Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Sale

"I Don't Need to Tell You How Great This Is"

Those were the words uttered by Sotheby's Oliver Barker to David Zwirner just before he brought the gavel down on Kerry James Marshall'spainting, "Past Timesfor a record breaking $21.1 million (blowing past its initial $8 million estimate). And while the words were clearly meant to invoke the historical importance of a new record being set for for any work by a living African-American artist (and because Zwirner shows Marshall's work), they can also be applied to the night as a whole. 

In a delightfully stark contrast to the sepulchral tone of the house's Impressionist & Modern art sale a few nights prior, Sotheby's experienced a resounding success for its Contemporary art evening sale last night. With the sale of the collection of Morton and Barbara Mandel taking place directly before and achieving White Glove status (100% of the lots sold), there was a tremendous amount of momentum leading into the main attractions for the night.

The first five paintings of the main sale were all donated by artists to benefit the new Studio Museum in Harlem building designed by Sir David Adjaye. Thelma Golden was in the room and the general consensus was that she's just as much of a celebrity as Swizz Beatz who ended up winning Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s painting, "An Assistance of Amberfor $550,000 (all prices include the buyer's premium). Tantalizingly, he told Artsy's Nate Freeman that the KJM was “going to my friend’s house.” And as Sarah Hanson (of The Art Newspaper) noted, "before the sale Brett Gorvy, the co-founder of Lévy Gorvy gallery, had posted a photo on Instagram of the rapper P. Diddy 'looking carefully' at Marshall's Past Time and Jean-Michel Basquiat's Flesh and Spirit. 'Good luck, Mr Diddy' Gorvy wrote, leading to speculation that the rapper may have been bidding." 

Barker did a superb job throughout the evening; expertly leading the sale at a brisk and efficient pace, while soliciting interest from multiple bidders both in the room and on the phones. It was clearly a savvy choice to allow bidding in increments as small as $25,000 on some lots as it kept the momentum flowing from one artwork to the next. Also proving to be a smart choice was the collective decision by the Contemporary department to keep the estimates on the relatively low side, thereby beating expectations on a number of lots. There was repeated applause throughout the evening (although a fair amount seemed to be initiated by the Sotheby's specialists themselves) proving that it's less about the price of any given work that spurs such reactions, and more about an appreciation for sustained, deep interest by multiple parties engaged in a bidding war that's representative of- and endemic to- a healthy market.

The night wasn't without some missteps though, and The Canvas would be remiss not to mention them. Last year's record breaking sale of Jean-Michel Basquiat's "Untitled" from 1982 that sold to Yusaku Maezawa for $110.48 million is proving more and more to be a bizarre aberration rather than a sustained trend for the artist's market. The Basquiat on offer last night (from the estate of the late Dolores Ormandy Neumann) sold to relatively little interest for $30.7 million. And while it did have some minor legal issues in its provenance (which The Canvas told you about during Frieze), other Basquiats have been sold at the November auctions and at Art Basel Miami Beach and Art Basel Hong Kong, with none having reached anywhere near the stratospheric levels of last year's May sale. And even though Maezawa's Basquiat is historically important and visually stimulating (that eye-popping blue is to die for), it's hard to argue that its price was justified. 

Overall though, the night was an undisputed success. The two sales (the Mandel collection and the full Contemporary sale) netted a total of $391 million overall (including fees and premiums). And of the 75 lots on offer (after the withdrawal of a Wesselmann work) 72 found buyers. In addition to Sarah Hanson's recap for The Art Newspaper above, Judd Tully has his usual thorough recap for ArtNewsEileen Kinsella and Tim Schneider teamed up for their play-by-play for Artnet, and Scott Reyburn has a full report for the New York Times

All are worth the read in order to hear about the 1969 Mark Rothko that sold for $18.8 million (against an estimate of $7 million–$10 million), David Hockney's "Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monicawhich sold for $28.4 million (against an estimate of $20-30 million), Mark Bradford's"Speak, Birdman" selling for $6.8 million (against an estimate of $2 million–$3 million), and Jackson Pollock's "Number 32, 1949" which sold for $34 million (against an estimate of $30 million–$40 million). 


