Art Basel Miami Beach Recap and Seven Takeaways From The Week- Sponsored by Art Miami

Thoughts and Takeaways From The Week

Please find below our thoughts, musings, complaints, suggestions, and overall takeaways from another wild and bone-crushingly tiring week in Miami. We'll next be back with our free editions during Frieze LA in February. In the meantime, feel free to subscribe to our paid-subscription, monthly editions in whichwe share insights from our talks with the leading figures and and decision makers in theartindustry. We'll be out with our next issue in January- a traditionally quiet time for theartworld- so there'll be no excuse to skip out on the required reading. Congratulations to everyone for making it through another successful year of MiamiArtWeek, and happy holidays to all! 

1.ArtBaselis indisputably the biggest brand in theartworld. While known best amongst the public for its Miami iteration, theBaselbrand has become so synonymous withartin general that it has possibly replaced theMoMAin the public’s imagination as being the single best destination to view contemporaryart. The Canvas isn’t saying that’s true. We’re just saying that the level of brand saturation thatArtBaselhas achieved is unprecedented. Which is why in our interview withDominique Lévyfor our December monthly edition, the powerhouse dealer describedArtBasel’s global director,Marc Spiegler, as the “single most powerful person in theartworld today.”

The fair has the unique capability to either elevate a gallery into the upper echelons of the international contemporaryartcommunity in the eyes of collectors or banish it to a far corner of the floor where it’ll never be heard from again. Which is also why Dominique said that she wishedArtBasel’s leadership “would have the courage to reshape theartfair whereby big galleries and small galleries were placed next to one another, and allowed to have a dialogue with each other…”The decisions of the powers that be atArtBaselseep into every crack and crevice of theartworld. And they have to be mindful that those decisions – where a gallery is placed on the convention center floor for instance – resonate far beyond the Miami Beach Convention Center. 

2. Of course, the underbelly of being the biggest brand in art is that everyone tries to capitalize on your name recognition. It’s impossible to convey to you the extent to which the public does not distinguish between Art BaselArt Miami, the Miami Design District, the Wynwoodneighborhood of Miami, ScopePulse ContemporaryUntitled, and NADA. To them, any party, fair, or event – be it with Judy Chicago or Alec Monopoly – is part of “Art Basel”. To The Canvas, this seems like a giant risk to the long-term value of the Art Basel name. If the perception exists (amongst both the general public and even those well versed in the artworld) that Art Basel Miami Beach somehow isn’t serious enough, or is too much about the scene and party atmosphere, then the fair could see itself losing some of its biggest and most prestigious exhibitors, as well as smaller galleries who won’t want to commit to the high costs of participating in a vanity exercise. Art Basel should make like Disney of all companies and begin more strictly cracking down on unauthorized uses of its name. 

3. The market for contemporary art is bigger than we’ve ever seen before as evidenced by the success of an ever-growing constellation of satellite fairs throughout the week. UntitledArt Miami, and NADA all saw brisk and serious sales activity on multiple days of their respective fairs. The Canvas hears more and more from numerous dealers that they’re selling to collectors who they don’t have preexisting relationships with. Whether that’s due to the increasing digitalization of galleries’ (and fairs’) marketing through video and Instagram which allow them to reach a broader base of potential customers, or because of the sheer size of the global elite who can afford collecting art at the highest levels, is hard to say. What is clear is that there are more people than ever before interested in and able to collect art. 

4. With that said, the pace of sales at Art Basel itself was strong and steady, if not spectacular. Many galleries reported sales throughout the duration of the fair – including on the public days over the weekend. Indeed, The Canvas even spotted supermodel Gisele, accompanied by dealer and advisor, Joe Nahmad, scoping out the booths of Sean KellyHammer Galleries, and Lisson in the first few minutes of the fair on Sunday; ready to buy at least one piece from one of the above mentioned galleries. And while galleries as varied as Paula CooperHauser & WirthGmurzynskaHammerBarbara GladstonePaceKasminDavid ZwirnerMnuchinDavid KordanskyThaddaeus Ropac, Blum & Poe, and Bortolami, all reported strong sales throughout the week, the low level of institutional buying and absence of prominent curators was noticed by many. Additionally, when The Canvas ventured out to the Nova, Positions, and Survey sectors, there were significantly less sales to report. Despite the phenomenal success of a few outliers such as Venus Over Manhattan and Josh Lilley – both of which operate at a different level than most of the other exhibitors in those sectors – many galleries The Canvas spoke to in those sectors mentioned disappointing results and withdrawn reserves for many of the works they brought to the fair this year.


5. Save the trophy works forArtBaselinBasel. With the exception of a few high-profile sales that broke through the $5 million mark, the sweet spot of buying activity atArtBaselMiami Beach seems to be hovering in the $100,000-$400,000 range. We’re not quite sure whyHelly Nahmadbrought that $50 millionRothkoto the fair this year – unless it was simply as a marketing gimmick – but the majority of sales at the fair didn’t reach anywhere near that level. A number ofJoan Mitchellpaintings that probably would have fared better atArtBaselinBaselin 2019 remained unsold as of this writing (which means they didn’t sell). While it’s enticing for dealers to bring high-priced pieces to a fair in the hopes that one sale will allow them to break even, it’s equally important to understand and appreciate the nuances of the various fairs and their respective collector pools. Dealers reported a mostly-American collector base with a somewhat weak presence of European, Asian, and even South American collectors making big purchases at the fair this year. 

6. The $620 million dollar renovation of the Miami Beach Convention Center was a hit. Roads clear of construction, a beautiful edifice designed by Fentress Architects and Arquitectonica, a more spacious collectors lounge with the restaurant moved into its own separate space, and the use of a new 60,000-square-foot ballroom all had major impacts on the moods and tempers of collectors, dealers, and press alike. Of particular success was the use of the grand ballroom that the fair used to stage Abraham Cruzvillegas’s ‘Autorreconstrucción,’ a captivating and overwhelmingly-popular performance art piece. Of course, it also helped that there were no real South Florida thunderstorms this year to literally rain on everyone’s parade. 


7.MiamiArtWeek, as the first week in December has officially come to be known, remains unique unto itself, and mostly a genuine treat for the insular New York, Los Angeles, and London contemporaryartworlds. With every major player in the industry attending for at least a day, the week is an absolute can’t-miss on the international fair circuit. With events as varied as exclusive parties and concerts hosted byMGM ResortsandAmerican Express, to artist talks withChristoandJudy ChicagoatPAMMand theICA, there’s something for everyone to enjoy throughout the week. As we said in our December monthly edition, it’s a chance for us all to let our hair down for a bit and appreciate the industry and community we call home.

Art Basel Edition Day Five- Sales, News, Links and More- Sponsored by Art Miami

An Orbit of Satellite Fairs Make Miami Sparkle (Mostly)

As Miami Art Week winds down with the private jets leaving town and most of the top dealers themselves abandoning their booths to enjoy a little time in the sun, Saturday and Sunday make for ideal times to hit up some of the satellite fairs that aren't as widely known amongst the general public, while Art Basel itself is flooded with the masses. 

When we covered Art Miami in yesterday's edition, we spoke about the fair's ability to bring together a wide variety of exhibitors who can offer works of name-brand artists on the secondary market to collectors who may not have the inclination- or budget- for the contemporary market darlings and seven figure blue-chip works offered at the Miami Beach Convention Center. 

On the other end of the spectrum is a fair like Untitled whose wide aisles, bright lighting, and contained booths make for a perfect setting to discover the type of young artists and galleries who haven't yet caught the attention and wallets of the more established collectors who frequent Art Basel. Attracting both celebrities- Armie Hammer, Sela WardMajor Lazer's Jillionaire and tennis star, Andy Murray who were all spotted at the beach-side tent throughout the week- and a young, cool, in-the-know collecting audience, Untitled has clearly hit its stride with a number of its galleries reporting strong sales on the first day of the fair, with many dealers reporting nearly sold-out inventories. 

Of course, then there's NADA. The coolest of the cool, and the hippest fair which attracts the type of it-crowd you'd find frequenting the next underground hot spot on the Lower East Side or Bushwick. While somewhat claustrophobic at times, multiple dealers reported consistent sales even as the headwinds facing the types of galleries they run- younger, smaller, and more experimental- have been making it increasingly difficult to survive as a profitable business over the past twelve months. Nevertheless, the strength of the fair itself could be identified by the type of savvy, au courant, insiders The Canvas bumped into at Miami's Ice Palace Studios- Andrea SchwannAdam Abdalla, PAMM curators, Jennifer Inacio and María Elena Ortiz, Martin Z. Eisenberg, and adviser, Todd Levin. For more insights on the selling activity itself, check out Julia Halperin and Tim Schneider'sreport for Artnet News

Finally we come to Scope Miami Beach and Pulse Contemporary. The Canvas received significant flak when we wrote last year that after walking through Scope, we were so over street art that we weren't even going to cover the fair in 2018. However, it's hard to deny that the organizers of Scope have vastly improved both the environment of the fair itself- partnering with Porsche for a sleek collectors lounge- and the quality of the exhibitors and art itself. While still mainly showing the kind of Instagram art that the poseurs flock to (and that even The Canvas can't resist every now and then) it's clear that Scope has definitely found a niche for itself with a younger, millennial-focused class of collectors. And a lot of Russians. Oh so many Russians...  

The Canvas's only real complaint with the satellite fairs we deemed worth attending this year was with Pulse. Cramped, incomprehensibly bifurcated into two separate beachside tents which break up the art viewing flow by requiring visitors to wait in line twice, situated next to a horrifically congested traffic intersection, and with too few press passes in supply for the second year in a row, the fair is undeniably poorly run. We're not even sure who the fair is trying to cater to, with most of the audience at its Thursday morning VIP preview seeming to be school children there on field trips. It's a shame- as some of the fair's exhibitors- Danziger Gallery, Joshua Liner Gallery, and Hosfelt Contemporary are some of The Canvas's favorites.  

We'll be back tomorrow evening for our final edition of Art Basel Miami Beach featuring our takeaways from this past week, as well as the final sales announcements from the convention center. In the meantime, if you're looking for some meaningful reading on the plane ride back to New York, London, or Los Angeles, we invite you to subscribe to The Canvas Monthly by hitting the link below. 

The Three Things People Are Talking About

1. In the kind of in-depth, well-written, human interest profile that we’ve come to expect from Nate Freeman, the senior reporter for Artsy sits down with Norman Braman, the mega-successful 86-year-old Miami car dealership owner who was instrumental in bringing Art Basel to Miami 17 years ago. Braman, who frequently made purchases for his private collection at Art Basel in Switzerland, had a vision for Miami’s future. So, at a time when Miami was still known for its ‘80s Miami Vice image and Versace’s death, and before many of the museums it is now known for were even open (PAMMICA, and the de la Cruz collection), he was able to convince the hesitant Swiss fair organizers to take a bet on Miami. Since then, Braman’s effort has established Miami’s place on the map as one of the major influencers in the contemporary art world.

2. The Miami-based David Castillo Gallery has graduated to Art BaselMiami’s main Galleries sector, and The Canvas is not surprised – the gallery has been making noise in Miami since 2005, even though it's only beginning to get the full recognition it deserves. On December 4th, the gallery wasprofiled by the New York Times, and just yesterday, The Art Newspaper featured David Castillo’s op-ed about the Miami art scene. The Canvas believes it is safe to say that the gallery’s standing in the international gallery community is now cemented. In a city that is ripe with dazzling private collections – think Craig Robins, the Rubell family, the de la Cruzes, and Martin Margulies – but suffers a dearth of top-tier galleries (save Fredric Snitzer), it’s gratifying to see a local gallery recognized for its strong programming and the vision of its founder. 

3. As you’re surely aware by now (due to the saturation coverage in the press), Sotheby’s teamed up with Bono for an auction benefiting the latter’s Red Charity. The event was held at Gagosian and JeffreyDeitch’s "Pop Minimalism Minimalist Pop" exhibition in the Design District’s Moore building. The Canvas can attest to the fact that the philanthropic largess was only exceeded by the evening’s star quotient. Sotheby’s Oliver Barker, dashing as usual, expertly led the sale, gently coaxing the celebrity-filled crowd to part with their money by lowering the bidding increments to laughably small numbers. Still, the strategy paid off with the 35 lots on sale bringing in roughly $10.5 million. Additionally, artist auctions were set for Theaster GatesHank Willis ThomasJennifer Guidi, and Leo Villareal making the event a success all around.  It was announced in advance that Bill and Melinda Gates would be matching the total for the evening. Celebrity attendees included Bono himself, the Gates’sNaomi CampbellHans Ulrich Obrist, David Adjaye, and Derek Blasberg.

Six Must-See Booths In Art Basel's Nova & Positions Sectors

Upstream Gallery (Positions, Booth P8)

Bodega (Positions, Booth P7)

Roberts Projects (Nova, Booth N5)

Selma Feriani Gallery (Nova, Booth N20)

Thierry Goldberg Gallery (Positions, Booth P9)

Josh Liilley (Nova, Booth N24)


The Party Circuit 

Sarah Bahbah Exhibition at Basement Miami (Spotted: Sarah Bahbah, Genesis, Aureta, Tori Walker, Caroline Vazzana, and Mery Racauchi)

Emmanuel Perrotin, Massimo de Carlo, & The Bass Museum of Art Celebrate Paola Pivi's "Art with a View" (Spotted: Paola Pivi, Emmanuel Perrotin, Peggy Leboeuf, Sarah Gavlak, Daniel Arsham, Ben Pundole, and Natalie Kelly)

Ebay X Expo Chicago Celebrate Miami Art Week (Spotted: Tony Karman, Sara Fitzmaurice, Carlos Rolón, and Laura Rocha)

Art Basel Edition Day Four- The Satellite Fairs, Sales, News, Links and More- Sponsored by Art Miami

Satellites Shine Around Miami 

Throughout the day, The Canvas continued to receive reports of even more sales flooding in from the main galleries exhibiting at Art Basel- which we'll share with you in tomorrow evening's edition. 

However, we wanted to take a day and explore some of the satellite fairs around town that often don't receive nearly enough credit- including from The Canvas- for fostering the kind of collecting audience necessary to continue to expand the art market beyond traditional blue-chip collectors. 

Over the week, we visited Art MiamiUntitledScopePulse, and NADA, and we'll share some of our deeper insights from those fairs in tomorrow night's edition. However, for now, we'd like to focus on one in particular- ArtMiami which also runs the Context and Aqua Art fairs as well.  

Art Miami is a fair that hasn't gotten nearly the recognition it deserves from the established New York art world in return for systematically building a deep collecting base in the city of Miami for 29 years- significantly before ArtBasel itself planted its flag in the city in 2002. Nick Korniloff and Pamela Cohen deserve a tremendous amount of credit for slowly upping the ante in terms of the level of programming and stature of galleries participating in the fair over the past few years, and we kindly encourage you to read The Canvas's interview with them in our December monthly edition

While the fair is still incredibly crowded- even during its "VIP" opening- with literally thousands of people crowding the aisles making it difficult to concentrate on the art on offer in a meaningful way, a number of the galleries that The Canvas spoke to when walking through the fair were quite happy with level of sales activity throughout the week. As Marion Manekerrecently noted in the Art Market Monitor, "Art Miami, a fair for the kind of galleries and collectors who have no aspirations to go to Basel or buy the type of art shown there, is thriving and expanding in Miami Art Week" while that's not necessarily the case for the medium sized galleries exhibiting at Art Basel- and for Art Basel owner itself, MCH Group

Exhibitors like Adelson GalleriesGalerie DominionARCHEUS / POST-MODERNHelwaser GalleryErik Thomsen Gallery, and Nancy Hoffman Gallery, are all serious galleries bringing legitimate works of art that deserve to be paid attention to- and speak to a certain type of collector that help strengthen the overall market. Art Miami deserves a lot of credit for fostering an environment where they're able to do so successfully. 

The Three Things People Are Talking About

1. As The Art Newspaper reported at the beginning of the week, much of the talk amongst dealers at this year's fair was about the impending tax code changes that have the potential to make cross-state sales significantly more complex. Wherever The Canvas wandered these past few days, an undercurrent of concern could be sensed regarding how, and if, these new sales tax changes would impact sales. While Florida remains one of the few states for which the nexus tax does not yet apply, no one is happy about the additional layers of oversight and complexity facing the art industry's transactions going forward; especially as they come on the heels of losing the valuable 1031 exchange loophole that many serious collectors took advantage of. 

