At auction, luxury with the scent of art
How can you enjoy the experience of a real auction and claim the object of your desires and at the same time set sail on a journey that leads to the port of investments? This is what is happening today in spite of the multifaceted reality of the present economic and financial storm. It is worth finding security in the safe stronghold of auctions as a form of investment to discourage inflationary increases, especially in the wake of 2011 in which the prerogative was placed on contemporary art instead of modern and Impressionist (81.9% compared to 82.8%). Investing in art is always a delicate business and implies the use of valuation tools. This is exactly what is offered, for example, by the age-old experience of the auction house Dorotheum which, with a highly professional team of staff, provides for its buyers and sellers, supplying detailed information on the market value of the work of art owned or about to be purchased. Dorotheum (1707) has become one of the most prestigious auction houses in the world and the largest in central Europe. Its headquarters are located in Vienna, in the charming Palais Dorotheum on the Dorotheergasse, and it has branches in Dusseldorf and Munich, Brussels, Rome and Milan. The company’s intense activities are centred around the four great international weeks of auctions. It holds a total of six hundred events a year, which cover over forty specialist sectors, including contemporary and modern art, antique and nineteenth-century paintings, jewellery and watches, china and glass, furniture and silver. Its long season of success continues, as testified by the Expressionist work “Wasserburger Landschaft mit Häusern und Wiese” (1907), oil on cardboard, by the Russian Alexej Jawlensky, which sold for €593,800 (2011), or “At the University 1972” dated 2002, a painting imbued with socialist realism by the conceptual Ukrainian-American artist Ilya Kabakov, which sold (Nov 2011) for €754,800, or “Charles Rosenthal, Im Park 1930” from 1998, signed and dated on the rear, wooden case, light in box, estimated at €270/320,000, or “White surface” 1969, acrylic on everted canvas (73 x 92 cm), an “invention” of artist Enrico Castellani from Rovigo, who, in altering planarity, succeeds in combing changing effects of light and shadow, which, with an estimate of €180/240,000, sold for €283,300 ( Nov 2011). At Sotheby’s in London, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Orange Sports Figure” (1982) achieved £4,073,250, re-asserting an anti-conventionalism dear to Warhol of a graffiti style art with infantile, rough images. Bonhams (1793) in Knightsbridge, instead, focuses on the Abstract Expressionists up to the best emerging artists of today such as Boetti, Cecily and Glenn Brown, Doig, Landy and Raysse. In the wake of their Contemporary One sale, this auction house is offering “Untitled” (1953), ink on paper, by the Chinese artist Zao Wou-Ki, whose calligraphic forms create an entire world, in addition to the sensual shapes on canvas in oil, sand and cement, of “Forma Lateral Rose” (1964), by Antoni Tàpies, a Catalan with neo-Dadaist traits. While at Palazzo Ramirez Montalvo in Florence, the headquarters of the auction house Pandolfini, on 6th June, the ingenious insanity of Antonio Ligabue will be displayed with his “Paesaggio con cane” (Landscape with dog), oil on hardboard, 40 x 57 cm, estimated at €50/60,000, a work of realistic animals with sculptural qualities immersed in a transfigured Po plain. The visual skill of Luigi Ontani vivifies, instead, “Tenacia a Trento” (Tenacity in Trento), mixed technique on cardboard (€6/8,000). After the success of Porro & C.’s sale of 239 lots (total
€1,700,00) of twentieth century and contemporary works of art from the Milanese apartment of the Gallery owner Claudia Gian Ferrari held in March 2011, with noteworthy works by Oppi, de Pisis, Marussig, Funi, Tosi, and Fausto Pirandello and featuring the powerful "Neoclassic (Classical Figure)" 1936/38, 146,5x106 cm, cementite, oil and tempera on paper transferred to canvas, by Mario Sironi, estimate €150/180,000 and sold for €186,000, the auction house’s November appointment (30th in Milan, Palazzo Durini) was an unmissable occasion for purchasing a twentieth-century modern or contemporary work of art. Works being auctioned include Antonio Sant’Elia (“Architettura” (Architecture) 1911/12), and paintings in oil on board or canvas, “Veduta di città” (City View) (estimate: €20/22,000), “Il Cireneo” (€25/28,000) by Filippo de Pisis, and “Portrait double”, graphite on paper by Pablo Picasso dated 1941 (€45/50,000), oil on canvas 50x70 cm,
“Venezia. Isola di S.Giorgio” (Venice. Island of S. Giorgio) by de Chirico (estimate €150/180,000), “Portafortuna” (Lucky Charm) by Osvaldo Licini dated 1950, and “Untitled” (1957) by Alberto Burri (estimate, €50/60,000), an unusual experimentation with paper, fabric, tempera and vinavil, charred on corrugated cardboard. These significant results also find confirmation in the auctions (2011) of Farsetti Arte of Prato, which favours modern and contemporary art, abstract, informal and conceptual works of the post-World War II era: “Tête d’homme et nu assis”, Picasso, 1964, which, in embodying the relationship between artist and model, radicalises formal simplification while moving away from drawing and prospective according to an innovative creative spirit. The work, which is estimated at €950,000/1,500,000, was purchased for €1,200,250. The tragic visionary quality of “Sefer Hechaloth”, 2002, (€121,560), by Anselm Kiefer, mixed technique on paper - a combination of acrylic and emulsion and using any item to hand or scrap - reveals the conceptual singularity of the German artist. In the meantime, excitement was growing for the vibrant modernity of “Sleeping Girl” (1964) by the American Roy Lichtenstein, the king of Pop Art, an iconic masterpiece of the twentieth century, being auctioned (sold for 44,882,500 dollars) at Sotheby’s in New York on 9th May. The same sense of electrifying anticipation was developing for the “Impressionist & Evening Sale Modern Art”. Headlining the auction is “The Scream” by Edward Munch, 1895, pastel on board 79x59 cm, one of four versions made, owned by Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen (son of Thomas), a friend of Munch. It is the only version in which one of the two figures in the background turns to look outwards towards the blood-red sky and cityscape of Oslo. This work is a turning point in visual global culture that transcends the same history of art, and is a projection of Munch’s mental state, a landscape of the mind that is prophetically destabilising in comparison to normal artistic canons. Auction record: sold for $119,922,500. The ways of art are endless. Those of auctions lead straight to the essence of things.