Something We've Been Thinking About


We at The Canvas are strongly considering launching a subscription offering aimed at our readers who are looking for substantive news and analysis of the industry and market on a monthly basis. 

The monthly report would be in addition to our fair and auction coverage that takes place throughout the year and would feature guest writers from leading galleries, fairs, auction houses, PR firms, and collectors. You'd recognize the names- we promise. 

It would still be written in the same fun, sassy tone as the rest of The Canvas (we you know you love us), but would place a greater emphasis on the trends shaping the market, the marketing techniques being used to great effect, exclusive job listings, and more detailed analysis of the sales and changes in artist representation taking place throughout the year. 

It wouldn't be meant to replace the Art Basel or TEFAF art market reports as we obviously can't compete with the breadth and depth of their analysis. However, we'd be aiming to provide a more on-the-ground and readily available account of what's going on in the New York art world from month to month. 

It would cost approximately $20 per month and would be aimed at those of our readers who are reading this email on their phones before the auctions tonight, or over lunch at their desk in Christie's, Sotheby's, Phillips, or one of the many galleries scattered throughout the city (or those of you in other cities who have a stake in the success of the art market in New York). 

Click below to tell us if you're interested. 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. 

Would you be interested in such an offering? Click below to let us know. Fingers crossed... 



Five Museum Shows to See This Week


They may all be obvious choices, but they're 'duh' inducing for a reason. Take a break from the gallery hopping and explore the exhibitions that regular New Yorkers (if there are such a thing) are talking about. 

Zoe Leonard: Survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art

Chaim Soutine: Flesh at The Jewish Museum

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination at The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute

"David Bowie is" at the Brooklyn Museum

Brancusi at the Guggenheim 


The Canvas's New Instagram

While The Canvas normally brings you snapshots from the New York art world's never-ending party circuit in this section, today we're again encouraging you to follow us on our new Instagram account. 

We know that there aren't a lot of posts yet, but we promise that before you can blink an eye and rip a hole in a priceless Picasso, there will be plenty to like, share, and comment on. Have a little faith, if you've come to like your art market news with a little sass (and let's be honest, who hasn't?), then you'll love what we'll be posting to our Instagram in the weeks and months to come

Follow us here

Christie's Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

That's More Like It

The Canvas loves the way Adrien Meyer says "Loic Gouzer" from the rostrum. He coos it gently off the tongue but infuses it with a mischievous smile when accompanying the name with the current bidding price of any given lot. Indeed, the Christie's Co-Chairman of the Impressionist and Modern art department led last night's sale to a resounding success; while remaining supremely cool throughout, and looking genuinely happy to be leading the proceedings. It was a marked change of tone from the preceding night's frustrations at arch-rival Sotheby's. 

Of course, he had plenty to be happy about seeing as last night's sale saw only four passed lots (for a buy-in rate of 11%), set two artist records, and brought in a total of $415.8 million (with fees)- besting last year's May sale by nearly 50%. 

Even without Picasso's "Le Marin", which was pulled from the auction after it was damaged over the weekend viewing at Christie’s Rockefeller Center headquarters, the sale was an undisputed success and a shot of adrenaline to the market after Sotheby's bitterly disappointing Monday night sale. There was robust bidding from multiple parties throughout the night with Brett Gorvy of Lévy Gorvy winning the Kazimir Malevich painting "Suprematist Composition" for $85.8 million, and Loic Gouzer nabbing the Brancusibronze "La jeune fille sophistiquee (Portrait de Nancy Cunard)for $71 million on behalf of an anonymous phone bidder.  

Judd Tully captures the play-by-play of the room beautifully for his recap for ArtNews, and Tim Schneider's piece for Artnet is definitely worth a read as well.

For now, let The Canvas leave you- our loyal readers- with this not-so-provoking thought: The success of last night's sale had everything to do with there being interest from multiple buyers for almost every lot on offer. This injected the night with a continuing wave of momentum that rolled over from one artwork to the next. There was excitement in the room and it felt like an actual auction; with buyers heatedly contesting one another for the right to own the art at hand.