2. The Canvas holds dear the values of forgiveness and goodwill to all, especially when positive change is actively being demonstrated. However, as a recent article in the New York Times illustrates, those sentiments of forgiveness can not necessarily be bestowed upon the governments of Hungary, Poland, Spain, Russia, and Italy, all of which seem to be finding it difficult to live up the Washington Principles agreed upon in 1988 to ensure that looted and stolen art from the Nazis are properly identified and returned to the descendants of their rightful Jewish owners. While "giant strides" have been made according to Stuart E. Eizenstat, an adviser to the State Department, the countries listed above have not fulfilled their promises, and a remaining 100,000 works of art (out of an original 600,000) remain missing. A full report is due to be published next October, however, the article William D. Cohan is definitely worth a read for a full roundup of the failures of each those countries to live up to their commitments. 

3. Adam Lindemann, the billionaire investor, noted contemporary artcollector, owner of the Manhattan based Venus over Manhattan gallery, and husband to Luxembourg & Dayan co-founder and partner, Amalia Dayan hosted “The Art of Blockchains" conference in Miami on Tuesday before the opening of Art Basel Miami Beach. The conference was well-attended- Marc GlimcherNicole BerryLisa PhillipsStuart Comer, and Adam Sheffer- to name a few; as well as seemingly the entire art-press corps. While The Canvas has yet to reserve judgement on where exactly we stand on the confluence of art and the blockchain (and don't worry, we're obviously going to cover this seemingly omnipresent topic soon), we highly recommend Tim Schneider's detailed recap for Artnet

Six More Must-See Booths In Art Basel's Galleries Sector

Pace Gallery (Booth D8) 

Gladstone Gallery (Booth E5)

Kayne Griffin Corcoran (Booth A16)

Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects (Booth H11)

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac (Booth G11)

Galerie Gmurzynska (Booth B1)

The Party Circuit 

MGM Resorts: Beach Party (Spotted: G-Eazy, Noah Horowitz, Casey Fremont Crowe, Dan Tanzilli, Anita Zabludowicz, Princess Alia Al-Senussi, and The Canvas)

Artsy & Prospect NY Present The Bellyflop Collection By Misha Kahn (Spotted: Wendi Murdoch, Chloe Wise, Carter Cleveland, Sarah Gavlak, Thomas Girst, Elizabeth Margulies, Hank Willis Thomas, and The Canvas)

Faena Art Launches the Inaugural Faena Festival (Spotted: Alfredo Jaar, Alan Faena, Stefano Tonchi, and Ximena Caminos)

The Canvas: Art Basel Edition Day Three (Vernissage Day) Sales, News, Links and More- Sponsored by Art Miami

Amidst a Rocky Stock Market, Sales Remain Steady

As the sales at the major galleries on the floor of the convention center continued to clip along- albeit not in a particularly spectacular fashion- The Canvas decided to venture out into the further corners of the fair to see how the galleries participating in Nova, Positions, and Survey were fairing. 

In our December monthly edition, we spoke to Director Americas for ArtBasel, Noah Horowitz and specifically asked him about the placement of smaller galleries throughout the fair floor, and whether the fair would consider situating these younger, lesser-known galleries alongside the likes of market heavyweights such as Hauser & WirthPaceGagosian, and David Zwirner. His answer was that when Art Basel surveys fair attendees, "it comes back to us that there’s a high premium placed on seeing these kinds of projects side by side, and ultimately that’s why we’ve chosen to stick with this model." 

However, when we brought this up to Dominique Lévy in a separate interview (also featured in The Canvas Monthly), the powerhouse dealer insisted that this is "Not true. I am sure this is not true. I think that if he would have the courage to reshape the art fair whereby big galleries and small galleries were placed next to one another, and allowed to have a dialogue with each other, then sure, David, and Larry, and I might all do a little less business for a year or two because it would be a bit difficult for people to find their way around, but it would be so much more exciting. I would like to see a fair that has the courage to change, and the courage to be mindful that medium galleries that have nurtured artists for so long, need to be preserved at all costs." 

Those are certainly fighting words indeed, and we wanted to investigate in full. When The Canvas made the rounds in the Survey, Positions, and Nova, sectors throughout both yesterday and today, we noticed that the foot traffic was indisputably quieter than in the main central plazas where the biggest galleries dominate. That was to be expected. However, when we asked many of the dealers at these younger galleries how the fair has been going so far, most expressed an extreme satisfaction that their artists were being presented to a wider collecting audience in the first place, and that they have been experiencing a steady stream of sales over both days.

We'll be covering this further in the Sunday edition of The Canvas which will include our takeaways and full round up of the week. In tomorrow's edition, we'll be talking about some of the satellite fairs making a splash this year including Art MiamiUntitledNADA, and others. In the meantime, here are some more sales trickling in from the first two days of the fair. And if you're interested in reading more from those Noah Horowitz and Dominique Lévy interviews- in addition to interviews with Amalia Dayan and Daniella LuxembourgSukanya Rajaratnam of Mnuchin Gallery, and Pamela Cohen and Nick Korniloff of Art Miami, we invite you to subscribe to The Canvas monthly by clicking on the link below the sales information. 

Thaddaeus Ropac

Emilio Vedova "Di Umano 83-4" sold for 490,00 EUR
Robert Longo "Untitled (Snow Trees)" sold for $600,000 
Georg Baselitz "Ist das der Weg?" sold for 950,000 EUR 
Daniel Richter "Dean" sold for 185,000 EUR 

Mnuchin Gallery

Mark Bradford "Amendment #6" with an asking price of $2.5 million 
El Anatsui "Almost" with an asking price of $1.35 million 
Ed Clark "Untitled" (2009) with an asking price of $250,000 
Sean Scully "Doric August" with an asking price of $500,000 
Jack Whitten "Bright Moments: For R.R. Kirk" with an asking price of $850,000  

David Kordansky

Rashid Johnson "Untitled Microphone Sculpture" (2018) sold for $235,000
Jonas Wood "Blackwelder Speaker Still Life" sold for $450,000 
Two works by Mary Weatherford sold for $225,000 each
A work by Huma Bhabha sold for $150,000 
A work by Lauren Halsey sold for $40,000 

Galerie Gmurzynska

Wifredo Lam "Personnage" sold in the range of $500,000 
Alberto Burri "Combustione" sold for $220,000 
Louise Nevelson "Untitled" (1987) for around $90,000 

Josh Lilley Gallery 

Four Derek Fordjour works sold for $48,000 each, one sold for $38,000, two sold for $32,000 each, and one sold for $26,000 

Blum & Poe

Two abstract paintings by Karel Appel for $136,000 each and a recent portrait by Henry Taylor for $325,000

Van de Weghe Fine Art 

Pablo Picasso "Tete de Femme" (1971) with an asking price of $17 million 

Five works by Paola Pivi sold for between $45,000–$115,000 each 

White Cube

An Anton Gormley sculpture for $446,000  

The Three Things People Are Talking About

1. The inimitable Jerry Saltz’s November 25th New York Magazine cover story, “How to Be an Artist or, Just Live Life More Creatively” is obviously a must-read. The self-proclaimed “would-be artist who burned out” shares 33 rules he’s compiled in response to the many people who ask him for advice on becoming an artist. The Pulitzer Prize winning art critic (who is married to fellow critic Roberta Smith of the New York Times) continues to get the recognition he deserves for continuing to open up the insular art world to a wider audience. After all, how often do we see an art critic grace the cover of a magazine? And, to those haters on Twitter (you know who you are) who are criticizing Saltz in the name of cultural appropriation for his cover photo posing as Frida Kahlo (in addition to Andy Warhol and Salvador Dalí), The Canvas suggests you back off and direct your energy toward something useful instead of expending it in indignation over literally everything. 

2. In the continuing saga of high-profile exits from auction houses, Sotheby’s recent reorganization saw COO Adam Chinn’s position eliminated in favor of the creation of two new roles. Chinn was in the position less than two years and came to the auction house when it acquired Art agency, Partners, where Chinn was a partner along with Allan Schwartzman and Amy Cappellazzo. While not a department specialist à la Brett Gorvy or Francis Outred, Chinn is known as a savvy, aggressive dealmaker responsible for many of Sotheby’s most high-profile successes. With the smoke still not quite cleared, The Canvas isn't sure of the real story yet- but don't worry, we'll get to the bottom soon- and are definitely sad to see him go. To read more about the indisputable trend of high-level departures from the auction houses, check out The Canvas’s December monthly edition where we asked Dominique Lévy for her take on the exodus of talent from the major auction houses.

3. In what The Canvas can only categorize as a stunning, pathetic, and reckless display of “insecurity,” three barely-disguised men entered Vienna’s Dorotheum auction house and strolled out minutes later with a paper shopping bag containing Renoir’s “Golfe, mer, falaises vertes.” The 123-year-old landscape was due to be auctioned with estimates ranging from $131,000 to $181,000. Though caught in real time on closed-circuit television inside the auction house, apparently no one was paying close enough attention to notice. The average department store is savvy enough about security to attach anti-theft devices to designer purses, but one can just walk out of an auction house with a Renoir? Note to Dorotheum – maybe spend a bit less on advertisements that do nothing for your overall business and more on security. For now, The Canvas can only suggest that you hold onto your wallet if visiting Dorotheum's showroom in Austria. 

Six Must-See Booths In Art Basel's Galleries Sector

Lévy Gorvy (Booth E6)

Blum and Poe (Booth 16)

Hammer Galleries (Booth C3)

Helly Nahmad Gallery (Booth A4)

Pilar Corrias (Booth C30)

Hauser & Wirth (Booth F18)

The Party Circuit 

ICA Miami and W Magazine's Annual Artists' Dinner (Spotted: Stefano Tonchi, Larry Bell, Judy Chicago, Jeffrey Deitch, Tiffany Zabludowicz, David Maupin, and Pari Eshan)

Pace Gallery Cocktail Party for Lightness of Being at The Edition Hotel (Spotted: Chuck Close, Nate Freeman, Jen Joy, and The Canvas)

Chloé and The Bass Celebrate: Aaron Curry (Spotted: Ellie Goulding, Laura de Gunzburg, Caspar Jopling, Aaron Curry, and Annie Sama)

Art Basel Edition Day Two (VIP Day)- Sponsored by Art Miami

And We're Off 

Art Basel Miami Beach kicked off to a refreshingly strong start today with a number of galleries selling high profile works within the first few hours of the fair's opening. With some wondering whether yesterday's stock market nose-dive and the continued jitters over a trade war with China would have an inimical effect on the traditionally brisk pace of sales on the fair's opening day, The Canvas can report that multiple dealers were genuinely happy with the results from today's VIP preview. Many are expecting a steady (if not spectacular) stream of sales to continue over the coming few days and are taking today's results as a positive omen for the market heading into 2019. 

Lévy Gorvy sold a number of works priced under $1 million, including the sale of Adrian Piper’s installation “Race Traitor” (2018) to a North American foundation, with an asking price of €175,000 EUR. David Zwirner sold works by Lisa Yuskavage  Lisa Yuskavage painting, a Yayoi Kusama painting, a painting by Michaël Borremans, a Oscar Murillo painting for $380,000, a Harold Ancart painting for $150,000, a historic Kerry James Marshall painting from 1991, multiple works by Wolfgang Tillmans, multiple works by Raymond Pettibon and a sculpture by Ruth Asawa. (coming off her critically acclaimed solo show at the gallery), Yayoi KusamaMichaël Borremans, a historic Kerry James Marshall painting from 1991, and multiple works by Wolfgang Tilmans. And Hauser & Wirth was perhaps the clearest winner of the day with multiple works selling for mid to low seven figures. For a complete round up of sales at the different galleries, please see below. 

David Zwirner

An Oscar Murillo painting for $380,000
An Harold Ancart painting for $150,000

Pace Gallery

Larry Bell "Untitled" (1970) for $250,000 
Mary Corse "Untitled (Electrical Light)" for $180,000 
James Turrell "Untitled (XXXII G)" for $150,000 
Peter Alexander "Time Flies By" for $125,000 
Peter Alexander "I Remember When it was All Orange Groves" for $110,000 
Peter Alexander "3-23-18 (Pink Wedge)" for $40,000 
Peter Alexander "6-1-17 (Flo Lime White Box)" for $40,000 

Kasmin Gallery 

Lee Krasner "Bird Image" for $3,600,000
Lee Krasner "Water No. 14" for $375,000 
William N. Copley "Why Are You Staring" for $275,000 
William N. Copley "Untitled" (1990) for $225,000 
Elliott Puckette "Untitled" (2016) for $70,000 
Mark Ryden "The Carriage (drawing)" for $25,000

Hauser & Wirth

Philip Guston "Shoe Head” (1976) for $7.5 million
Mark Bradford painting for $5 million to an American institution 
Charles Gaines painting for $265,000 to a European foundation 
An Amy Sherald painting for $175,000 
Philip Guston painting for $2,750,000 to a European collection
A Paul McCarthy sculpture for $1,200,000 to a collection in Asia
Several works by Günther Förg ranging from $200,000 to $600,000 
Multiple works by Larry Bell including an early painting for $2,000,000, an early sculpture for $550,000, and two new sculptures for $100,000 each to a collection in Miami

The Canvas will continue reporting sales announcements from the fair in tomorrow's edition featuring high profile sales from Mnuchin, Blum & Poe, White Cube, David Kordansky, Perrotin, James Cohan, Lehmann Maupin, as well as a number of secondary market galleries. 


The Canvas will return with our usual "Three Things People Are Talking About" section in tomorrow's edition of the newsletter. We're just too tired from all the parties last night, and from walking around the convention center all day long to do the section justice in today's edition. In the meantime, here's a roundup of anyone who's anyone The Canvas has spotted around Miami so far this past week: 

Chuck Close, Daniel Arsham, Charles Gaines, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brett Ratner, Martin Z. Margulies, RoseLee Goldberg, Richard Prince, Richard Armstrong, Hans Ulrich Obrist, the Rubells, Tiffany Zabludowicz, Sarah Arison, Swizz Beatz, Mickalene Thomas, Ellie Goulding, KAWS, Stefano Tonchi, and Judy Chicago. 


The Six Satellite Fairs Worth Seeing


Art Miami



Design Miami


The Party Circuit 

The MoMA Film Benefit: A Tribute to Martin Scorsese (Spotted: Robert DeNiro, Jonah Hill, Leonardo DiCaprio, Glenn Lowry, Larry Gagosian, Leon Black, Sarah Arison, Tico Mugrabi, Zac Posen, Spike Lee, and John Currin)

Chloé and Museum of Contemporary Art: Fourth Annual Dinner at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (Spotted: Klaus Biesenbach, Jennifer Guidi, Emma Roberts, and Lisa Love) 

Dinner in Honor of the Haas Brothers (Spotted: Sarah Arison, Jackie Soffer, Nikolai & Simon Haas, Dan Tanzilli, and David Grutman)

Art Basel Edition Day One- Sponsored by Art Miami

On The Day Before

Good morning and welcome to Miami! We hope you're enjoying the humidity as much as we are. We'll be reporting daily from the fairs throughout the week, with each daily edition (with the exception of today's of course) publishing in the evening after we've had a chance to ferret out the various sales and speak to all the relevant players. 

In the meantime, the December edition of The Canvas monthly will be sent out tonight to our paying subscribers whom we adore with the fullest of hearts. But don't be jealous- we love you too. There's plenty of our love to go around. 

Tonight's edition is our longest yet- over thirty pages of can't-miss interviews with legitimate industry heavyweights. We have in-depth interviews in which we discuss some of the thorniest issues plaguing the art world with the likes of Noah HorowitzDominique LévySukanya RajaratnamDaniella Luxembourg & Amalia Dayan, and Pamela Cohen & Nick Korniloff of Art Miami. We also features an exclusive interview with Lawrence Fairchild of Stones Wines; our usual round-up all the relevant job listings, artist representations, and industry hires/resignations; and a data-intense look at November's evening sales at Christie'sSotheby's, and Phillips as part of an exciting new partnership we're thrilled to be launching with Athena Art Finance

So we hope you'll consider subscribing to our monthly editions, and invite you to do so by clicking the link below. After all, what's the point of flying down to Miami, fighting the waves of traffic, humidity and locals, and spending all that money on copious amounts of Margaritas if you don't end up having anything to talk about with your fellow art world denizens while you're here? Remember $18 per month or $179 per year is oh so low a price to pay for true insider access and knowledge.

The Three Things People Are Talking About- Christie's Edition

1. As The Canvas is sure you're aware, a steady drumbeat has been building in the art world of people wanting to know where exactly Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' is. Having supposed to have been unveiled at the Louvre Abu Dhabi on September 18th, news of the $450 million dollar painting has been notably sparse over the past four months. Whether it be issues with the authentication, problems regarding payment, or the painting being a victim of a complex web of geopolitical gamesmanship, The Canvas wanted answers. When we reached out to a Christie's spokesman for comment, we were provided with the following statement:

“We can confirm the painting has been successfully transferred to its new owners, under the scrutiny of appropriate experts, to the satisfaction of all parties. We can also confirm payment was received in full; we don’t discuss the particulars of any financial arrangement as a matter of policy."  

