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Art Market Snapshot

GURR JOHNS: PERSPECTIVES – SHEA GOLI

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Gurr Johns: Perspectives sees our specialists share their views, opinions and insights about the art world. In the first of the series, Shea Goli shares her thoughts on the contemporary market during COVID-19 including market trends, NFTs, and the artists on her radar.


What has surprised you most about the contemporary market’s response to the global pandemic? 

Fifteen years ago, the pandemic would have been disastrous for the art market so thankfully advances in digital technology have enabled the art world to adapt quickly and move completely online.  While Zoom, social media and Clubhouse chats have been helpful, and no doubt long overdue in our industry, they can’t begin to replicate the in real life experience of standing in front of a work of art or chance meetings at an art fair or gallery opening.  Even the most impressive online viewing rooms have simply reinforced to our advisory team at Gurr Johns the importance of the non-digital space as a channel for discovering new art and engaging in personal relationships.  There is a certain momentum and energy to selling art that cannot be captured digitally.

As a contemporary art advisor, it’s really tricky to work in this context and with so many obstacles; our business is based on relationships and you can’t underestimate the value that clients place on our specialist insights and access.  That said, while restrictions have been challenging, they have also highlighted the need for change. The push to digital in a mostly antiquated business has provided new and exciting opportunities for artists and new collectors, as well as showing us that we can all afford to slow down when it comes to travel and art fairs!

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A REVIEW OF THE MARKET FOR WATCHES

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Sonia Fazlali-Zadeh, specialist for Jewels and Watches at Gurr Johns, reports on the Watch market looking at both modern and vintage models.

London’s largest public watch show will be held again the 26th and 27th March 2021 at Grosvenor House, Mayfair offering all things watch related from on-site insurance valuations, accessories and repairs to the opportunity to source and buy exquisite and rare watches. For any watch enthusiast it will also offer the chance to get more insight into shifting trends and new products as well as reflect on what has been achieved over the past year.

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THE ART MARKET IN THE TIME OF COVID-19

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It is unsurprising that amidst the turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic, the first few months of the year saw the art market largely grind to a halt. TEFAF Maastricht, the first major art fair of the year, took place in early March by which time northern Italy was already in crisis mode; with a much reduced attendance, the fair was cut short after an exhibitor tested positive for the virus. Fast forward a few months, and the art world is adapting to the new normal; museums and galleries have begun to open with appointment bookings and masks the norm, while the auction calendar has filled up once again, albeit with  a focus on online sales. So what does this mean for the value of art and antiques? Read More

A NEW NORMAL: LIVE-STREAMED FROM SOTHEBY’S

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Last night the art market had its first major public test since the lockdown with a major ‘Evening auction’ session at Sotheby’s. This was certainly not a return to business as usual; viewing was by appointment, there were no glitzy receptions, and there was not even a saleroom filled with paddle-wielding bidders: instead, Oliver Barker, Sotheby’s European Chairman, stood on a rostrum in London for over four hours and conducted a livestream auction with staff manning phones in front of him, as well as in salerooms in New York and Hong Kong, and with clients also bidding directly online. It is often said that auctioneering is the second oldest profession; and while last night’s innovative event was a futuristic, slick-looking operation, the fundamentals were very much the same; supply, demand, a sense of occasion – and guarantees.

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ANOTHER BITE AT THE BIG APPLE

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Following on from last week’s record-breaking sales of the Rockefeller collection, another marathon week of auctions kicks off today in New York with the first highlight expected to be the $150 million nude by Amedeo Modigliani on the block tonight at Sotheby’s. The cover work for the Tate’s recent exhibition on the artist, it boasts the biggest pre-sale estimate ever attached to a work of art and is already guaranteed to sell. The auction also includes a beautiful Claude Monet, Matinée sur La Seine, which was painted in 1896 and is estimated at $18 million to $25 million.

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THE COLLECTION OF PEGGY AND DAVID ROCKEFELLER

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The first Rockefeller auction at Christies took place on Monday focusing on 19th and 20th century art. While the bidding and atmosphere was almost slightly subdued, the sum raised was not; the auction set numerous artist records and became the most valuable estate ever sold at auction.  The sale totalled £476million with all proceeds going to a selection of charities chosen by Peggy and David Rockefeller as the beneficiaries of their Estate. Pablo Picasso’s Fillette à la corbeille fleurie which was the top lot of the night, selling for £115,000,000, while new auction records were set for Claude Monet (£62,407,885), Henri Matisse (£59,506,264) and Eugène Delacroix (£7,277,082) amongst others.

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ART MARKET SNAPSHOT – THE MASTERPIECE MARKET IN 2017

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There is no doubt that the art market in 2017 will long be remembered for a single transaction; the sale of the ‘Salvador Mundi’ presented by Christie’s as ‘the last da Vinci’ remaining in private hands. It sold at the Post-War and Contemporary Evening sale in November for a staggering $450 million – almost tripling the previous record price for a work of art sold at auction.
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