If the Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern department can only manage to eek out one or two bidders for many of their pieces (as was the case for a disturbing amount of their lots Monday evening) then what's the point of having an open auction at all? Give the consignments to Allan Schwartzman and Amy Cappellazzo and let them try and arrange a private sale. After all, based on Sotheby's most recent earnings report,private sales seem to be the one area in which the 274 year old firm can consistently beat its rival...

Five More Gallery Shows to See This Week

Jordan Wolfson at David Zwirner (533 West 19th Street)

John Baldessari at Marian Goodman Gallery

Allen Jones at Marlborough Contemporary

Dan Colen at Levy Gorvy

John Latham at Lisson Gallery (504 West 24th Street)

The Canvas's New Instagram

While The Canvas normally brings you snapshots from the New York art world's never-ending party circuit in this section, today we're encouraging you to follow us on our new Instagram account. 

We know that there aren't a lot of posts yet, but we promise that before you can blink an eye and rip a hole in a priceless Picasso, there will be plenty to like, share, and comment on. Have a little faith, if you've come to like your art market news with a little sass (and let's be honest, who hasn't?), then you'll love what we'll be posting to our Instagram. 

Follow us here  

Sotheby's Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale


That Was Disappointing 

While The Canvas will provide a more detailed analysis as the sales continue throughout the week, it goes without saying that last night's Impressionist & Modern art evening sale at Sotheby's was rather disappointing. Thirteen of the 45 lots offered in the sale failed to find buyers. And the undisputed (and much talked about) Modigliani nude, "Nu couche (sur la cote gauche)sold to a lone phone bidder for $139 million ($157 million with the buyer's premium)- who sources say was the third-party guarantor for the work. Despite that being an astonishing sum and the fourth most expensive work ever sold at auction, the general feeling in the room was one of muted disappointment. 

Even though other works like Picasso's "Le Reposand Georgia O'Keeffe's "Lake George With White Birchsold for $36.9 million and $11.3 million respectively, it was clear that Sotheby's did a poor job in eliciting sufficient interest for the sale as a whole and the Modigliani in particular. 

The Canvas highly recommends Judd Tully's play-by-play for ArtNews (we've missed you Judd), and Eileen Kinsella's recap for Artnet for more detailed takes on last night's sale. In the meantime, check out and follow our new Instagram account for pictures, sales information, and news from the sales taking place throughout the week. 

The Three Things People are Talking About

As Picasso's "Fillette à la corbeille fleuriewas brought into the sales room at the 19th & 20th century art evening sale of the Rockefellercollection last week, the crowd at Christie's held its collective breath. Despite there being some rumblings about the dour, slightly off-putting tone of the piece, many expected it to spark a heated bidding war culminating in a round of applause for the winner. Needless to say, that was unfortunately not the case. Christie’s global president, Jussi Pylkkänen opened the bidding at a cool $90 million and increased from there in $2 million increments until bidding stalled at a disappointing $102 million ($115 millionwith buyer's premium). Ultimately the Christie's sale of the Rockefeller collection was more about the marketing of the Rockefeller name (i.e the branding of the collection as a whole) than any one painting in particular (like last fall's Salvator Mundi). That, and a tactical error in upping the initial estimate from $70 million to $100 million led to the disappointment in the room we all witnessed last Tuesday. However, the disappointment for that one painting was almost entirely offset by the success of the collection as a whole (despite not reaching the much touted $1 billion target). Every lot on offer found a buyer in the May 8th evening sale, and the rest of the Rockefeller collection- from money clips to picnic sets- was met with wildly enthusiastic bidding from a large pool of buyers. 

Ah what a world we live in. Ahead of last night's Sotheby's sale where Picasso's "Le Repos" fetched $36.9 million, Page Six reported last week that Sue Gross, wife of billionaire bond impresario Bill Gross swapped the original painting off their bedroom wall (amidst their divorce) and replaced it with a painting of her own. After a coin flip awarded her full custody of the painting (this story just gets better and better), Bill Gross tried to make the necessary arrangements for the painting to be transferred from his California house to his ex-wife, only to have her inform him that it was unnecessary as she already had the real painting. Take it from The Canvas folks, you have to read this story in full to believe it. 