This should at least put to rest the idea that was floating around some corners of the market that the buyer reneged on part of the payment due to authentication issues. However, we do think it's interesting that Christie's made sure to mention that the painting was transferred "under the scrutiny of appropriate experts"- an area of concern in a lot of the recent press coverage about the missing masterpiece. The Canvas just hopes that if it is indeed hanging in a Middle Eastern palace right now- and not in the climate controlled, carefully cultivated, restoration rooms of the Louvre Abu Dhabi- that 'Salvator Mundi' is receiving the same kind of expert care and consideration we'd all hope for in the case of a genuine work by da Vinci. 

2. As we're sure you've heard by now, Francis Outred is out at Christie's. While the departure of the now former head of postwar and contemporary art for Europe is being billed as a resignation initiated by Francis himself, The Canvas has been hearing differing versions from sources both within Christie's, as well as people familiar with the situation outside of the auction house. Top of mind for many was the notable buy-in of Gerhard Richter's"Schädel (Skull)" that was estimated to sell for between £12-18m at the house's post-war & contemporary evening sale in London in October. However, everyone we spoke to agreed that the conversations about his stepping down began before that embarrassing flop. It remains to be seen what Outred's next move will be- be it private advisory, starting his own gallery (à la Emmanuel Di Donna) or partnering with a market heavyweight like Brett Gorvy did with Dominique Lévy. Speaking of Dominique, we asked her for her thoughts on the recent spate of high level departures from the auction houses in our December edition of The Canvas Monthly, and her answer was quite illuminating. You can subscribe by clicking here

3. In addition to being a market mover in terms of the consignments he wins and deals he makes in-house at  Christie's, the house's co-chair of the postwar and contemporary art department for the Americas, Loïc Gouzer, is proving he has the ability and cachet to move the market at auction houses he's not employed at as well. While a number of environmental groups had campaigned for Bonhams to end the practice of offering rhino horn artifacts in its upcoming sales, it wasn't until Gouzer called out the perennial fourth-place auction house (on a good day) via his widely followed Instagram account. Bonhams quickly acquiesced and announced that it would no longer offer artifacts made from rhinoceros horn in its salesrooms. Sotheby's then jumped on board and announced that it too would longer be in the rhino horn business. Good for Loïc who's a noted environmentalist and avid spear-fisherman for using his influential position to enact some social good. No wonder he and Leo DiCaprio get along so well

Five Museum Shows to See While in Miami

"Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida, 1980-83" at The Pérez Art Museum Miami

"Judy Chicago: A Reckoning" at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami

"Paola Pivi: Art With A View" at The Bass Museum of Art

"Remember to React: 60 Years of Collecting" at the NSU Art Museum

New Instillations featuring Imi Knoebel, Ibrahim Mahama, and others at The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse

Don't worry- our usual 'Party Circuit' section will be back in tomorrow's edition. But for today, we wanted to highlight a wine that has caught The Canvas's attention. Produced in an extremely limited number, carefully sourced from select vineyards in Napa Valley, and undeniably beautifully packaged- just look at those bottles- Stones Wines make for unbeatable gifts for both the wine and art collector in your life. To learn more about the brand, check out our interview with founder, Lawrence Fairchild, in the December edition of The Canvas Monthly. You'll thank us later. 

The Canvas Mega-Edition Featuring Contemporary Sales at Christie's and Phillips: Sponsored by Heritage Auctions

Ladies and Gentlemen, We Have a New Record 

It turns out that billionaire currency trader, Joe Lewis, knew exactly what he was doing in the end (you don't get to be worth $5 billion by being an idiot, after all). The Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)consignor declined Christie's multiple offers to accept a third-party guarantee on the work, and his insistence on the $80 million estimate for David Hockney's masterpiece was clearly a smart move (we admit, we at The Canvas were doubters there for a bit).

Perhaps Lewis had received visitors to his stately manse in the Bahamas over the years, and it was his ability to recognize the lust for the painting in the eyes of his fellow global elite that gave him and the specialists at Christie's enough confidence to offer the work without a reserve- a shocking strategy for such a high profile, highly priced cover lot in a November evening sale... We may never know.

What we do know was that at least seven bidders vied for the honor of paying the most expensive sum on record for a work by a living artist (easily outpacing the $58.4 million paid for Jeff Koons's Balloon Dog (Orange). Christie’s global president and auctioneer for the night, Jussi Pylkkänen (wearing his lucky pink tie), casually opened the bidding at $18 million where it quickly bounced in $2 million and $3 million increments until reaching the $55 million mark with a bid from Barrett White, executive deputy chairman, and head of post-war and contemporary art, Americas. From there it became a bidding war between international director and head of evening sale, Katherine Arnold; and chairman of Christie’s Americas, Marc Porter (with some helpful bidding from Christie’s co-chairman for postwar and contemporary art, Loïc Gouzer at the $65 million mark). The bidding lasted for nine minutes, and ultimately it was Porter who prevailed with a winning bid of exactly $80 million ($90.3 million with the buyer's premium). After hanging up with his phone bidder, Porter disappeared for the rest of the night, never to be heard from again, which causes The Canvas to suspect that the winning bidder was somewhere close by. 

Of course, the Hockney wasn't the only highlight of the evening. Bidding was heated right out of the gate with multiple parties interested in the first lot of the night, Phillip Guston's Window, which pulled in an extraordinarily high $3.1 million (against an estimate of $300,000-$500,000). Bidding was also extremely heated for Alexander Calder’s 21 Feuilles Blanches which carried a pre-sale estimate of $5 million-$8 million, and had dealers, Dominique Lévy of Lévy Gorvy, and Christophe van de Weghe both interested in the work. Ultimately, it sold for $18 million (with the premium) to a bidder on the phone with Loïc. 

Directly after the Calder came Francis Bacon's Study of Henrietta Moraes Laughing which is the first work to come to auction from the legendary collection of S. I. Newhouse. Carrying an estimate of $14 million–$18 million, it also ended up selling to a phone bidder with Loïc for $21.7 million (with premium). Other highlights included Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park #137 (estimate of $18 million-$22 million) from the collection of Mary Tyler Moore which also sold to Loïc after a protracted bidding war with fellow brother-in-arms, Alex Rotter, chairman, post-war and contemporary art, for $22.6 million with fees; and Mark Rothko's Untitled (Rust, Blacks on Plum) from the collection of François and Susan de Menil which sold to a phone bidder with Barrett White for $35.7 million with fees (against an estimate of $35 million-$45 million)- a somewhat disappointing result for the Rothko market. 

Indeed, the Rothko wasn't the only disappointment of the night at Christie's. A Bruce Nauman neon work failed to find a buyer, as did Helen Frankethaler's Red Square, which was expected to sell for between $3 million and $5 million. Between that and the somewhat disappointing $7.6 million hammer for Joan Mitchell's Russian Easter (estimated at $8 million-$12 million), it was a disappointing night for members of the 'Ninth Street Women'. 

Speaking of disappointments, we should probably talk about the 20th Century Contemporary Art Evening Sale at Phillips which took place earlier in the evening. Perhaps it was the horrendous snow storm which snarled traffic throughout the city that dampened the bidding in the room, however, the $88.5 million pulled in for the sale- which included fees (against estimates of $100 million to $142 million- which don't) can only be described as a tremendous letdown for the house. 

While Andy Warhol's Gun, consigned by private dealer, Tobias Meyer, managed to sell for $9.5 million (against an estimate of $7 million to $10 million), and Joan Miró’s Femme dans la nuit pulled in a very strong $22.6 million (against an estimate of $12million-$18 million) from strong bidding both within the room and on the phone banks, it wasn't enough to staunch the bleeding from the triple blow of three particular passed lots out of a total of six for the evening (in addition to three lots which were withdrawn before the sale). 

Those three works, Christopher Wool'Untitled (estimate of $4 million-$6 million), Alberto Burri's Grande legno e rosso (estimate of $10 million-$15 million), and Jackson Pollock's Number 16 (with an unpublished estimate of around $18 million)- which the house had a lot of its hopes for the evening lying upon- absolutely decimated any chance of Phillips achieving its pre-sale estimate goals. There were other highlights scattered throughout the sale though, including Untitled (Fatal Group) by KAWS which more than tripled its high estimate, selling for $3.5 million (against $700,000-$900,000) as the American graffiti artist continues to make an impression on collectors interested in getting in on his buzzy market.  

While Christie's garnered the headlines and was already past $1 billion for the week as its CEO, Guillaume Cerutti, gleefully noted in the post-sale press conference; and The Canvas still believes that Phillips is on the right track to finding its niche with consignments under the $20 million mark, it seems like Sotheby's came out the major winner for the week- achieving a better sell-through rate, and almost certainly earning a bigger profit on the lots offered throughout its contemporary sale. However, if we're judging based off of Christie's ability to win the consignments of trophy lots and collections- as Alex Rotter readily acknowledged in the same press conference- then things are looking pretty good for the storied auction house. Both Joe Lewis and the Newhouse family are surely happy with the results of last night and will continue to consign works with the power duo of Gouzer and Rotter for future sales. 

It was a mostly strong week for the market. While it's clear that collectors aren't going to be willing to pay sky high sums just for the fun of it (as opposed to the stratospheric market conditions in 2014-2016), there's strong, sustained demand for quality works up to the $25 million mark. Anything above that is clearly receiving more measured bidding and will require a bit more finesse from specialists in order to convince their clients to fork over the money. Luckily, the specialists at Sotheby's Christie's, and Phillips, all excel at finesse. 

The Canvas will have a more detailed look and analysis of the market in our January monthly edition. Our December edition (publishing December 4th) is already quite full and will feature Noah Horowitz of Art Basel Miami Beach, Dominique Lévy of Lévy Gorvy, Pamela Cohen of Art Miami, Amelia Dayan and Daniella Luxembourg of Luxembourg & Dayan, and Sukanya Rajaratnam of Mnuchin Gallery. 

The free edition of The Canvas (what you're currently reading) will next be published throughout the week of Art Basel Miami Beach. We're off until then, and kindly invite you to subscribe to The Canvas Monthly by clicking on the link below. 

The Three Things People Are Talking About

1. In a nice little article for the New York Times, Daniel Grant takes readers inside the leading art storage facilities in New York. Correctly noting that most serious collectors need to keep at least a portion of their collections in storage due to a simple lack of space, Grant specifically mentions Uovo'sexponential growth in the three years since its founding. Having started with a 280,000-square-foot facility in Long Island City (soon to be home to Amazon's second headquarters), Uovo has since opened up two additionally storage centers in Rockland County for a total of 520,000 square feet, with a fourth facility currently being built in Bushwick. We always knew there was a reason why Uovo was our favorite shipping, instillation, and storage company. Also mentioned in the article were Crozier Fine Arts, the Delaware Freeport, and Fortress. Conspicuously absent from the conversation was Cadogan Tate which didn't even merit a mention.  

2. Dmitry Rybolovlev is back in the news (is he ever not?) after being charged in connection with a corruption investigation in Monaco. Rybolovlev you'll recall, is the billionaire collector who's currently suing his former art advisor dealer, Yves Bouvier, alleging that the Swiss dealer overcharged him by a cool $1 billion for paintings he sold him including Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi (which went on to sell at Christie's for $450 million). At the moment, Rybolovlev and Bouvier are embroiled in lawsuits in New York, Geneva, Singapore, and London, however, the current charges against the Russian billionaire stem from the original case in Monaco when he allegedly tried to influence the authorities in the principality in order to have Bouvier arrested. Eileen Kinsella over at Artnet has all the juicy details

3. In the latest step taken by MGM Resorts Art & Culture as it continues to try and turn Last Vegas into a must-see destination on the art world tourism circuit, it was announced yesterday that the city will be getting its very own Kusama "Infinity Mirror Room". Yayoi Kusama's Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity and Narcissus Garden will open tomorrow at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art and will remain open through April 28th, 2019. Las Vegas's continued push into the art world is a topic that The Canvas hopes to explore further in the coming months. In addition to the gallery at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, MGM has Ugo Rondinone’s Seven Magic Mountains public art installation located near Jean Dry Lake, and the ARIA Fine Art Collection at the ARIA Resort and Casino. The company also has a partnership with Art Basel dating back to 2016, and works with insider art PR firm, FITZ & CO on its efforts in the space. 


Five Gallery Shows to See Before They Close

Deborah Anzinger's "Erosion" at Sargent's Daughters (closes November 18th) 

"Matisse and the Model: The Sensuous Link" at James Goodman Gallery (closes November 30th) 

Didier William's "Curtains, Stages, and Shadows Act 1" at James Fuentes (closes November 25th

"Richard Bernstein: Fame" at Deitch Projects (closes November 21st)

"Diane Arbus Untitled" at David Zwirner (closes December 15th)

The Party Circuit

Dan Colen "High Noon" Opening at Gagosian Beverly Hills
(Spotted: Alex Israel, Heather Podesta, Mark Grotjahn, Maurice Marciano, and Dan Colen)

Dia Art Foundation: Fall Night 2018
(Spotted: Raf Simmons, George Condo, Carl Andre, Ana Maria Celis, Josh Baer, Roger Goodell, Nicholas Logsdail, Paula Cooper, and Charles Gaines)

Guggenheim International Gala
(Spotted: Zosia Mamet, Hannah Bronfman, Jon Batiste, and Sofia Hublitz)

Ebsworth Collection Delivers Strong Results for Christie's Even as Bidding for Top Lots Continues to Remain Uneven

Christie's Flexes Its Muscles 

Christie's pulled in a solid $317.8 million at last night's Ebsworth Collectionevening sale, bouncing back from a thoroughly unimpressive performance at its Impressionist & Modern evening sale a few nights before. The single-owner estate brought a number of high profile American masterpieces to market, with all but four of the lots on offer finding buyers. The $317.8 million fell squarely between pre-sale estimates of $258.3-$360 million, and the buy-in rate for the evening was a strong 88% (with the four unsold lots being relatively minor in value). The night's proceedings were deftly stewarded by Christie's principal auctioneer, Jussi Pylkkanen, who brought his usual calm yet brisk auctioneering style to the sale.   

The star lot of the night was obviously Edward Hopper's, Chop Suey, which carried an estimate of $70m-$100m and was backed by a third-party guarantor who received a stunning $4 million fee for his (or her) trouble. Bidding opened at around $50 million and increased in increments of $5 million between Loic Gouzer, co-chairman of Christie’s post-war and contemporary art department, and Eric Widing, Christie’s deputy chairman, who we don't see nearly enough of at the house's evening sales due to his primary focus on American art. The painting hammered at $85 million ($91.9 million with the buyer's premium tacked on and the guarantor's fee deducted), setting an auction record both for Hopper himself, and the entire category of American art as a whole. However, while there were a few bidders in the mix, it was somewhat disappointing that the $100 million threshold ultimately wasn't crossed. 

Another major highlight of the evening was Woman as Landscape, a magnificent painting by Willem de Kooning which was owned by comedian, Steve Martin, before being acquired by Ebsworth for his monumental collection. As was often the case throughout the night, bidding seemed relatively sparse in yet another sign that Christie's needs to tamp down its sellers' expectations in the process of winning these trophy lot consignments. Again and again throughout this week, we're seeing numerous examples that the market isn't loving these sky high estimates secured by third-party guarantees. Ultimately, the de Kooning hammered for $68.9 million (against an estimate of $60m-$80m). 

Throughout the evening, bidding was most intense for works priced significantly cheaper; perhaps best evidenced by Ellsworth Kelly'sRed White which sold for $2.9 million (against an estimate of $700,000-$900,000). Other highlights included Jasper Johns’s Gray Rectangles, previously in the collection of Victor and Sally Ganz, which sold to a bidder on the phone with Loic for $21.1 million (estimate of $18m-$25m). Interestingly, it looked like Alex Rotter, chairman, post-war & contemporary art- and sporting that fierce beard of his- was receiving signals from, and bidding on behalf of someone within the sales room (something we're pretty sure that Sotheby's vice-chairman, Brooke Lampley, was also doing at the house's Impressionist & Modern evening sale on Monday night).   

And of course, Joan Mitchell's12 Hawks at 3 O’Clock, was met with spirited bidding and ultimately sold for a rock solid $14 million (comfortably in between its estimate of $12m-$16m) also to Alex Rotter. The only disappointment was that the large scale work didn't end up breaking the artist's record (set last spring) as Christie's senior specialist and vice president, Ana Maria Celis suggested it would when we spoke to her for the November edition of The Canvas Monthly. Read our interview with her, Rotter, and Max Carter by clicking on the link below and subscribing to our premium monthly edition of The Canvas. Remember, what you're reading right now is our free edition that publishes during the major auction weeks and fairs throughout the year. 

We'll be back tomorrow and Friday for the results of the post-war & contemporary sales at Christie's, Sotheby's, and Phillips, before taking a Thanksgiving break in the run up to Art Basel Miami Beach. Happy hunting everyone! 

