings, who exhibited at the inaugural spring edition of TEFAF New York (4–8 May). Visitors and exhibitors were enthusiastic in their praise for the fair’s design, which once again – thanks to elegant interventions by Tom Postma – transformed the Park Avenue Armory into something akin to an intimate salon, without losing sight of the ornamental details that give former regimental building such character.
Attendance was high, not least on the preview day when nearly 4,000 people visited the fair. ‘Normally you could send a bowling ball down the aisles after the first few days,’ said Tunick, ‘but at this fair it was busy everyday.’ This was a vindication for the fair’s organisers, who had assumed some risk in choosing to dedicate this edition of the fair to modern and contemporary art and design during the same week as Frieze New York (5–7 May).
Many dealers reported impressive sales, including Tunick, who sold works on paper by artists including Miró, Leger, Matisse and Toulouse-Lautrec. The fair was a notable success for galleries specialising in Latin American art, among them Galería Sur (Montevideo) and Bergamin & Gomide (São Paulo). ‘We did extremely well,’ said Thiago Gomide, whose sales included works on paper by Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Pape, and Mira Schendel, as well as two sculptures by Sérgio de Camargo.
Other sales included Joan Mitchell’s Abstract Expressionist work Syrtis (1961), which sold for $6.75m at White Cube; Self-Eater (2003) by Dana Schutz, which found a new owner at $400,000 from Petzel Gallery; and two pieces by Alberto Burri, which were bought by international collectors for $1.3m and $450,000 from Mazzoleni, experts in post-war Italian art.
Specialist dealers in antiquities and tribal art also took part in the fair and reported good business. Martin Clist, managing director of Charles Ede, noted the number of contemporary art dealers who bought pieces from the stand, including a Romanesque marble column priced at $30,000. The gallery’s sales also included a Faliscan olla, which had an asking price of $150,000, a Tarentine sculpture of a muse, priced at $100,000 (and which went to a new client), and a large Roman glass cinerarium for $29,000 – the sale of which was concluded ‘just as another person rather sadly said he had come back to buy the same piece’.
Sold: Dreweatts and Mallett | Stamp dealership Stanley Gibbons has sold auction house Dreweatts and Mayfair dealership Mallett. The companies have been acquired in a £2.4m deal by Millicent Holdings, a new venture owned by antiques dealer Mark Law and investor Gavin Alexander.
According to the Antiques Trade Gazette, the deal does not include sister auction house Bloomsbury, the Mallett inventory, rental income from the former Mallett New York premises or the firm’s interests in Masterpiece London. Stanley Gibbons acquired Mallett in 2014, in a deal believed to be worth £8.6m.
From mantelpiece to marketplace | A pair of Chinese famille rose ‘butterfly’ vases have sold for £14.73m at Christie’s in London. Found by chance on the mantelpiece of a client’s home, they were offered on 9 May with an undisclosed estimate (thought to be around £2m). The pair were made for the court of the Qianlong Emperor and only four similar examples have been sold at auction.
Dealers on the move in London | European sculpture specialists Tomasso Brothers Fine Art, whose principal gallery is at Bardon Hall in Leeds, are opening a new London space at 67 Jermyn Street in St James’s. The dealers recently decamped from Duke Street, where the lease expired earlier this year. The first exhibition at the new gallery focuses on ‘Canova and his Legacy’ and will take place during London Art Week (30 June–7 July).
Meanwhile, with rents on Bruton Street rising, Osbourne Samuel have moved from premises there to nearby Dering Street. The modern and contemporary British art specialists will hold their inaugural exhibition in the new gallery from 25 May–23 June. ‘The Romantic Impulse’ features works created during the period 1935–59 by British Neo-Romantic painters.
With additional reporting by Thomas Marks.