The Canvas is hearing a lot about video in the art world lately. Gagosian Quarterly's newly designed website places a lot of emphasis on video, and the gallery is spending a lot of money to keep the content flowing. Sotheby's is out with a new, slickly produced video series called The Fearless Now, with the first episode featuring Ai Weiwei in conversation with the rapper A$AP Rocky. Multiple galleries are investing in large form documentary style video projects to mark their anniversaries; which they can then show to both collectors and artists to tout their staying power and relevance in the wider art world. Sarah Harrelson's Cultured magazine has been producing more video content featuring artists and galleries for its website. And Art Basel released its newsletter last weak that had multiple video links in it, right after The Canvas called them out for lagging behind Frieze in that particular area. All of this is of course on top of the surfeit of video content that Christie'sSotheby's, the Met, and the Whitney all regularly produce. It'll be interesting to see who will be next to jump more fully into the video well. TEFAFDavid Zwirner, ArtNews, Hauser & WirthPace, and wildcards like the Nahmad family are all strong possibilities. 

Five Gallery Shows to See This Week

Eugenio Dittborn at Alexander and Bonin

Marina Rheingantz at Bortolami Gallery

Urs Fischer at Gagosian (980 Madison)

"Reds" Group Exhibition at Mnuchin

Tony Cokes at Greene Naftali

The Party Circuit

Phillips Contemporary Spring 2018 Dinner (Spotted: Edward Dolman, Marcus Samuelsson, Harry Macklowe)

El Museo Del Barrio 25th Annual Gala (Spotted: Marta Minujin, Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, Monica Vidal)

Sotheby's Honors the Studio Museum in Harlem (Spotted: Jon Batiste, Thelma Golden, Amy Cappellazzo, Paul Cejas, Jordan Casteel)



Where We Find Ourselves

Somewhere between getting lost in the hypnotizing lights of Pierre Huyghe’s instillation at Marian Goodman’s booth at Frieze, and ogling the gigantic Calder mobile drifting above the Park Avenue Armory at TEFAF, The Canvas had a not-insignificant amount of time to ponder the recent rumblings in the art world. 


Between David Zwirner’s and Marc Spiegler’s back and forth played out at the New York Times Art Leaders Network conference and the pages of The Art Newspaper, Jerry Saltz’s essay for New York Magazine’s Vulture website, the consistent drumbeat of small and midsize galleries complaining of the costs of exhibiting at fairs, and the expansion of Frieze to LA in 2019, it seems clear that we’re at the beginning stages of a shift in the art marketplace.  


Now if we can agree to stipulate that the times-they-are-a-changin’, then the natural question then becomes who will change with them. Luckily for you, The Canvas isn’t writing this missive for our health; and we genuinely want to share our wisdom with you, our loyal readers. So below you’ll find a mix of four recommendations, observations, call-outs, and hot takes on where we go from here. 


You’ll excuse us if our thoughts are a bit jumbled, but we’ve been sweating for the past five days and were almost mowed down by Chuck Closezipping by in his scooter (it wasn’t his fault). So do us a favor and hold our beer and don’t @ us (ask your social media interns), because we have some things to say.


  1. To Fairs: Do NOT listen to Jerry Saltz. Okay, that’s not entirely fair- you can listen to him a little bit. The man has a Pulitzer after all. But his suggestion that fairs cut "booth fees by as much as 40 percent” is a non-starter. His other recommendation on the other hand, that fairs should “employ a graduated fee-schedule with the mega-galleries paying more than other galleries” is legitimate and deserves some reflection. Unfortunately there’s still the problem of how exactly you differentiate between galleries across the scale. Do you sort them into categories based on aggregate sales numbers? How about by number of employees? Is Levy Gorvy paying the same exhibiting fees as Hauser & Wirth? It’s a conversation that deserves to be had and not batted down out of hand. 