The Three Things People Are Talking About

1. Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Peter Brant owns ArtNews no more! It was announced yesterday that Jay Penske's, Penske Media, bought Art Media Holdings, LLC, the holding company that owns ARTnews, Art in America, The Magazine ANTIQUES, and MODERN Magazine for a rumored $20 million-$25 million. In his article about the sale for ArtnetTim Schneider notes that Alan Mnuchin of boutique investment bank, AGM Partners, advised Penske on the acquisition (Mnuchin is the son of gallery owner, Robert Mnuchin, and brother to US Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin). While we hope that ArtNews is the beneficiary of some much needed investment funds as they've been bleeding editorial talent throughout 2018, and are in desperate need of a digital makeover, it's unfortunate that Brant is yet again bailed out of a bad investment (Remember the whole Interview Magazine debacle from this summer? Talk about ugly...). All we can say is that if there are any dazed, confused, or fearful staffers over at ArtNews (on either the editorial or business sides of things) that are looking for a new start and are interested in joining a newsletter that actually helps readers make sense of the major art industry headlines and trends- and the decision makers who help shape them- then get in touch with us. We'd love to have you. 

2. In a move that's being widely praised by a number of art world insiders, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis has hired Mary Ceruti to be its next executive director. Ceruti has been the director and chief curator of the SculptureCenter in Long Island City for close to 20 years, and will be filling the role vacated by Olga Viso after she stepped down in the wake of protests against Sam Durant's "Scaffold" structure. At a time when the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco demonstrated just how little imagination its board has when it announced that Thomas Campbell would be its next director and CEO (literally swapping jobs with Metropolitan Museum of Art director, Max Hollein), it's nice to see a prominent museum leadership position go to a supremely qualified and capable woman. 

3. Banksy thrives on publicity. His entire business model revolves around it. And even though we're reluctant to waste keystrokes on his usual shenanigans (Sotheby's stunt aside), we feel it necessary to weigh in this time around. As Artnet's Henri Neuendorf notes in a recent article on the site, the street artist has been getting accused of anti-Semitsm from some corners of the art world for sharing a satirical pro-Palestine poster on his Instagram that features the slogan "“Visit historic Palestine" with the tagline underneath saying “The Israeli army liked it so much they never left!”. While The Canvas is loathe to comment on politics- that's obviously not what we're here for- we definitely agree with those calling Bansky out. Criticism of the Israel government can be legitimate, and is often well deserved. But this crosses the line into denying Israel's very right to exist in the first place. And the fact that he shared it during a particularly horrific round of Hamas rocket fire aimed at Israeli civilians only adds to the poster's pernicious message. 

Five Museum Shows To See This Week

"Andy Warhol- From A to B and Back Again" at the Whitney (obviously)

"Luigi Valadier: Splendor in Eighteenth-Century Rome" at The Frick

"Martha Rosler: Irrespective" at The Jewish Museum

"Bruce Nauman: Disappearing Acts" at MoMA

"Jewelry: The Body Transformed" at The Met

The Party Circuit

2018 Hirshhorn Gala
(Spotted: Barbara Gladstone, Princess Eugenie of York, KAWS, Mark Bradford, David Kordansky, Manuela & Iwan Wirth, Eddie Martinez, Emmanuel Perrotin, Sukanya Rajaratnam, and Ben Genocchio (no words...) 

Opening Reception for 'Andy Warhol- From A to B and Back Again'
(Spotted: Chuck Close, Adam Weinberg, Jeffrey Deitch, and Eric Shiner)

The Performa Gala: 2018
(Spotted: Christo, Rashid Johnson, RoseLee Goldberg, Roya Sachs, Nicole Berry, and Ellie Goulding)

Sotheby's Impressionist & Modern Evening Sale Defiantly Surpasses Expectations

Sotheby's Bounces Back

We're not embarrassed to tell you that we took a not-insignificant amount of flak from some of the lovely folks over at Sotheby's after we published our inside look at the house's Impressionist & Modern department in the July issue of The Canvas Monthly (read all of our past issues by subscribing here). So we were pleasantly surprised to see them pull off a mainly successful evening at last night's Impressionist & Modern art evening sale at the salesroom over on York Avenue. 

In a surprise move, Helena Newman, the Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe and Worldwide Head of Impressionist & Modern Art, didn't lead the night's proceedings, and instead opted to field bids on behalf of her clients over the phone. In her place, we were greeted by the delightfully witty, Harry Dalmeny, Senior Director & UK Chairman, and heir to the Earl of Rosebery (yes, he's a Lord with a capital L). 

Dalmeny brought a sense of self-awareness and amusement to the night that we've felt have long been missing at Sotheby's Imp/Mod sales. However, all the charm in the world couldn't mask the disappointing second half of the evening where a string of lots went unsold. 

The night began to kick into high gear with a trio of highly priced Kandinsky works on offer. All three lots were met with sustained bidding from multiple parties, and either met their pre-sale estimates, or in the case of Improvisation on Mahogany, surpassed its estimate (of $15m-$20m) with a final result of $24.2 million (including the buyer's premium). Le Rond Rouge sold for $20.6 million (against an estimate of $18m-$25m) to a phone bidder represented by Amy Cappellazzo, Chairman of the Fine Art division at Sotheby's. 

Interestingly, it was clear from the beginning of the sale that Dalmeny was going to allow bidding in unusually small increments throughout the evening. It was a strategy that seemed to catalyze bidding interest in the salesroom, but prolonged the night into an almost unbearably long two-and-a-half hours- which was almost definitely a factor in the string of passed lots on the back-end of the sale. 

In total, 16 of the 65 lots offered last night failed to find a buyer, including the major disappointment of the sale, Marsden Hartley's Pre-War Pageant which carried an unpublished estimate of around $30 million. Unfortunately for Sotheby's, the work carried an in-house guarantee, and it will now be left to Amy CappellazzoAllan Schwartzman, and their colleagues in the private sales division to try and find it a home. 

A bright spot for the night came with Egon Schiele's City in Twilight (The Small City II), which sparked a bidding war between NewmanPatti Wong, Chairman of Sotheby's Asia, James Mackie, Head of the Impressionist & Modern Art Department in London, and Sam Valette, Senior Specialist, Impressionist & Modern Art Department, Sotheby's London. It ended up selling for $24.6 million (far surpassing its estimate of $12m–$18m) and was met with applause upon the hammer. 

Other major highlights for the evening included Oskar Kokoschka’s portrait of Joseph de Montesquiou-Fezensac selling to Andrew Fabricant of Gagosian for $20.4 million, Ludwig Meidner’s deeply disturbing Apocalyptic Landscap selling to Lévy Gorvy for $14.1 million, and of course, René Magritte's surrealist masterpiece, Le Principe de plaisir, which achieved a record price of $26.8 million against a pre-sale estimate of $15m-$20m.

Overall the sale achieved a total of $315.4 million (against pre-sale estimates of $283.9 million to $393.4 million) and should prove to be a momentum booster for Sotheby's which has a lot less riding on sky high estimates than Christie's does throughout the sales this week. 

The Three Things People Are Talking About

1. In her latest piece for The Art NewspaperAnna Brady takes a look inside the opaque and often difficult-to-discern world of third party guarantees at the major auction houses. The utilization of third party guarantees (or "irrevocable bids" in Sotheby's parlance) has been increasing steadily since 2010, but has now reached such ubiquity that they're on track "to hit an all-time high of around $2.5 billion in 2018". While traditionally dominated by the well-connected, in-the-know, Nahmad and Mugrahbi families, individuals with a predominantly financial background are increasingly getting in on the action. Brady quotes a number of key market players for her piece including Adam Chinn, COO of Sotheby's and Asher Edelman, CEO of art-lending company Artemus. A number of innovative ideas for how to help regulate these financial instruments are presented in her article, and we strongly encourage you to read the entire piece in order to get a mini crash course on the subject, as it's quite clear third party guarantees are poised to continue to flourish in the current market environment. 

2. What do Hauser & Wirth, Pace, David Zwirner, Kasmin, and Lehmann Maupin, all have in common? They're aggressively expanding their footprints throughout Manhattan. In a New York Times article that explores the trend of galleries expanding their physical spaces to seemingly no end, Laura van Straaten takes readers behind the scenes of what's in store for some of the top galleries in both New York and Los Angeles. This will be a topic that The Canvas explores further over the coming months as we continue to gauge the health of the gallery ecosystem in America's largest art neighborhoods. 

3. We feel strongly that perennial third-place, Phillips, is finally beginning to hit its stride and find its niche amidst the duopoly of Christie's and Sotheby's- and we're not the only ones who have noticed. In a recent New York Times profile of Phillips CEO, Edward DolmanRobin Pogrebinrightfully praises the art market veteran for his dual strategy of attracting high level talent, (Jean-Paul EngelenCheyenne Westphal, and Jonathan Crockett are just a few examples) and the house's focus on lots priced between $5 million to $10 million, rather than the sky high trophy works that the specialists at Christie's and Sotheby's continually fight over. And in a week where the market is seeing little appetite for the most expensive works on offer, that strategy is proving to be particularly prescient. While The Canvas still feels that Phillips can (and should) up its game in the digital and social media departments, we're glad to see the people in charge getting their rightful dues.

In the November edition of The Canvas Monthly, we asked Jean-Paul Engelen about the house's concerted efforts to go after consignments priced under the $20 million mark. Read his response to that- and much more- as part of our in-depth conversation with him, Amanda Lo Iacono, and Michael Sherman ahead of the house's 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale this Thursday night by clicking on the link below and subscribing. 

Five More Gallery Shows To See This Week

John Bock's "Dead + Juicy" at Anton Kern Gallery (Absolute Must See)

"The Life of Forms" at Di Donna Galleries

"Stanley Whitney: In the Color" at Lisson Gallery

"Robert Whitman: 61" at Pace Gallery

"'The Artist And The Model" at Hammer Galleries


The Party Circuit

Wedding of Princess Eugenie (Director at Hauser & Wirth's London Gallery)
(Spotted: Queen Elizabeth II- enough said ) 

Independent Curators International Annual Benefit & Auction
(Spotted: Agnes Gund, Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Merve Elveren, and Emily Rauh Pulitzer)

2018 LACMA Art + Film Gala (Presented by Gucci)
(Spotted: Troy Carter, George Lucas, Gus Van Sant, Doug Aitken, Alex Israel, Will Ferrell, Dakota Johnson, Michael Govan, Mark Bradford, Julian Schnabel, A$AP Rocky, Zoë Kravitz, François Henri-Pinault, Jared Leto, Salma Hayek, Paris Jackson, and on and on and on... Which begs the question, where was The Canvas's invite?)

Christie's Impressionist & Modern Evening Sale Disappoints Amidst Underwhelming Bidding

Let The Games Begin

One of the things that The Canvas admires most about Adrien Meyer is that he always seems to carry a look of excitement on his face as he leads an auction. Last night, that look of excitement was often overtaken by a look of concern as the auctioneer surveyed the room and phone banks in the often unsuccessful search for more bidders. 

While last night's Impressionist & Modern art evening sale at Christie's certainly didn't carry the same sepulchral tone that we felt Sotheby's did at its May Imp/Mod sale, the salesroom at Rockefeller Center was definitely subdued in both atmosphere and bidding interest.

The sale fell significantly short of its low end estimate of $304.7 million, achieving a decidedly underwhelming $279.3 million total for the night. However, a large portion of the blame for the poor performance can be attributed to three passed lots (out of a total of nine passed lots for the evening) by Picasso (Lot 26A), Monet (Lot 19A), and Van Gogh (Lot 40A).  

In the case of Picasso's Femme au béret orange et au col de fourrure (Marie-Therese) which carried an estimate of $15m-$20m, bidding stalled early at $14m with Meyer asking somewhat helplessly "What should we do?" to some of his colleagues manning the phone banks. And even though the question was meant as a push to inch the bidding higher, it's hard not to extrapolate it out and view the entire evening through the same lens. 

A particular bright spot for the evening however, came with Monet's Effet de neige à Giverny which attracted a heated bidding war between Max Carter, Head of Department, Impressionist and Modern Art, New York, and Jay Vincze, Senior International Director, Impressionist and Modern Art, London. Carter, who seems to have taken a page out of colleague, Alex Rotter's, playbook, was communicating with his bidder via text and eventually prevailed with a winning bid of $13.5m ($15.5m with fees) against an estimate of $5m-$8m. 

Other highlights included Picasso's La Lampe, the cover lot of the evening which carried an estimate of $25m-$35m and was backed by a third-party guarantee which sold for $29.6m with fees, and Monet's Le basin aux nymphéas, one of a series of the artist's Giverny paintings, which ended up selling to a Chinese bidder on the phone for $31.8m with fees (against an estimate of $30-$50m). 

And while at least the Giverny painting of Monet's sold (for barely above its low estimate), the same could not be said for van Gogh’s Coin de jardin avec papillons. The stunning landscape carried an unpublished estimate of around $40m and was marketed with a pricy video with CGI butterflies. Interest in the room and on the phones was so low however, that Meyer quickly ended the bidding after less than two minutes once Elaine Holt, Vice President, Director of Impressionist & Modern Art for Asia, signaled her bidder wouldn't be moving past the $30m level. 

Overall it's hard to classify the night as anything other than a disappointment- albeit a moderate one. Estimates on the pricier lots seemed to be way off the mark throughout the evening, which really makes The Canvas question that $80m Hockney estimate coming up on Thursday night (more on that below). 

In the November edition of The Canvas Monthly, we asked Max Carter about the house's strategy to offer so many Picasso works in one sale (a question that we're afraid looks more relevant now on the heels of Femme au béret orange et au col de fourrure (Marie-Therese) failing to find a buyer last night). The house generously made Olivier Picasso, the artist's grandson who's intimately involved in his grandfather's market available for comment. See what they both said by clicking below to subscribe for only $18 per month. 

The Three Things People Are Talking About

1. ArtReview published its annual 'Power 100' list last week, and as usual, it got a lot of people talking- and not necessarily in a good way. While power lists always contain some degree of absurdity built into the format (and often cause controversy no matter what industry they're focused on) many an eyebrow was raised upon seeing mega-dealer, David Zwirner (#1), and market darling, Kerry James Marshall (#2), edge out the entire #MeToo movement (#3) on the list. Whether due to its Eurocentric focus, or its general aloofness, the London based publication seems to have badly misread the environment and mood of the contemporary art world in America. Also- since when is 'art world' stylized as 'artworld'? Are we allowed to just make up words now? Just another instance of bizarreness in a list replete with examples.

2. Speaking of David Zwirner... The German-born dealer continues his march toward art market domination with the announcement that his gallery will be representing artist-of-the-moment, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, in conjunction with Victoria Miro Gallery. Back in September, Kelly Crow of the Wall Street Journal published a long, in-depth profile of the Nigerian artist wherein she was described as having felt "naively exploited at times" and "skittish about showing in New York galleries" after having fought with both Tilton Gallery (before the eponymous owner tragically succumbed to cancer last year) and Chelsea stalwart, Fredericks & Freiser, in order to exert as much control over her own market as possible. Somewhat ironically, The Canvas can think of few other young artists who are so keenly involved with knowing the identities of their individual collectors. And while Zwirner will certainly help her cultivate the blue-chip collector pedigree she's been looking for- and help provide a comfortable safety net as she continues her purposefully slow pace of production- we'd be shocked if he's actually sharing the identity of his clients with Akunyili Crosby, which is what she's continuously wanted throughout the years. 

3. Amidst the announcement that Christie's is offering David Hockney's Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) without a reserve in its Post-War & Contemporary evening auction on Thursday, rumors are swirling as to what it might portend for both the artwork itself, and the state of the market in general. There was already chatter among market insiders that buyers were shying away from the $80m asking price despite the consensus that the painting is a genuine trophy piece that any multi-billionaire would be lucky to own (if you're bidding $80m on a single artwork, a single billion won't suffice). The announcement clearly suggests that Hockney's most famous work will be offered without a reserve in an effort to catalyze as many bidders as possible into the mix, in an effort to at least cast the illusion of sustained demand in the market. However, the move obviously carries an inordinate amount of risk. "Hubris (or calculated desperation)" is how one market insider described it to The Canvas. Of course, it's also possible that a certain someone who both sincerely admires the work, and has an interest in the overall health of the art market (and Christie's in particular) could be waiting in the wings, ready to swoop in at the $70m mark if bidding stalls. The Canvas wonders who that someone could be... 

