THE global contemporary art market is hot. Artprice has just reported that for the first time in market history, over one billion euro worth of contemporary art changed hands in the 12 months to June. Since then sales in Hong Kong have broken all records.
It is against this background that hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary art will come under the hammer in New York in the coming weeks. Anticipate the sound of breaking records. Christie’s, for example, expect the 490 works they are putting under the hammer — including fresh to market pieces by Picasso, Giacometti, Modigliani, Kandinsky, Miro, Moore, Magritte and Gris — to achieve more than $390m.
On Nov 12 they will offer Untitled (No. 11) by Mark Rothko, (see opposite). It is estimated at $25-$35m. This could be very conservative. There was an identical estimate on Rothko’s Orange, Red, Yellow which sold for $86.8m at Christie’s New York in May 2012.
Meanwhile, Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of Lucian Freud, is set to make a new auction record for the Irish-born artist at Christie’s in New York on Nov 12. The auction house says it can break the previous record for Bacon of $86m set in 2008.
The triptych, which unites two of the greatest figurative painters of the 20th century at the height of their friendship, was exhibited at Bacon’s renowned Grand Palais retrospective in Paris in 1971-72 and has never been on the auction market before.
It was executed almost 25 years after Bacon and Freud met.
The three panels that make up the work were separated for almost 15 years in the mid-1970s and were reunited in the 1980s.