  1. To Galleries: This should be obvious by now, but apparently the point needs to be driven home. Every fair is different which means that the audience for every fair is different. The crowds at the Armory Showaren’t the same as the collectors at TEFAF. Duh. So why would you bring pieces that would mostly interest the latter to a fair that’s increasingly catering to the former? The galleries that had the most success at Frieze this past week either exhibited eye-popping instillations meant to wow crowds and cause a stir on social media (like Marian Goodman and Gagosian did) or offered modestly priced works aimed at attracting newer collectors (like Pace and David Kordansky did). Bringing pieces priced in the upper six figures and waiting for the Rubells or the Zabludowiczs to swoop in and buy a few of them for their collections in the first hour is no longer a viable strategy (unless your last name is Zwirner). 


  1. To Fairs: Fairs are incredibly expensive to produce (we can only imagine what it costs for working air conditioning and for when the Miami Beach Convention Center isn’t under constant renovation) so The Canvas is sympathetic to the high costs you pass on to your exhibitors. With that said however, it wouldn’t kill you to make the fairs friendlier to the average art lover, the serious collector, and your exhibitors all at the same time. Start off by cutting exhibiting fees by ten percent across the board. It’ll earn you some much needed goodwill amongst the dealers who you need to show up year in and year out. Make up that deficit by charging your sponsors considerablymore. If Deutsche Bank wants to launder its reputation for being Donald Trump’s personal piggy bank by attaching its name to your fair, then make them pay dearly for that privilege. Next it’s time to address the overcrowding issue. One of the things Frieze got right this year was adding an additional VIP day on Wednesday. The Armory Show (and to a lesser extent the ADAA Art Show) should take note. If you want VIPs to show up then it’s time to start treating them like actual VIPs. Finally, you need to provide more opportunities and programming for younger, newer, less established art lovers. Be it through an interesting live conversation program with speakers people actually want to hear from, meaningful videos that can be shared online afterward (an example of something Frieze does well that Art Basel does not), or even hosting more tours for people to meaningfully engage with the art, you need to embrace your role as "great malls curated to lure people in” as Jerry Saltz put it. Rather than try to escape that reality, make it a strength while also giving galleries and collectors the tools and atmosphere they need to foster sales. 


  1. To Galleries: It’s time to go all in on social and digital media. That doesn’t mean just hiring an intern and letting them post pictures from your account. You need at least one dedicated person on your team who’s job it is to promote the gallery’s program online to the next generation of collectors. Even though The Canvas has expressed disappointment with Gagosian’s communications department of late, this is something they get right. It’s a full time job and requires legitimate forethought and strategy. If you need help then hire a consultant or ask your PR firms. You’re paying them that monthly retainer for a reason. The wonderful people at Resnicow, and Sutton, and Fitz & Co. know what they’re talking about and want to help you. Collectors need to understand who the artists are and what they’re trying to say with their art. Use Instagram and newsletters, and videos to help tell those stories. The Canvas is sick of hearing galleries whine about the high costs of Chelsea rents and fairs (factors that are essentially out of their control) if they’re not willing to invest in the areas of their business that can control and which cost a lot less. 

In the meantime, try and think about where we all find ourselves as we head into the second half of 2018. Rather than jetting off to Tuscany or Peru or Dubrovnik or the Hamptons (if times are rough) for the summer, think about what you can do to proactively strengthen your gallery, fair, or auction house. If your gallery is celebrating a milestone anniversary this year ( Paula Cooper, David ZwirnerHelly NahmadHammer, etc...) then maybe do something to celebrate and tell your story to a newer generation of collectors. One of the reasons that Sean Kelly has been getting so much positive attention for his "Collect Wisely" campaign is because he's being proactive and not just waiting around for market forces that are beyond his control to steer his business decisions. 

The Canvas could go on if we felt so inclined but we have things to do. There's the press preview for the Costume Institute tomorrow morning and the sale of the Rockefeller collection Tuesday night at Christies. Next week brings the full range of May sales at Christie'sSotheby's, and Phillips, and then it's off to Art Basel (arguably the fair that started it all) to continue the cycle of keeping up with the Gagosians. Say what you want about Jerry Saltz (and we do) but the man certainly knows how to coin a phrase. 