Five Gallery Shows To See This Week

"Alberto Giacometti: Intimate Immensity Sculptures, 1935-1945" at Luxembourg & Dayan

"Calder/Kelly" at Lévy Gorvy Gallery

Tauba Auerbach's "A Broken Stream" at Paula Cooper Gallery

"The Joy of Color" at Mnuchin Gallery

Walton Ford's "Barbary" at Kasmin Gallery


The Party Circuit

Murakami & Abloh "America Too" at Gagosian Beverly Hills
(Spotted: Orlando Bloom, Sasha Grey, Kid Kudi, John Mayer, and Usher) 

SculptureCenter: Annual Benefit Gala
(Spotted: Carol Bove, Gavin Brown, Scott Rothkopf, Lucas Cooper, and Stefania Bortolami)

Hugo Boss Prize 2018: Artists Dinner at the Guggenheim 
(Spotted: Diane Solway, Alexander Skarsgard, Cynthia Rowley, Chloe Wise, Simone Leigh, and Michael Avedon)

We've All Been Bansky-ed Edition- Frieze London Final Sales & Sotheby's Contemporary Evening Sale Recap Inbox

We've All Been Bansky-ed (read below)

Good afternoon from the home office in New York. It feels good to be back in the swing of things, rather than continuously living out of a suitcase. Although, if you have any idea why we still celebrate this inane holiday (Columbus Day for all our non-American readers), then we invite you to email us with your explanation. As far as we can tell, it's just an excuse to get off work for the day and go apple picking (something in which The Canvas, as you can clearly see, is not partaking in). 

We have a few public service announcements before we jump right in to the final sales reported at Frieze London and Frieze Masters, and our recap and thoughts on the Sotheby's Contemporary sale that took place Friday evening (and subsequently rocked the art world). And trust us, if there's only one piece from The Canvas that you read from our Frieze London editions, make sure it's this take on all the Bansky/Sotheby's shenanigans (which you can find below)

For those of you who have been wondering about the broken links in the past few editions, we've solved the issue and adjusted accordingly. All links in this edition should work perfectly and we'll adjust the links in our past editions for when we post them in the archive section of our website. 

Speaking of our website, we've heard everyone's feedback and we're going to streamline the two editions of our newsletter, The Canvas, which publishes during the major fairs and sales weeks throughout the year and is free to everyone, and The Canvas Monthly, which features in-depth interviews and analysis with the decision makers and thought leaders shaping our industry. While both will still be separate, we're going to work over the next two months to redesign the newsletters to make them easier to read, re-tool the corresponding websites so that it's easier to access past editions, and streamline the subscription process entirely so it's less confusing for everyone.

Additionally, for The Canvas Monthly, we'll be adding a new layer to our coverage going forward- reporting on and compiling all the announcements and shifts in artist and estate representations between the different galleries. And as always, if there's an area you'd like to see us cover more, or that you think would be useful for your company, then please just reply to this email with your recommendations. 

And now, here are the final sales trickling in from both Frieze London and Frieze Masters: 

Works at Hauser & Wirth's Frieze Masters Booth:
Arshile Gorky, Untitled, Head, for $1.6 million
Lucian Freud, The Painter's Mother, (ink on paper) for $155,000
Henry MoorePortrait of Stephen Spender, for GBP 50,000 

Works at Hauser & Wirth's Frieze Booth:
Keith Tyson, Entangled Still Life, for $100,000 
Rashid JohnsonUntitled Escape Collage, for $215,000
Lorna SimpsonBlue Earth/Sky, for $375,000
Three works by Günther Förg with prices beginning at EUR 350,000 each

Works at Skarstedt's Frieze Masters Booth:
Eric FischlThe Bed, the Chair, Crossing, sold for around $850,000
Thomas SchütteKleine Geister, sold for about $120,000

Works at Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert's Frieze Masters Booth:
Two Bridget Riley works for GBP 160,000 a piece 
Richard HamiltonSketch for Super Ex-position 1, for GBP 195,000
Henry MooreIdeas for Sculpture, for GBP 180,000
Barbara HepworthThree Forms (Zennor Carn), for approximately GBP 650,000

Works at Sprüeth Magers's Frieze Masters Booth:
Andreas GurskyDolomites, Cablecar, for EUR 680,000
A group of nine prints by Bernd & Hilla BeherWater Towers: (Globe High), sold for EUR 135,000

It's not too late to subscribe to The Canvas Monthly for our November and December editions featuring Dominique LévyVictoria SiddallAmalia Dayan and Daniella Luxembourg, and many more soon to be announced. Don't miss out on what everyone at work is sure to be talking about. We invite you to subscribe by clicking on the link below. 

Subscribe to The Canvas Monthly Here

The Sotheby's Frieze Contemporary Evening Sale

The always cool-under-pressure, Oliver Barker, was the auctioneer for Sotheby's double sale of contemporary art and "The History of Now: The Collection of David Teiger” this past Friday evening. And while most of the attention is being lavished upon Bansky for the shredding of his 2006 canvas, Girl with Balloon which sold for $1.3 million with fees at the end of the evening (see below), let's talk about some of the other sales first. 

Most importantly (and historically), Jenny Saville became the most expensive living female artist ever sold when her gut wrenching self-portrait, Propped sold for £9.5 ($12.4 million) against an estimate of £3 million to £4 million. It was the source of a heated bidding battle between Sotheby’s head of Impressionist and Modern Art, Helena Newman, and North and South America chairman, Lisa Dennison, with Newman eventually prevailing for the bidder she was representing on the phone. Apropos of nothing else (again, see the Banksy nonsense below) this alone made Sotheby's night and proved to be a masterful stroke by the auction house. At a time when female artists roles in the art world are being re-examined (see Joan Mitchell, Lee Krasner, etc...) and gender dynamics throughout society are being questioned in America, the consignment of the piece in the sale was sure to make headlines. And the fact that it was two trailblazing, powerhouse, women in the art world who were the ones doing the bidding, make the sale feel all the more historically important. You could see Ollie's massive grin from the back of the room as he presided over yet another record-breaking sale (he was also at the rostrum back in May when Kerry James Marshall's Past Times sold for $21 million becoming the highest price achieved at auction for a living African-American artist). 

Overall, Sotheby's brought in a total of £68.7 million ($89.6 million) for the evening with 100% of the lots in the David Teiger collection selling (of which the Jenny Saville was one), and 81% of the lots in the traditional, contemporary sale selling. Other top lots for the evening included Peter Doig's Buffalo Station 1 which hammered for £6.5 million (£7.5 million with fees) to Samuel Valette, a senior specialist for Impressionist and Modern Art representing a bidder on the phone, and Cecily Brown's Sock Monkeywhich hammered for £1.4 million (£1.6 million with fees). 

And now, on to that Banksy debacle. The Canvas likes a well-executed stunt as much as anyone, and what transpired at Sotheby's this past Friday evening was nothing if not an expertly conceptualized and executed PR stunt. Did it qualify as a breathtakingly genius piece of art in and of itself? Meh. After all, what do we know? But there's no denying that it played beautifully as an advertisement for Banksy's work in general, Sotheby's role as the host for the evening's excitement in particular, and contemporary street art overall. 

To argue that Sotheby's was not in on it from the beginning though, is one of the most naïve and asinine things The Canvas has ever heard.There is such a preponderance of evidence- Girl with Balloon was the last lot of the evening in order to maximize the drama, the painting's frame was exceptionally thick and conspicuous- so much so that it would have been downright impossible for Sotheby's handlers to not have noticed something was up, the piece itself was hung on the salesroom wall rather than brought into the room by staff as is traditional for most lots, Sotheby's tickets and approves everyone attending one of its evening sales so they at least knew that the Bansky camp asked for a number of seats which would have been a warning flag that the artist was planning something, and most of all, no one at Sotheby's has been fired for letting a $1.3 million work be destroyed in the middle of its annual Frieze sale- that it's tiresome to hear's Sotheby's denials to the contrary.

While clearly not everyone at the house knew of the stunt beforehand, there were at least a few key employees and executives in Sotheby's leadership who knew what was going to happen. But at the end of the day does it really matter? At a time when auctions are so choreographed and planned down to every detail, with numerous third-party guarantees, and strategically placed chandelier bids, it was nice to see a little bit of (seeming) spontaneity and drama in the salesroom for once. It got people outside of the art world talking- there was even a New York Times push notification released about the stunt- and reminded us what auctions could and should be- nights suffused with anticipation and drama where literally anything can happen. The Canvas's only complaint about the entire evening is that rather than talking about Jenny Saville's record-breaking night (both for herself and for women artists in general) as we should be, we're talking about Banksy's latest publicity stunt. In that way, Alex Branczyk, Sotheby’s head of contemporary art in Europe was right (even if we at The Canvas don't particularly believe his denial)- “We were Banksy’d”. 

Five Shows You Must See in New York Before They Close

Lee Krasner "Mural Studies" at Paul Kasmin (closing October 27th)

"50 Years: An Anniversary" at Paula Cooper (closing November 10th)

Daniel Arsham "3018" at Perrotin (closing October 21st)

Mark Wallinger "Study for Self Reflection" at Hauser & Wirth (closing October 27th)

Harmony Korine "Blockbuster" at Gagosian (closing October 20th)


The Party Circuit

Lehmann Maupin Celebrates Liza Lou
(Spotted: Nari Ward, Ted Loos, Nancy Spector, Stefano Tonchi, Anne Pasternak, and Liza Lou) 

Opening Reception of 'Odyssey' Jack Whitten Sculpture 1963-2017
(Spotted: Agnes Gund, Dan Brodsky, Scott Rothkopf, Mary Whitten, Dan Weiss, Sheena Wagstaff, and Max Hollein)

Follow us on our Instagram page as we hit up all the openings and previews for the fall shows back in New York. We know we've been lax on posting thus far, but don't fret, we'll be making more of a concerted effort over the coming weeks. After all, if it isn't on Instagram, did it really occur in the first place? 

Frieze London Opening Day & Christie's Post-War & Contemporary- Sales, News, and Links

Richter, Koons, and Grotjahn Stumble at Christie's

Good evening from London and good afternoon to those of our readers back in New York.

Our final Frieze edition will publish Sunday evening (New York time) when we return from our travels from across the pond and discuss tonight's Sotheby's sale and recap the full week at Frieze. Also, if yesterday's link to Nate Freeman's 25 Rising Power Players list on Artsy wasn't working for you, then you should be able to check out the full piece here.

For more on last night's somewhat disappointing performance at Christie's- don't worry, it wasn't all bad- please scroll further down. And if you want to hear Katharine Arnold's take from before the sale (she's the International Director, Head of Evening Sale, Post-War and Contemporary Art, EMERI, who was deeply involved in the organization of the sale) then we invite you to subscribe to our monthly editions here for a more thorough perspective. 

In the meantime, here are more sales from the white tents in Regent's Park.

Works at Pace's Frieze Masters Booth:
Lee Ufan's Correspondance for $155,000
A new installation work by Song Don, sold for $65,000
A 2018 painting by Adrian Ghenie for $200,000
Two porcelain wall sculptures by Chinese artist, Yin Xiuzhen, which sold for $86,000 & $68,000

Works at Lisson Gallery's Frieze Booth:
Haroon Mirza for GDP 45,000
John Akomfrah for GDP 75,000
Spencer Finch for $24,000
Dom Sylvester Houédard for $12,000

Works at Night Gallery's Frieze Booth:
Mira Dancy's triangle painting, Toxic sold for $36,000 (a big step up from four years ago when the artist's work was selling for $6,000)
Claire TabouretDuel in Sun (Bronze), sold for $33,000 
Derek FordjourTandem Green, sold for $18,000

Works at Jack Shainman's Frieze Booth:
Three Nick Cave “Soundsuits” works priced at $150,000 each 
Two works by Hayv Kahraman for $9,500 a piece 

Works at Robilant + Voena's Frieze Masters Booth:
An 18-inch-high plaster by CanovaBust of Caroline Murat, nee Bonaparte (circa 1810–12) for around $1 million dollars (as reported by Judd Tully for ArtNews)

An 18th-century Tiepolo painting, Portrait of a Young Pagebust length for less than a $1 million (as reported by Judd Tully for ArtNews)

A page-sized, single-slash, and deeply blue Fontana Concetto Spaziale Attese (1964) for $500,000 (as reported by Judd Tully for ArtNews)

Works at Sprüeth Magers's Frieze Booth:
Two Kaari Upson works selling in the range of $60,000 –$80,000
Jenny Holzer's LED work, Fuzzy, sold for $200,000
George Condo work for $80,000

And if you haven't yet heard the news, our November monthly edition will feature Victoria Siddall, director of all four Frieze fairs, Amalia Dayan and Daniella Luxembourg of Luxembourg & Dayan, and all the relevant players at Christie’s and Sotheby’s for inside looks and previews of the November Post-War & Contemporary and Impressionist & Modern evening sales in New York taking place later that month. So far, our December monthly edition will feature Dominique Lévy, and we're arranging more interviews with the top dealers and power players in the market literally as we're writing this edition of The Canvas.

So if you haven't yet already subscribed to The Canvas Monthly (and honestly, why wouldn't you? It's $18 per month or $179 for the entire year), then we invite you to do so by clicking the link below. 

Subscribe to The Canvas Monthly Here

The Christie's Frieze Post-War & Contemporary Evening Sale

Despite Jussi Pylkkanen's best efforts last night (he was the auctioneer steering the evening's proceedings), the air in Christie's King Street salesroom felt relatively flat and disappointing throughout most of the sale. While the overall total for the night came to £84.6 million ($109.4 million) with fees- the second highest total for the house's annual Frieze sale- it was hard to spin the night as a success with a trio of star lots failing to find buyers. 

The cover lot for the sale, Gerhard Richter's Schädel (Skull), from 1983 failed to surpass £11.5 million (about $15 million) against an unpublished estimate of £12 million-18 million. And two high-profile American works, Jeff Koons’s Cracked Egg (Blue) (1994–2006), and Mark Grotjahn's Untitled (Yellow and Green Low Fall Face 41.80) also failed to sell, tinging the evening with a definitive sour note. 

Even though the Koons work was the source of a brief bidding battle between Stefan Ratibor, director of Gagosian's London outpost (the gallery that represents the artist), and Francis Outred, Christie’s head of Post-War & Contemporary art in Europe, it seemed that the deep corporate coffers of the international behemoth weren't enough to convince the gallery's leadership to pay past £8.5 million for the gigantic, reflective, blue egg (against an estimate of £10 million to £15 million).

With that said, the night did boast a healthy 85% sell-through rate, with 45 of the 53 lots finding buyers. The top lot of the evening was Francis Bacon’s Figure in Movement (1972), which sold for £19.9 million (about $30 million), including fees, which was near the high end of its £15 million-to-£20 million estimate. It sold to Outred representing a bidder on the phone, with Per Skarstedt as the underbidder. Another bright spot for the evening was the sale of Jean Dubuffet's Madame au Jardin (1956) which hammered at £3.8 million (£4.5 million with fees). And German artist, Albert Oehlen's large Stier mit loch (Bull with hole), sold to Max Hetzler (the artist's European dealer) for £3m (£3.6m with fees), more than doubling its high estimate.

To The Canvas, the Koons work never really felt right for this sale, and it wasn't surprising to see bidding stall when the artist's market has been a bit soft as of late. The decision by Christie's to include so many Bacon and Freud works (12 in all) did prove to pay off, with almost all finding buyers amongst healthy bidding (if not for necessarily high prices as most of the pieces were decidedly less desirable than Figure in Movement). 

Ultimately, the Christie's European Post-War & Contemporary department is probably engaging in a little Monday morning quarterbacking regarding the decision to include a number of high profile lots at such lofty estimates. Although, at a time when everyone is fighting tooth and nail for consignments, it's relatively unsurprising that the house agreed to the high estimates in a bid to keep themselves in the consigners' good graces. No one is suggesting that last night's disappointments are indicative of a broader rut in the market, and Christie's should be able to quietly offload the unsold works in private sales. 

However, at a time when Christie's has been touting the importance of its annual Frieze auction, it is a bit odd that the sale included such a broad mishmash of works, at such high prices, with so few third party guarantees to ensure success. When seemingly the entire art world is in town for Frieze, it makes sense to tout British artists (like Bacon and Freud) throughout the sale; and make that a selling point for the evening. But to then muddy the waters by making the Richter, Koons, and Grotjahn such high profile lots? Well, the results speak for themselves... 

Five Booths to See at Frieze London

Galerie Max Hetzler (Booth A10)

Sommer Contemporary Art (A21)

Salon 94 (Booth C5)

David Zwirner (Booth B3)

Simon Lee Gallery (Booth E6)

The Party Circuit

Ed Clark: A Survey- Opening Reception at Mnuchin Gallery
(Spotted: Thelma Golden, Anne Pasternak, Adam Weinberg, Ray Grist, and Sukanya Rajaratnam) 

Lee Ufan Opening Reception at Pace Gallery
(Spotted: Marc Glimcher, Lee Ufan, Samanthe Rubell, Zoya Fraulova, Anne Huntington, Valerie & Charles Diker, and Arne Glimcher) 

Perrotin New York Celebrates: Daniel Arsham & Johan Creten 
(Spotted: KAWS, Ronnie Feig, Daniel Arsham, Emmanuel Perrotin, Blue Lindeberg, and Alexandre De Betak)

Have any sales reports, gossip, news, or tips you'd like to share with The Canvas? Email us at to get in touch. And while you're at it, check out our Instagram for pics from Frieze London. 

