• 15 May 2018

As the Peggy and David Rockfeller’s collection week sales just finished with a total income of 828 million dollars, two major names in the Fine Arts market discuss its evolution. Larry Gagosian and Edward Dolman analyze the sales that keep getting more and more stunning and the difficulties of emerging galleries.

The Wave by Paul Gaugin

The Wave, 1888 © Paul Gaugin

The analysis of the Christie’s crazy week by Larry Gagosian and Edward Dolman

Christie’s auction house prepared the selling of Peggy and David Rockfeller’s collection lots for several months. Its marketing strategy, focused on the storytelling of the couple coming from one of the most iconic and wealthiest families in the United States worked beyond all expectations. Art-Trope dedicated an article to the collection of the billionaire couple. As a result, all the 900 lots on sale until Friday May 11th 2018 found a buyer. The total sales reached 828 million dollars. Art Advisor in New York Doug Woodham talked about “an emotional connection.” Larry Gagosian, one of the main international Art dealers and Edward Dolman, CEO of Phillips, talked about this topic during “The Future is Everything” festival organized by the Wall Street Journal in New York. They both took the example of the star lot: la Fillette à la corbeille fleurie by Pablo Picasso made in 1905. The painting was sold for 115.1 million dollars after an estimation that went from 70 to 100 millions. Therefore, for the two Art giants, Christie’s must have had a guarantor, and the absence of real bids explains the little excitement from the crowd during the auction.

Gabrielle with a miror by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Gabrielle with a miror, 1910 © Pierre-Auguste Renoir

The Fine Arts market future by two of its major actors

The conversation between Larry Gagosian and Edward Dolman shifted to the future of the Fine Arts market. After the 450.3 million dollars sale of the Salvator Mundi, the most expensive Artwork in the world, the question of the selling of the first 1 billion dollars Artwork remains. According to Larry Gagosian, Vincent Van Gogh could be a serious competitor to the Italian Old Master. Edward Dolman stated “so I think these new records make people feel better about spending if something great comes to the market.” However, the assessment of the most lucrative sales of the Fine Arts market points out major disparities depending on the Artists. Even though Modern Art remains solid, Art Photography on the other hand, is undergoing worrying variations. Art-Trope dedicated an article to this topic. Also, Contemporary Art is far from equalizing the ancient Art sales. Finally, the names associated with the collections such as the Rockefellers, have a significant impact on sales which are likely to no longer match the presented Artists.

The survival of emerging galleries in jeopardy

Larry Gagosian and Edward Dolman continued their conversation by addressing the issue of small and medium sized galleries. Indeed, they have more and more difficulties to survive and promote their Artists who are not known yet. Art-Trope talked about it in a dedicated article. David Zwirner, one of the most important Art dealers recently suggested that the biggest galleries contribute to the development of smaller ones by paying more their booth fees on the occasion of Art fairs for instance. “I think it’s a pretty good system from my perspective” said Larry Gagosian about the current situation. To his opinion, the question of the small galleries’ survival is “cyclical” in a unique economy. He recommends an intervention that is as weak as possible in this particular market. According to him, it is justified because “it’s very easy to open a gallery (…). It doesn’t take a ton of capital, and you can find insane capital to open a bootstrap gallery.” However, the new difficulty, as reminded by Art advisor Wendy Cromwell based in New York is that emerging collectors and galleries now possess Artworks which current value is lower than the original one. Nevertheless, they are the foundations of the Fine Arts market.

The Green carpet by Juan Gris

The Green carpet 1925 © Juan Gris


Read our article about the new Symbolist exhibition of the Caillebotte property here.

Sources: Artnet and The Art Newspaper