Until then, email us (just hit reply)! We want to hear from you whether you agree with us, whether you disagree with us, whether you like our patented snark or just wish we would go away (not likely to happen). Email us if you want to sponsor our May sales coverage, email us if you want to hire The Canvas as a consultant to replace your incompetent communications/social media person. Hell, you can even email us if you're alone, sitting in the back of your gallery's darkened booth at TEFAF and just want someone to say hi to. The Canvas is here and we're not going anywhere. 



Public Service Announcement 

This edition of The Canvas was put together Friday afternoon and scheduled for release the next day. If for whatever reason some breaking art news occurs within that 24 hour span, we apologize for not including it in this edition. Rest assured that Sunday's edition of The Canvas- our final newsletter for Frieze/TEFAF- will be written in real time and include all the relevant news and coverage from this past week. 

It will also feature our own answers to the recent chatter about the viability of fairs and the role that small and midsize galleries can play in the coming years. We'll examine David Zwirner's suggestions that larger galleries help subsidize their smaller brethren. We'll provide some counterpoints to Jerry Saltz's arguments in his New York Magazine piece. And we'll take a close look at how galleries should approach the various fairs and what clearly works and doesn't work at each. 

In the meantime, seeing as Frieze is officially the one year anniversary of The Canvas first being published, we've been contemplating our own existential position in the art world. As you know, we currently publish The Canvas during the weeks of the major fairs and auction sales throughout the year. But we've been wondering- and we hope our loyal readers will help us answer- whether we should begin publishing The Canvas on a weekly basis to provide more context and news from the gallery side of the business. Please feel free to reply to this email or email us at to let us know your thoughts and where you think we could improve on our coverage. 

The Three Things People are Talking About

At first the air conditioning problems at Frieze seemed relatively benign. After all, there are plenty of opportunities to get a cold drink at the fair and be distracted enough by the exceptional art that you almost forget the record setting temperatures outside the tent. However, now according to Nate Freeman (writing in his recap of TEFAF for Artsy), there are rumors that some dealers are asking for full refunds from the powers-that-be at Frieze. While The Canvas doesn't buy into the idea that any legitimate sales were lost due to the cooling problems of the tent, it does raise some valid concerns about next year's iteration of the fair. May in New York is not October in London after all. And if the organizers of Frieze can't figure out a way to properly cool and seal the tent (both from potential heat and from rain), then they need to take a serious look at moving to a more normal venue. The Canvas gets that the white tent is a central part of Frieze's brand, but it's already a pain in the neck to get to Randall's Island for most people. If we can't be guaranteed to be cool (and dry) when we're at the fair itself, then perhaps we're being asked to sacrifice a bit too much in the name of art that we can mostly see at other fairs throughout the year...

Here at The Canvas we frown upon internal family strife. After all, why can't parents, children, siblings, and cousins all just learn to get along? And yet, in the Upper East Side sitting rooms of New York's elite, it is sometimes understandable why forces conspire in just the right way to foster a pressure cooker like atmosphere. Hence how we came upon the strange tale of Hubert Neumann and his wonderfully ominously named middle child, Belinda. Details are a bit hazy (read the full piece if we've sufficiently piqued your interest), but the gist of the article is that Mr. Neumann is suing Sotheby's to block the sale of a Basquiat slated for auction in the house's Contemporary evening sale on May 16th. In the lawsuit, Neumann claims that Sotheby's "botched" the marketing of the piece and violated an agreement he claims to have with the house that would give him approval on “all matters relating to cataloging, placement, and exhibiting each and every work consigned.” This is despite the fact that  "Flesh and Spirit" is featured on the catalogue's cover, received a multiple-page spread within said cover, and is being offered in the prime spot of lot 24, with an estimate of $30 million. 

The New Yorker released a delightful quiz where readers can match themselves to New York museums as if they were on first dates. We're not embarrassed to tell you that here at The Canvas we've spent a not insignificant amount of time comparing ourselves to the various museums and then analyzing what the results say about us as human beings. And while we'd like to think of ourselves as a Whitney- or even the Cloisters- deep down we know we're more of Tenement Museum; or even god forbid, the New York Transit Museum. *Shudders at the thought* 




The Luxe Life

The doors of the Park Avenue Armory opened and the well heeled crowd was ushered into TEFAF and the cool embrace of its working air conditioning, chilled champagne, and roving oyster shuckers. And even though The Canvas did not partake in the bubbly or the mollusks, it wasn't hard to appreciate the noticeably different atmosphere that TEFAF's fairs generate when compared to their more egalitarian brethren (with the exception of perhaps Art Basel in Basel).   