Frieze London Preview Day Recap

Everybody Frieze 

Good evening from London and good afternoon to those of our readers back in New York. While we'll be delivering our recap of the first public day of Frieze and Frieze Masters tomorrow (combined with a recap of tonight's Christie's Post-War & Contemporary), here are some of the first banner sales being reported by dealers at both Frieze London and Frieze Masters. 

Works at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac:
George Baselitz for EUR 800,000 
Anton Gormley for GDP 350,000
Adrien Ghenie for GDP 200,000
Daniel Richter for EUR 185,000

Works at Andrew Kreps
Andrea Bowers for $85,000 

Works at David Kordansky Gallery
Sold out its selection of new paintings and sculptures by LA-based artist Calvin Marcus, selling in the range of $18,000 to $38,000

Works at David Zwirner
Toba Khedoori for $600,000
Two works by Carol Bove- one for $750,000 and one for $350,000
Suzan Frecon for $180,000
Bridget Riley for GDP 600,000
Rose Wylie for GDP 150,000
Lisa Yuskavage for $900,000 
Two works by Oscar Murillo- both for $280,000 each
William Eggleston for $65,000 
R, Crumb for $175,000 

Works at Salon 94
Marilyn Minter vintage work for $200,000 

Works at Timothy Taylor Gallery
Sold out its entire stand of new Eddie Martinez works priced between $30,000 to $95,000 a piece 

Works at Van de Weghe
Franz Kline for $8 million 

Works at Lévy Gorvy/Kamel Mennour (joint booth)
Four works by François Morellet all priced between EUR 250,000- EUR 350,000 a piece 

And of course, we always encourage you to subscribe to our monthly reports featuring in-depth conversations with the leading thought leaders and decision makers shaping the fine art industry. This month we talk with Paul Kasmin about the gallery's new Chelsea gallery space, and Katharine Arnold, Christie’s International Director, Head of Evening Sale, Post-War and Contemporary Art, EMERI, for an inside look at tonight's night’s sale. 

We’re also excited to announce that for our November edition we'll be talking to Frieze director, Victoria Siddall, for a wide ranging conversation touching on all three iterations of the fair (including what we can expect from the first Frieze LA). We’ll be speaking with Amalia Dayan and Daniella Luxembourg (of Luxembourg & Dayan) about how their small but powerhouse gallery has thrived amidst the increasing push for galleries to constantly grow larger. And we’ll be talking to all the relevant players at Christie’s and Sotheby’s for inside looks and previews of the November Post-War & Contemporary and Impressionist & Modern evening sales in New York taking place later that month. And as a cherry on top- Dominique Lévy will headline our December edition which will of course focus heavily on Art Basel Miami Beach and the requisite satellite fairs.

The Three Things People are Talking About

1. By now it should be abundantly clear that Kerry James Marshall is pissed and not afraid to show it. Even as David Zwirner opened its newest show of the current art market superstar in its Mayfair gallery space Tuesday night, it didn't go unnoticed that neither Zwirner nor Jack Shainman (who also represents the artist), didn't bring any of his works to Frieze London this year. As Shainman pointed out to Judd Tully in his recap of the first day of the fair for ArtNews, “Kerry’s been very good to us, but you can’t be harassing artists all the time for work.”

And then of course there was his interview with Sarah Douglas (also for ArtNews) wherein Marshall aired his grievances against the city of Chicago for choosing to sell a mural he created for a branch of the Chicago Public Library at Christie's in November for a price estimated to be between $10m-$15m. The pull quote from the piece? "The City of Big Shoulders has wrung every bit of value they could from the fruits of my labor.” That's quite a statement from one of the leading artists in today's contemporary art scene. And it's sure to continue to stir up debate about whether artists should somehow be better compensated when their works hit the secondary market for increasingly staggering sums. Check out Sarah's full piece on ArtNews when you get a chance to breathe between the parties in London tonight. 

2. Dmitry Rybolovlev's multi-pronged, international lawsuit against Yves Bouvier has finally made its way to New York. If you've been following this three year legal battle as it has been waged in Monaco, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bern and the canton of Geneva, then you know that Rybolovlev is alleging that Bouvier overcharged him on 38 pieces of art (including most notably, Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi) and is seeking to recoup about $1 billion in damages.

As Margaret Carrigan notes in her article for The Art Newspaper, this time around, Rybolovlev is taking aim at Sotheby's, alleging that the auction house "knowingly and intentionally bolstered the plaintiffs’ 'trust and confidence in Bouvier and rendered the whole edifice of fraud plausible and credible' by brokering certain sales and inflated valuations. The [complaint] implicate[s] members of Sotheby’s staff by name, such as Alexander Bell, the house’s co-chairman of Old Master paintings, and the vice chairman of worldwide private sales, Samuel Valette." While Sotheby's has already filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in Manhattan federal court, it should be interesting to see how this part of the battle plays out- especially since Rybolovlev has hired Daniel Walter Levy as his attorney, the co-lead counsel who spearheaded the investigation and prosecution against art dealer Glafira Rosales for the sale of more than $30 million of fake works of art sold by art gallery Knoedler & Co. that purported to be by artists, such as Jackson PollockWillem de Kooning, and Mark Rothko.

3. The Canvas loves lists. They're easy to read, fun to cross off, and provide an air of finality that is so often missed when reading through longer profiles. That is why we were so happy to see Artsy's Nate Freeman publish "The 25 Rising Power Players Who Will Run The Art Market" yesterday. The list includes some of our favorite people currently making waves in the art world including Josie Nash, Director at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, Alex Logsdail, Executive Director of Lisson Gallery, Katherine Lukacher, Associate Specialist and Head of Online Sales at Phillips New York, and Caspar Jopling, Associate in Sotheby's Corporate Development and Strategy department. The full list is definitely worth a read so head on over to Artsy and check it out. 


Five Booths to See at Frieze Masters

Pace (Booth C9)

Lévy Gorvy and Kamel Mennour Joint Booth (Booth C10)

Dickinson (Booth C4)

Hauser & Wirth (Booth D1)

Michael Hoppen Gallery (Booth G23)

The Party Circuit

Sotheby's Contemporary Curated Reception: Hosted by Swizz Beatz
(Spotted: Swizz Beatz, Alicia Keys, Sherry Bronfman, and Nicola Vassell) 

2018 High Line Art Dinner
(Spotted: Nari Ward, J. Tomilson Hill, Katya Kazakina, Cecelia Alemani, JiaJia Fei, Dustin Yellen, Sarah Sze, and Judith Bernstein) 

Opening Reception for "Everything is Connected- Art and Conspiracy 
(Spotted: Max Hollein, Alfredo Jaar, John Miller, David Nolan, Daniel Weiss, Edward Nahem, and Sheena Wagstaff)

Have any sales reports, gossip, news, or tips you'd like to share with The Canvas? Email us at to get in touch. And while you're at it, check out our Instagram for pics from Frieze London. 

Art Basel Recap- Sunday June 17th, 2018

School's Out for Summer

Art Basel is officially over and thus completes yet another segment of the seemingly perpetual international fair circuit. The general consensus this year seems to be that sales were up and collectors were in a buying mood, but don’t let that distract you from some of the more pressing issues facing the industry. 

As has become The Canvas’s customary end-of-fair tradition, we’ve put together a few thoughts and takeaways from this year’s iteration of Art Basel in Basel. We include warnings that we’re sure will go unheeded, suggestions that we’re positive won’t be taken seriously, and hot-takes that plenty of our readers will find controversial. To keep the conversation going- or offer your own thoughts and suggestions as to what we should cover- feel free to email us by simply replying to this email. We'll respond. Promise.  

If you can’t get enough of The Canvas’s bubbly and effervescent writing, then we encourage you to subscribe to our monthly reports which will next be published in mid-July and August, and feature more interviews and analysis with the decision makers leading the fine art industry. We value your support and $18 per month isn't too much to ask for a little wit and sass with your art industry news. We’re only just beginning to get our sea legs with these monthly reports, so please bear with us as we continue to add legitimately valuable offerings to the mix for our loyal subscribers- that’s you! (we hope). 

Until then The Canvas will be on a beach somewhere contemplating some of the truly important mysteries facing the art world today. How many miles do Marc Spiegler and Noah Horowitz really walk on a fair day? What’s it like to do shots of tequila with Paula Cooper? And what are Cooke and Jennifer’s dates like? Here’s to those questions and more in a universe that doesn't always provide the most satisfying of answers. 

1. First thing’s first- we have to come up with a nomenclature that we can all agree on. While those in the industry may intuitively know which gallery is a mid-sized player and which is more of a niche outfit, no substantive reforms can be instituted without having a very clearly defined taxonomy in place. The Canvas isn’t the first one to mention this. Art Basel’s Global Director, Marc Spiegler (amongst others) have repeatedly spoken to the difficulty of having larger galleries subsidize fair costs for smaller galleries when there’s disagreement as to what constitutes a large gallery vs a small one in the first place. Do we measure based on booth sizes at the fair? By number of employees worldwide? By the total value of sales derived over the course of the fair? It’s tricky, and probably more of an art than a science if we’re being realistic about things. But until such a classification system is more firmly set in place, no firm changes can take root. 

2. There were 78 galleries from New York spread out across all sectors at this year’s fair (out of a total of 290). With one of the most consistent refrains from dealers being that the ancillary costs of participating in a fair (as opposed to the booth costs themselves) are the biggest obstacles to profitability, The Canvas is shocked (and yet somehow not at all surprised) that more galleries aren’t pooling their resources to negotiate better deals from vendors. Why aren’t dealers working together to achieve better economies-of-scale for travel, hotel, shipping, insurance, security, and marketing costs? Rarely is there a use-case scenario more ripe for increased cooperation leading to better cost efficiencies. 


3. We would all love to believe that the 95,000 people who visit Art Basel each year are as dedicated to the curatorial themes of the various sections (Feature, Statements, Unlimited, etc…) as curators and fair organizers have intended. However, as is so often the case in this cruel, harsh world, those hopes would be belied by the pesky facts on the ground. As evidence continues to mount that a small percentage of top galleries are walking away with a disproportionate amount of the benefits from any given fair, it is unconscionable that fair organizers continue to segregate galleries in such a fashion. The Canvas understands that the layout of the Messeplatz lends itself to such shenanigans (as does the Park Avenue Armory’s second floor for the ADAA Art Show and TEFAF New York), but fair organizers need to resist such urges; whether they be motivated by legitimate curatorial purposes or by more capitalistic driven desire. Spread the love around and place smaller galleries next to the behemoths that so readily attract the free-spending collectors like moths to a light. 


4. While the poaching of artists and estates from one gallery to the next isn’t an art fair-specific problem, it is perhaps the most pervasive, pernicious, and urgent trend plaguing the gallery ecosystem today. And even though it has long been an undisputed byproduct of an intensely competitive, sometimes incestuous, and almost always unfair art world, the problem seems to be getting more pronounced; with the main perpetrators becoming increasingly bold. The latest such example was gallery heavyweight, David Zwirnerswooping in and stealing the Joan Mitchell estate away from Cheim & ReadPaula CooperSean Kelly, and Jerry Saltz all called out the act for what it was- a clear money grab that never would have passed muster if the artist were still alive. Debate the details all you want (and send The Canvas hate mail- we’re used to it at this point), but until there’s some sort of new policy put in place that discourages the mega-galleries from viewing their smaller counterparts as mere feeder systems meant to be plundered and pillaged at will, then we’ll continue to hear about the woes and struggles across the industry.

Art Basel Public Day Three  Saturday June 16th, 2018


Art Basel Winds Down

Good Saturday afternoon everyone! This edition of The Canvas was put together early Friday evening so if we've missed any breaking art news then we apologize. By now most of us are back in New York and enjoying the sunshine while Art Basel wraps up its last few days for a public audience. 

We obviously have some thoughts and takeaways on all the craziness of the past week and we'll of course be sharing those in tomorrow's final edition of The Canvas for Art Basel. Tomorrow's edition is the last until the September openings in New York, although we'll be publishing our new Canvas Monthly reports in mid-July and August. 

While we can't announce any names yet, our July report promises to be full of deep insights, analysis, and conversations with some of the leading figures in the art world. We've begun to firm up some of our interviews and they include one of the leaders at a prominent art PR/marketing firm, an art tax law specialist, and a few of the top dealers in the industry (no spoilers, but you definitely know them since they're often mentioned in the pages of The Canvas). We'll also include additional job listings for anyone looking to make a switch over the summer, and our in-depth and exclusive reporting on Interview Magazine (which due to the busy schedules of some of our sources, is taking longer to put together than we had initially anticipated). 

We're still offering 15% off to readers who subscribe through tomorrow and we politely encourage you to give us a chance and subscribe by clicking the link below. We'd also love to hear your feedback and suggestions regarding what you want to read about in our monthly reports. Let us know if there's someone in particular who you'd like us to interview, a different type of feature or angle you'd like us to explore, or something more we could offer to make the reports more valuable to you. We value our readers above all else and genuinely want to hear your feedback and suggestions. 

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The Three Things People are Talking About

1. Before there was Lévy Gorvy there was Dominique Lévy- the eponymous gallery and its pioneering namesake. Sitting for a profile with Elana Lyn Gross for Forbes 'Woman @Forbes' section, Lévy answered questions on the beginnings of her career, her mentors over the years, and Lévy Gorvy's plans for expansion in the years to come. She casually mentioned that the gallery "is in the process of forming satellite offices in strategic regions—we have already established offices in Zürich, Geneva and Shanghai—so that we can be very close to our clients and colleagues within their own communities. These new offices give our longstanding and new clients access to a peerless art advisory services." She also points to Marian Goodman (an "eminence of the field" in her words), Martha JacksonLeo CastelliPeggy Guggenheim, and Pierre Matisse as influential role models "because they understood that being a gallerist involves serving a cause higher than oneself, serving the larger culture and creating something to enrich lives beyond one's own generation." 

2Artsy's Nate Freeman penned an illuminating look into the nitty-gritty details of what exactly the costs are for galleries to participate in Art Basel. And even though The Canvas feels that the opening example in the piece is somewhat idiotic, the rest of the article offers valuable insights into the cost inefficiencies and profit margin struggles that smaller galleries face at many of the leading fairs around the world. After all, what kind of a psychopath would try and book a last minute suite at the Grand Hotel Trois Rois (total cost of $49,160 for the week) when he knows he's going to be exhibiting at the fair for at least six months prior? We're going to have more to say on this topic in tomorrow's final edition of The Canvas for Art Basel, but it's becoming glaringly obvious that the mega-galleries at the top end of spectrum reap an inordinate amount of the benefits from such a system- at least until some innovative suggestions are offered by those unafraid of shaking up the status quo. 

3. While Scott Reyburn's recent article in the New York Times about the "financialization" of art seems to The Canvas to be a hodgepodge laundry-list including such 'of-the-moment' topics as blockchain, the increasingprevalence of guarantees at auctionsdecentralized art galleries, and the "fractionalizing" of artworks for investment purposes, there are a few key takeaways worthy of any industry professional's consideration. The hard truths still remain that "the lack of liquidity and regulation, together with opacity, volatility, high transaction costs, cyclical trading patterns and a relatively small scale" all contribute to the difficulties in treating art as an asset class unto itself for investment purposes. However, as Evan Beardof U.S. Trust accurately notes, "None of our clients are buying art for investment. But they’re savvy with credit, and art is a capital asset". To that end, The Canvas highly recommends you check out Borro's offerings and services as they happen to be a leader in this particular field. 

A Word About Borro

Borro enables individuals with fine art to borrow against it with speed, privacy and impeccable service. With loan sizes starting at $20,000, clients can use the value of their artwork to take advantage of business opportunities, invest in real estate and relieve tax burdens and legal fees. Borro’s services are particularly helpful during fine art fairs and auctions as clients can leverage their existing collections for funds to acquire more artwork.


Five Gallery Shows to See in New York this Summer

Travelogue at Jack Shainman Gallery's The School in Kinderhook

JR's 'Horizontal' at Perrotin 

'The Mechanics of Fluids' Group Show at Marianne Boesky

Tim Gardner at 303 Gallery

Almost Solid Light: New Work from Mexico at Paul Kasmin Gallery


As Art Basel slowly winds down and we ease into the long, humid days of summer, the New York art world's party circuit begins to peter out- at least until its regulars meet up over cocktails at the Surf Lodge in Montauk. 

So we're going to take this chance and encourage you to head over to our Instagramaccount to continue to follow the action all summer long. It may not look like we've posted much yet, but slowly and surely we'll get there. 

Follow us here

Have any sales reports, gossip, news, or tips you'd like to share with The Canvas? Email us at to get in touch. And while you're at it, check out our Instagram for pics from Basel. 

Art Basel Public Day Two  Friday June 15th, 2018


The Private Jets May Leave But The Art Continues

Happy Friday afternoon to those us of who are back in New York, and a happy Friday evening to our readers still in Basel. The Canvas apologizes for the recent mixup with Vernissage vs public days- we're operating on very little sleep and the days have a habit of blurring together. We're also sending positive thoughts and energy to Roberta Smith of the New York Times who's recovering from a recent operation at Sloan Kettering and should be leaving the hospital today with her husband, Jerry Saltz in tow. (Editor's note- Jerry specifically tweeted about the recovery today- otherwise The Canvas would have refrained from mentioning it in today's email.) 

Sales reports are still trickling in from the Messeplatz with Lévy Gorvyannouncing the sale of a second Joan MitchellSyrtis, 1961 in the region of $7.5 million. Other sales include 303 Gallery's Doug Aitkenpiece, Future (2017) for $350,000, David Kordansky Gallery's Sam Gilliam’s 1971 work Repeat for $850,000, Marianne Boesky Gallery's Frank Stella painting, Red Star (2018), for $550,000, and another Joan Mitchell work, Red Tree (1976) at Cheim & Read for around $6 million. 

As the fair continues its transition from catering to a small group of serious collectors during the VIP days to ingratiating itself in the hearts and minds of a broader public audience over the weekend, it will be interesting to watch how the social media marketing strategies of Art Basel and its various exhibitors shift in tandem. 

And amid news that Team Gallery is beginning to offer works by Sam McKinniss and Ryan McGinley directly for sale on its Instagram (more on that below), here's an excerpt from our conversation with Brett Gorvyof Lévy Gorvy where he spoke to the viability of such a model for a gallery. 

Q: Amidst the talk of some of the financial pressures that younger or less established galleries are currently facing, do you feel that Instagram (and social media more broadly) can act as a valuable sales tool to combat those headwinds? 

A: I don’t necessarily buy into the idea that you’re going to create a direct marketplace around your Instagram. That I just don’t see. I mean, for all the times that a collector will reach out via Instagram, within two minutes or so I move the conversation to the telephone or email, or I’m meeting with them in person. 

However, Instagram has absolutely led directly to sales because it acts as a promotional tool for any given artwork. For instance, there was the Basquiat from a few years ago. In that case it let someone actually beat the rest of the market by allowing them to transpire time zones, and gave them an access point well beyond anyone else who was actually physically seeing the painting in person. It's about speed of information and being able to use that information very quickly to make a decision or at least take the first step. 

Was this email forwarded to you? Sign up here. And if you like the above excerpt from our conversation with Gorvy, sign up for our more in-depth monthly report here while we're still offering a 15% discount to readers who subscribe throughout Art Basel.

The Three Things People are Talking About

1. Amid all the talk recently of what fairs and mega-galleries can do to help the emerging and smaller galleries at the lower end of the market, Anna Louie Sussman explores what more collectors can do to help out. While some of the suggestions aren't particularly new or innovative (such as paying for works on time and visiting the gallery in person), the piece published today for Artsy does offer some novel ideas and approaches. Sussman specifically mentions the gallery, Dürst Britt & Mayhew who's founders "approached three collectors they knew for loans totalling €50,000 in exchange for deeper discounts on works by their artists". Other suggestions included picking up the artwork on time so that it doesn't languish in a storage facility, responding to gallery emails even if you're not particularly interested in the work being offered, and bringing your friends to fairs in order to widen the pool of potential collectors. 

2. As Sarah Cascone notes in a recent piece for Artnet, this year was the first in recent memory that Team Gallery didn't have a booth at Art Basel. Instead, the gallery and its owner, José Freire (who has been a vocal critic of art fairs in the past) has decided to opt out of the fair rat race and instead offer a number of artworks directly for sale via Instagram. The gallery has been placing sponsored posts on the social media platform for pieces including works by Sam McKinniss and Ryan McGinley priced at around the $15,000 range. While that's not exactly the type of Instagram marketing that The Canvas has advocated for in the past, it should be interesting to see if any other galleries explore using Instagram in a similar manner to spur direct sales. 

3. It's never a good sign when the difficulties facing the art market trickle their way into the mainstream press. So it should come as a disturbing omen that Reuters published a wire report yesterday (i.e an article syndicated across thousands of newspapers worldwide) talking about the increasingly "squeezed middle". Quoting market heavyweights such as Dominique LévySean Kelly, Marc Glimcher, and Claire McAndrew, author of the Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report, the piece talks about lighter foot traffic to galleries and rising fair costs as leading headwinds facing the middle spectrum of the market. While the article doesn't really offer any new perspective (especially to regular readers of The Canvas who are fully briefed on these issues), it does serve as a glaring harbinger of the problems plaguing the industry, and the unlikeliness that they're going away anytime soon. 

A Word About Borro

Borro enables individuals with fine art to borrow against it with speed, privacy and impeccable service. With loan sizes starting at $20,000, clients can use the value of their artwork to take advantage of business opportunities, invest in real estate and relieve tax burdens and legal fees. Borro’s services are particularly helpful during fine art fairs and auctions as clients can leverage their existing collections for funds to acquire more artwork.


Four Museum Shows Worth Seeing While in Basel

Bruce Nauman: Disappearing Acts at the Schaulager

Bacon-Giacometti at the Fondation Beyeler

Sam Gilliam: The Music of Color at the Kunstmuseum Basel

Theaster Gates: Black Madonna at the Kunstmuseum Basel


As Art Basel slowly winds down and we ease into the long, humid days of summer, the New York art world's party circuit begins to peter out- at least until its regulars meet up over cocktails at the Surf Lodge in Montauk. 

So we're going to take this chance and encourage you to head over to our Instagramaccount to continue to follow the action all summer long. It may not look like we've posted much yet, but slowly and surely we'll get there. 

Follow us here

Have any sales reports, gossip, news, or tips you'd like to share with The Canvas? Email us at to get in touch. And while you're at it, check out our Instagram for pics from Basel. 

Art Basel Vernissage Day Three Thursday June 14th, 2018


The Sales Continue 

Good Thursday evening to our readers in Basel and good afternoon to those of you in New York. Was this email forwarded to you? Sign up here. And if interested, sign up for our more in-depth monthly report here while we're still offering a 15% discount to readers who subscribe throughout Art Basel.

As the sales continue and the parties commence (we hear Perrotin's bash was a spectacular showcase of extravagance and debauchery as the gallery continues its transformation into a powerhouse institution meant to compete with the likes of Gagosian and Zwirner), the doors at the Messeplatz opened up today to a wider audience than the well-heeled collectors who stalked the aisles the past two days. 

There's been some talk lately regarding whether fairs should hew more closely to their roots of catering to serious collectors, or if they should broaden their offerings to reach a more diverse- and potentially less discerning- crowd. As Art Basel and Frieze continue to pump out content year-round and offer increasingly different types of programming, it's a question worth bearing in mind as you see the general public interact with the art over the weekend. Luckily for you, we asked Marc Spiegler this very question for our monthly report, and have included the back and forth below. But seriously- support The Canvas and sign up here

Q: There's been a kind of generalized debate over whether art fairs should try to hew more to their 'trade show' roots and be more focused on sales and the segment of the audience that attends fairs specifically to buy art, or whether to be more like "malls" (as Jerry Saltz memorably described it) and strive to appeal to as wide an audience as possible in order to open up art to new audiences and hopefully cultivate younger or newer buyers. Which strategy can we expect the Art Basel fairs to employ for future iterations? And why do you prefer to stick with that model?

Marc Spiegler: I don’t think these approaches are mutually exclusive. Art Basel serves the artworld and we serve the public in very different ways. We attract established collectors and at the same time are focused on bringing new collectors to the fair, because we see ourselves as a platform for gallerists to meet new collectors and form long-lasting relationships. In one year, we work with over 500 galleries across our show and therefore have very diverse clients with very diverse needs and try to respond to all of these.


The Three Things People are Talking About

1. There were perhaps no bigger winners from last month's round of auction sales than Kerry James Marshall, his dealers, Jack Shainman and David Zwirner, and the lucky patrons who have collected his work over the years. As The Canvas has previously reported, Sean Combs (i.e 'Diddy') was the purchaser of 'Past Times' for $21.1 million at Sotheby's; with Marshall telling The Art Newspaper afterward that the sale was "probably the first instance in the history of the art world, where a black person took part in a capital competition and won”. 

While The Canvas isn't quite sure what that means exactly, there is clearly no doubt that it was a historic moment for artists of color in general and for Kerry James Marshall's market in particular. As The Art Newspaper's Anny Shaw notes in its Basel daily coverage, both Zwirner and Shainman brought works by the artist to the fair this year, and both pieces were sold almost immediately (with both declining to reveal the selling prices due to the "sensitive nature" of pricing Marshall's work. Shaw also notes that David Zwirner's London gallery is planning an exhibition of new work by the artist in October to coincide with Frieze London. Read the full article for all the details.  

2Artsy published an inside look into Arcis, the new art storage facility in Harlem that's been marketing itself as "New York City’s first and only federally-designated Foreign Trade Zone". As Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, the author of the article notes, "The terms 'free port,' 'free trade zone', and 'foreign trade zone' are used interchangeably in the art world" and it's not entirely clear what tax advantages are to be gained by having such a facility in New York. 

While Arcis is outfitted with the latest technology in art storage and security apparatus, it appears that the "Foreign Trade Zone' moniker is more of a marketing gimmick than an actual cost advantage to its customers. As Abrahamian notes, "a tax-free anything sounds good to a certain clientele, even if the actual benefits are limited". The piece goes on to quote Crozierpresident Simon Hornby saying that "Crozier also consulted with advisors on the utility of an FTZ, and the benefits came up short. 'Art is not a dutiable good. There are no duties on art in the U.S".  

This is a long-read piece and one clearly worth the time for any serious collector or art market professional. Kudos to Abrahamian and the editorial team at Artsy for taking the necessary steps to shed a light on the dubious promises being made by the founders of Arcis. 

3. Everyone is talking about the Fondation Beyeler's recently announced 'The Early Picasso: Blue and Rose Period' exhibition; slated to open in February 2019 and already promising to be a blockbuster. The show is a joint venture of the Beyeler with the Musée Picasso and Musée d’Orsay in Paris, and will feature some of the artist's most well known works including the recently auctioned 'Fillette à la corbeille fleurie' which sold to the Nahmad family for $115 million as part of Christie's Rockefeller estate auction. Check out Andrew Russeth's article for Artnews for all the juicy details.  

A Word About Borro

Borro enables individuals with fine art to borrow against it with speed, privacy and impeccable service. With loan sizes starting at $20,000, clients can use the value of their artwork to take advantage of business opportunities, invest in real estate and relieve tax burdens and legal fees. Borro’s services are particularly helpful during fine art fairs and auctions as clients can leverage their existing collections for funds to acquire more artwork.

Four Satellite Fairs Worth Visiting in Basel

Volta Basel

Liste Art Fair

Design Miami

Frame Art Fair

Scope Basel (Skip it- it's just not worth it this year) 

The Party Circuit

The Met: Young Members Party (Spotted: Meri Goldstein, Michelle Coleman, Emma Barchi, and Shannon Mulholland) 

Glass House Summer Party (Spotted: Brooklyn Rider, Bill Sofield, Jae Joseph, Sarah Meyohas, and Christa Carr) 

Arthemisia Presents ESCHER: The Exhibition & Experience (Spotted: Mark Veldhuysen, Rock Walker, and Hannah Gottlieb-Graham) 

Have any sales reports, gossip, news, or tips you'd like to share with The Canvas? Email us at to get in touch. And while you're at it, check out our Instagram for pics from Basel. 


Art Basel VIP Preview Day Two Wednesday June 13th, 2018



News From The Messeplatz

It's clearly a weird time for the art market. Amid numerous reports of eight figure sales spread out across multiple galleries (more on that below), the steady drumbeat of concern continues for the very foundations upon which our industry is built.

In a blockbuster interview clearly timed for maximum impact to coincide with Art Basel's opening day, Paula Cooper, Sean Kelly, Elyse Derosia (co-founder of Bodega and current board president of NADA), and Bridget Donahue participated in a roundtable discussion with M.H. Miller for the New York Times' T Magazine. They lay bare some of their concerns for their individual galleries, reminisce on the past, and share a few fiery thoughts on a certain estate that recently migrated from Cheim & Read to David Zwirner

We'll have more on that conversation further down in this email, but suffice it to say that these are exactly the type of discussions that we're trying to foster with The Canvas Monthly. We'll hopefully be able to announce our July interviewees/essayists soon- and trust us, they're going to be awesome and feature some of the key decision-makers in the industry talking about the relevant and meaningful trends we're all facing. 

In the meantime, please consider subscribing to receive our inaugural reportwith Marc SpieglerSean Kelly, and Brett Gorvy in which they touch upon many of the same topics as the T Magazine discussion. We're currently offering a 15% discount on all new subscriptions through the duration of Art Basel (for a limited number of readers). Help support the continued publication of The Canvas which you know deep down you've come to love and appreciate during every major fair and auction week.    

And now on to the sales: 

Joan MitchellComposition (1969) for $14 million at Hauser & Wirth

Joan MitchellUntitled (1959) priced at $14 million at Lévy Gorvy

Carmen HerreraArco (2018) for $550,000 at Lisson Gallery

Stanley Whitney, Untitled (1999) for $400,000 at Lisson Gallery 

Vija CelminsUntitled (Knife and Dish) (1964) for $1.2 million at Matthew Marks Gallery

Louise BourgeoisThe Three Graces (1947) for $4.75 million at Hauser & Wirth

Alina SzapocznikowAuto Portrait (1967) for $600,000 at Hauser & Wirth 

Kara WalkerAnother Ancestor (2010) for $125,000 at Sprüth Magers

John BaldessariFour Types of Balance (with Basketballs) (1990) for $550,000 at Sprüth Magers

Robert LongoDeath Start II (2017/2018) for $1.5 million at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac

Robert RauschenbergRuby Re-Run (Spread) (1978) for $1.45 million at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac

David HockneyChrysanthemums (1996) for $2.5 million at Pace Gallery

Paul McCarthyCSSC Luncheon on the Grass (2015-18) for $1.5 million at Xavier Hufkens

George CondoPortrait of an English Lady (2008) for $1.3 million at Xavier Hufkens 

For more detailed reporting on the ins and outs of the sales, make sure to check out Judd Tully's coverage for ArtNews and Nate Freeman's recap for Artsy


The Three Things People are Talking About

1. There's a lot to unpack in the New York Times T Magazine discussion with Paula Cooper, Sean Kelly, Elyse Derosia, and Bridget Donahue. The mix of veteran and young dealers touch on everything from rent prices for New York based galleries to whether fairs should admit galleries with no physical presence at all. They opine on the increased use of PR firms to drum up excitement for new shows and kibitz on the increasing exhibiting costs at the major fairs. 

However, the most impactful part for The Canvas was when Paula Cooper, the 80 year old doyenne of the Chelsea gallery scene- who's eponymous gallery is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year- let loose on David Zwirner for stealing the Joan Mitchell estate away from Cheim & Read. "It’s about a lack of civility. It’s about ruthlessness" she said, referring to the recent comments by Christa Blatchford, the chief executive officer of the Joan Mitchell Foundation when she was quoted in the New York Times as saying the move was about "the level of scholarship". Sean Kelly seemed to concur, saying that "It’s about venality. It’s about greed". 

The Canvas cannot even begin to impress upon our readers how often we're hearing about the poaching of an artist or estate by one of the mega-galleries as one of the main obstacles small and mid-size galleries are facing in today's market. Marc Spiegler mentioned it in our conversations with himTim Schneider has talked about it frequently in his recent articles for Artnet, and multiple dealers have brought it up with The Canvas in private conversations. Far be it for us to offer a definitive remedy to such a capitalistically-driven trend, however, it is becoming increasingly clear that this- perhaps even more than the prohibitive costs of fairs- is the single biggest headwind the gallery ecosystem is facing.  

2. Writing for Art Agency, Partners' 'In Other Words' newsletter, Bernard Lagrange takes a deep dive into the effects that solo exhibitions at major museums have on prices for an artist’s market. The piece is thoughtful, insightful, and filled with market-wide and artist-specific statistics and analysis. However, the part of the article that resonated most with The Canvas was in the 'Rumors vs. Reality' section. "People expect exhibitions to both boost prices and increase the supply of works, so are more inclined to sell or buy once a major show has been announced. This causes the market to rise. Then, after a show, things level out, for a number of reasons".

The piece's conclusion that "When the venue is right + when an exhibition is staged at the right moment + when the market is neither flooded or deprived of supply + when the curation provides clarity + when an artists’ reputation is either forged or revitalized = the possibility that exhibitions can lead to tangible increases in an artist’s market" may seem self-explanatory, but trust us- it's 100% worth the full read. 

3. One fun thing- The New York Times takes a delightful look into the process the Metropolitan Museum of Art had to go through each night while Ocean's 8 was filming in the museum for three weeks in 2017. The article profiles Rebecca Schear, the 33 year old senior production manager at the museum, and her daily fight to safeguard the priceless works of art from the film's equipment and crew who got to wander the halls of the museum at night in between takes of shooting for the movie. 

A Word About Borro

Borro enables individuals with fine art to borrow against it with speed, privacy and impeccable service. With loan sizes starting at $20,000, clients can use the value of their artwork to take advantage of business opportunities, invest in real estate and relieve tax burdens and legal fees. Borro’s services are particularly helpful during fine art fairs and auctions as clients can leverage their existing collections for funds to acquire more artwork.

Five More Booths to See at Art Basel

Sprüth Magers (Booth B15)

Gavin Brown's enterprise (Booth S2)

Acquavella Galleries (Booth G2)

Matthew Marks Gallery (Booth A11)

Sean Kelly (Booth R2)

The Party Circuit

The Whitney Gala (Spotted: Nigel Barker, Sarah Hoover, Lorna Simpson, and Adam Weinberg) 

The Whitney Museum Studio Party (Spotted: Hailey Baldwin, Jemima Kirke, Thelma Golden, Sam McKinniss, Ruby Aldridge, Jiajia Fei, and Young Paris)

ICI's 2nd Annual Independents Spring Benefit (Spotted: Patton Hindle, Josephine Nash, Sam Moyer, and Lauren Kelly) 

Have any sales reports, gossip, news, or tips you'd like to share with The Canvas? Email us at to get in touch. And while you're at it, check out our Instagram for pics from Basel. 

Art Basel VIP Preview Day One Tuesday June 11th, 2018


Art Basel VIP Preview Day One
Tuesday June 11th, 2018

So It Begins 

Good evening and welcome to Basel. Whether you got here via plane, train, or chauffeured car, you can now take a deep breath, a long sip of Champagne, and relax. The artworks made it to the Messeplatz without incident (or at least we hope so for your sake). The headaches of international travel are behind you. And ideally your funds have cleared, and you can go on the buying spree you've been dreaming about since the lack of working air conditioning at Frieze sent you packing early (more on that later).

We'll be providing coverage throughout the week, and due to the time difference between Switzerland and New York, we'll be aiming to get The Canvas into your inbox at a time that's both convenient for those of us at the fair, as well as our readers back in New York. So figure around dinner time in Basel and lunch time in the city. And if you're looking for a bit of a longer read, feel free to sign up for our new monthly report featuring interviews with Brett Gorvy, Marc Spiegler, and Sean Kelly.  

Subscribe to The Canvas Monthly Here

The Three Things People are Talking About

1. By now you've already heard about Chicago gallery, Shane Campbell's, $15 million lawsuit against Frieze for the complete meltdown (pun intended) of the fair's air-conditioning system on Randall's Island last month. You're also of course aware that Frieze emailed all participating galleries the day before to offer a refund of up to ten percent because of the debacle. Eileen Kinsella of Artnet has the full scoop on the lawsuit which you can read about here. But if you'll allow The Canvas the opportunity to weigh in for a brief moment, we'd appreciate it (and so we suspect will you). 

Both the organizers of Frieze and Shane Campbell should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this 'family matter' unique to the industry to spill out to the general public and press. The Powers-That-Be at Frieze should have written a much more meaningful apology and offered to refund the galleries at least twenty percent of the exhibiting costs- not the relatively paltry "up to ten percent" that is currently being offered. Additionally, they should come out and very publicly state that they're parting ways with their tent vendor and will make a greater effort to provide a comfortable and weather-resistent atmosphere in the years to come. As Kinsella rightfully points out in her article- this isn't the first year where there were weather related issues. It's time to admit fault, apologize, attempt to make a reasonable offer of restitution to those galleries effected, and promise that it won't ever happen again. 

Meanwhile, the Shane Campbell Gallery should just be embarrassed by their actions. A splashy $15 million lawsuit seeking class action status won't fool anyone. Are we really supposed to believe that a gallery who most collectors outside of Chicago haven't heard of, was really that greatly effected by the lack of air conditioning at the fair ? Even when factoring in potential punitive damages, this lawsuit reeks of a publicity stunt. What exactly is the end goal here? The gallery/fair/collector community is a relatively small one. Do they really want to become known for being the gallery that no one will work with again because they made such a big stink about the lack of air conditioning? Don't get us wrong- it was brutally and offensively hot in the tent. But someone should really sit the gallery down and explain the potential ramifications of their actions. 

2. Everyone is talking about Joan Mitchell. The Abstract Expressionist artist who passed away in 1992 is clearly having a moment as Katya Kazakina rightfully notes in his piece for Bloomberg. Between David Zwirner taking on representation of the estate, a number of her works surpassing their estimates at auction a few weeks ago, and at least nine of her paintings (estimated to top $70 million) being brought to Basel this week, there's a strong chance that 2018 will turn out to be a definitive year for the Joan Mitchell market. 

3. One fun thing: The New York art world is abuzz with the news that Gladstone Gallery's very own Cooke Maroney is dating Oscar-winning actress, Jennifer Lawrence. Page Six was the first to dish on the story and we couldn't be happier for the 'It' couple. Is it wrong for us to hope that we'll see her at the next opening? Probably, but who really cares? 

A Word About Borro

Borro enables individuals with fine art to borrow against it with speed, privacy and impeccable service. With loan sizes starting at $20,000, clients can use the value of their artwork to take advantage of business opportunities, invest in real estate and relieve tax burdens and legal fees. Borro’s services are particularly helpful during fine art fairs and auctions as clients can leverage their existing collections for funds to acquire more artwork.


Five Booths to See at Art Basel

Galerie 1900-2000 (Booth H6)

Van de Weghe Fine Art (Booth G11)

Dvir Gallery (Booth P9)

Bergamin & Gomide (Booth D1)

Galerie Max Hetzler (Booth B10)

The Party Circuit

The Museum of Modern Art's Party in the Garden (Spotted: Constance Jablonski, Marina Abramovic, Henry Kravis, Alex Poots, Anne Pasternak, Jeff Koons, Wes Gordon, and KAWS)

The Frick Collection: Spring Garden Party (Spotted: Larry and Toby Milstein, Kellyanna Polk, and Amory McAndrew

Architectural Digest & Sotheby's Celebrates Fort Street Studio (Spotted: Amy Astley, Billy Cotton, Brad Davis, Janis Provisor, and Matt McKay)

Have any sales reports, gossip, news, or tips you'd like to share with The Canvas? Email us at to get in touch. And while you're at it, check out our Instagram for pics from Basel. 


Christie's and Phillips Contemporary Art Evening Sales

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Programming...


The Canvas launched one year ago in May of 2017 to coincide with Frieze New York. Since then, we've published throughout the weeks of the major fairs and auction sales around the world, have grown to almost 14,000 subscribers (including some of the biggest collectors and dealers in the world), and have strived to stay true to our core mission of bringing our readers the most relevant art industry news in an engaging (and somewhat saucy) format. 

As we head into our second year, we will continue to publish during the major fairs and auctions as we feel that those weeks are when the highest concentration of art world news is taking place. Ideally (and somewhat selfishly) we would also like The Canvas to actually bring in money as well.So if you're a gallery looking to promote a show or booth at an upcoming fair, a museum looking to advertise an exhibition or blockbuster retrospective, or a brand with a product or service relevant to the fine art industry, then by all means please get in touch with us.    

In that vain though- and as we mentioned in yesterday's edition of The Canvas- we're strongly considering launching a paid subscription offering as well. Many of you voted in our poll and the response was overwhelmingly positive. We can't begin to put into words how much our hearts were warmed by this reaction. But before we jump in head first like Steve Wynn starting a second career as an art dealer (Come again?), we would very much appreciate it if we could have more of our readers take part in the anonymous poll below and share their valued opinion. 

The paid subscription offering would be aimed at our readers who work in the industry and are looking for substantive news and analysis of the trends sweeping the art world on a monthly basis. It would consist of a monthly report (we're thinking about ten pages long) of highly detailed sales information, news about artist and estate representations, the latest trends in marketing for the industry, leading fair, auction, and exhibition practices, exclusive job listings, and would feature guest writers from some of the top galleries, fairs, auction houses, PR firms, and collectors in New York, London, and LA. You'd recognize the names- we promise. It would still be written in the same fun, sassy tone as the rest of The Canvas's coverage but would be aimed at readers looking for more substantive and detailed analysis of what's working (and not working) in the industry and what your competitors are up to and thinking on a month-to-month basis. 

It would cost approximately $20 per month (billed monthly or annually at a discount) and is squarely aimed at our many readers who work at galleries, auction houses, fairs, PR firms, and art advisory companies. We would really appreciate you taking the five seconds or so to click the 'yes' or 'no' buttons (we think they're pretty self-explanatory) to let us know if you'd be interested in what we detailed above. And feel free to email us at if you'd like to share specific thoughts and feedback on this new idea or be involved in any way. 

Please take a moment and let us know if you'd be interested in such an offering. We'd genuinely appreciate hearing from you. 

YES              NO


"Alex, are you texting?"

That question was posed by Christie’s global president and auctioneer for last night's sale, Jussi Pylkkanen, to Alex Rotter, co-chairman of Christie’s postwar and contemporary art department amidst lively bidding for Francois-Xavier Lalanne's The Mayersdorff Bar which ended up selling for $4.57 million (against an estimate of $2.2 million–$2.8 million). Indeed he was texting. And The Canvas has a lot to say on the matter in the section below. But first we'll begin with some of the other highlights from the salesrooms at Christie's and Phillips last night. 

In what is surely a good sign for David Zwirner and his behemoth of a gallery which recently took on exclusive representation of the artist's foundation, Joan Mitchell’s Blueberry sold for a record smashing $16.6 million (against an estimate of $5 million–$7 million).

Brett Gorvy (of increasingly powerhouse gallery, Lévy Gorvy) walked away with Steve Wynn's Andy Warhol, Double Elvis (Ferus Type) for the cool price of $37 million on behalf of a private buyer. Gorvy seemed to be everywhere this week; having already purchased the Malevich work, Suprematist Composition for $85.8 million at Christie's Impressionist & Modern sale Tuesday evening, and was locked in a bidding war with (and ultimately prevailing against) his gallery partner, Dominique Levy for Richard Diebenkorn's Ocean Park #126 which ended up selling for $23.9 million (against an estimate of $16 million- $20 million). 

The top sale of the evening was Francis Bacon’s Study for Portrait which was the subject of intense bidding from three phone bidders and ended up selling to Renato Pennisi's bidder for $49.8 million (against an estimate on request in the range of $30 million). 

Overall the evening was a success for Christie's, even though the sale lacked some of the buzz and sparks from the previous night at arch-rival Sotheby'sJussi Pylkkanen led the evening with his usual charm and wit (and an increasingly evident sense of self-awareness) and should be lauded for steering the room through a night that could have easily gone much worse due to the withdrawn Picasso from Steve Wynn's collection. Ultimately the sale brought in a strong $397.1 million with a buy-in rate by lot of 9% (six out of the 64 lots on offer failed to sell) and set auction records for seven artists. 

The scene over at Phillips was slightly more uneven. Two works by Gerhard Richter and Sigmar Polke failed to sell (both were estimated to go for $12 million- $18 million) and were like massive bursts of oxygen being sucked out of the room when they were passed. Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Flexible was the top lot of the evening and sold for an impressive $45.3 million (against an estimate of $20 million- $30 million) with Jeffrey Deitch rumored to be the underbidder. 

All in all the night was a success for the perennially third place auction house. The sale totaled $131.6 million and only three out of the 36 lots failed to sell- although the two works The Canvas mentioned above left gaping holes in the night's proceedings. Ultimately The Canvas feels that Phillips could have faired better if the specialists and their marketing department took a page or two out of the play-books of its more established rivals, and had done a better job of contextualizing certain works in order to increase demand (like the Kerry James Marshall work, Untitled, (Blanket Couple) which sold for $4.34 million). And of course, The Canvas has more to say on this subject in the section below. 

In the meantime, check out the recaps of the Christie's auction from Judd Tully for ArtNewsEileen Kinsella for Artnet, and Scott Reyburn for the New York Times. Sarah Hanson and Gabriella Angeleti produced joint coverage for The Art Newspaper of the Christie's and Phillips sales. And Annie Armstrong wrote the coverage of the Phillips sale for ArtNews. 

The Canvas's Three Major Takeaways 

1Alex Rotter was indeed communicating with a bidder via text. And while The Canvas doesn't know who the bidder was- and wouldn't necessarily bet our own money on his or her identity- we would bet a large portion of some of Larry Gagosian's money that he or she was relatively young. Rotter and Loic Gouzer (or 'The Bad Boys of Christie's' as they're affectionately referred to by The Canvas) have done a superb job in cultivating younger buyers in their thirties and forties over the last few years. Their competitors at Sotheby's and Phillips (and even in-house at Christie's) should all take note and look to them as examples of how to best reach an increasingly young buyer pool.

They adroitly use Instagram to give people a glimpse into their lives and showcase works that are coming up for sale. They've developed personas that are easily recognizable to prospective collectors and make them feel comfortable enough to trust their advice and help navigate them through waters that are thoroughly unfamiliar to all but the most experienced of buyers. And while for the foreseeable future there will still be plenty of old-school septuagenarian and octogenarian collectors to sell to, the three major auction houses (and the galleries and fairs for that matter) should all place a priority in appealing to younger collectors who might soon be inheriting the estates of their parents.

Think about Brett Gorvy- arguably the biggest winner of this past week. Before decamping from Christie's in 2016 to partner with Dominique Levy, he had built up a huge following on Instagram (now numbering approximately 95,000) and uses his account to showcase works of art (often with a musical or poetic captions) to his avid following. Whether any of his big-ticket sales has stemmed directly from his savvy use of social media or not (and we hope to ask him soon), it's hard to argue with his recent success. 

2. There were rumblings that last night's sale at Christie's seemed to have noticeably less buzz than the prior night at Sotheby's. The Canvas feels that much of the excitement in the salesroom Wednesday night stemmed from the donation of five works of art from artists of color to help benefit The Studio Museum in Harlem's building campaign. The lots were stacked at the beginning of the sale (after the Mandel collection was offered separately beforehand) and many of those pieces sparked the fiercest bidding.

Between those works and the Kerry James Marshall painting that sold for approximately $21million later in the evening, you could practically feel the realignment of historically under-appreciated African American artists taking place within the room. Of course, it didn't hurt to have Thelma GoldenSwizz Beatz, and other notable names (did we spot Leo?) interspersed throughout the crowd to help lend the evening a feeling of excitement and exhilaration. Perhaps including a popular charity component and courting additional celebrities to attend in person can be a strategy replicated by all three houses in the future?  

3. There is no excuse for Christie's not to provide multiple camera angles through its online video portable to viewers who want to watch the sale from the comfort of their own homes (as The Canvas did last night). Both Sotheby's and Phillips pivot between viewing the auctioneer, the various specialists working the phones, and a wide angle view of the room as a whole, and there's no excuse for Christie's not engaging in the same practice as well (especially since they're already filming the sale with multiple cameras anyway). 

As The Canvas mentioned above, everyone in the business of selling art needs to do a better job of reaching younger buyers. Making the sales viewable to wider audiences (and truly biddable in real-time) should be a priority as well. The best auctioneers this past week were the ones who brought joy, humor, wit, and a dry self-awarness to the sales. Auctions are entertaining to watch; replete with all the drama, disappointments, and staggering sums of money that could very easily capture people's attention. All three auction houses need to do a better job of injecting the night with more narrative storytelling. Contextualize the lots on offer and why they're important works in and of themselves. Christie's and Sotheby's does a better job of this with their video programs than Phillips does, but there's room for improvement all around. 

Five Final Gallery Shows to See This Week

Oscar Tuazon at Luhring Augustine

Matthew Brannon at Casey Kaplan

Lucy Skaer at Peter Freeman, Inc

Jorinde Voigt at David Nolan Gallery  

TOMÁS SARACENO at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery


The Canvas's New Instagram

The Canvas promises to bring you the all the glitz and glamor from the international party circuit when we resume publishing throughout the week of Art Basel. 

Until then, we highly encourage you to follow us on our newly launched Instagram account for insider access to the New York art world. We'll be posting pictures of some of the art that has sold over the last week (along with the sales price), videos and pictures from the shows we're seeing before we head to the Continent, and other wry observations on the news in this crazy industry we work in (Again, Steve Wynn is starting a gallery?!?).

We invite you to follow our Instagram account here.