Of course, when you're asking collectors to plunk down $5.5 million for a Philip Guston- and succeeding- as they were at Hauser & Wirth, it's only right that you ply them with alcohol and aphrodisiacs first. In fact, a number of starry works with accompanying sky-high prices were being offered- and bought- in the well-lit booths of the Armory's Drill Hall. Helly NahmadLevy Gorvy, and Lisson were just some of the many blue-chip galleries finding success with the pieces they brought to the fair. For a more detailed recap with further pricing information, you can check out Annie Armstrong's piece for ArtNews here

In the not-too-distant past, before Donald Trump was elected president and TEFAF was a Maastricht-only affair (i.e the halcyon days of 2014), it could sometimes feel as if the major international fairs conspired together to blend into a never-ending cocktail hour for the world's one percent that played out across various cavernous convention centers throughout the world. Alas, no more.

With the proliferation of Art Basels, TEFAFs, and Friezes, it's becoming easier for the major fairs to carve out an identity for themselves and actively appeal to different sections of the market. And yet, as is becoming increasingly apparent amongst the movers and shakers in the business, three Art Basel fairs, three TEFAF fairs, four Frieze fairs, the Armory & ADAA Art Show in March, and umpteen satellite fairs that hover around these anchors like pilot fish eating the parasites off their larger hosts is unsustainable. 

Sure, there will always be a place for fairs like Independent that shine a light on the up-and-coming, or Art Miami/New York that help usher in younger collectors to the market, but at some point a realistic set of solutions will need to be offered to counter the gluttony of fairs currently populating the calendar.  

The Three Things People are Talking About

Fresh off of winning the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism for the first time in his career, Jerry Saltz penned a long treatise on New York Magazine's Vulture website listing everything that's wrong with art fairs. Rather, everything that's wrong with art fairs in the mind of Jerry Saltz. And while he echoes many of the same points that art world heavyweights such as David Zwirner and Thaddeus Ropac have recently been making, many of his points quickly reveal themselves as specious and self-addmitedly unrealistic. Even though we at The Canvas have tremendous respect for the Saltz Man (he's been doing this for practically three decades after all), we wholeheartedly disagree with not only his conclusions, but the very premise of the problems he's trying to help solve. We're not going to go into full details now, but be on the look out for our main section in Sunday's edition of the Canvas. It promises to be a doozy.

While small and midsize galleries are facing tough economic headwinds, the well dressed specialists over at the auction houses are popping champagne bottles. In its first quarter earnings release, Sotheby's announced "aggregate auction sales of $667m during the first three months of 2018, a jump of 18% from a year ago" writes Sarah Hanson in The Art Newspaper. Topping that was a jump of 70% over the year for private sales, totalling $246.6m for the quarter. Amy Cappellazzo, Allan Schwartzman, and new hire, David Schrader all deserve a tip of the hat for this feat. While Christie's financials are private, The Canvas has it from a knowledgeable source that even though Sotheby's lags behind its arch rival in overall sales, its private sales division is significantly stronger. 

We've heard a lot about the Shed since it broke ground back in 2015. But in a new and wide ranging interview with Andy Battaglia of ArtNews (one amongst many as part of a coordinated PR push), director Alex Poots gave multiple details on "A Prelude to the Shed" which is being billed as a "sort of prologue, starting May 1 and running through May 13, in an empty lot across the street from the institution’s future home on Manhattan’s far west side". Sounds thrilling. 


Five Stands to See at TEFAF

Galerie Gmurzynska (Stand 18)

Helly Nahmad Gallery (Stand 21)

Levy Gorvy (Stand 24)

Acquavella Galleries (Stand 66)

Di Donna Galleries (Stand 58)

The Party Circuit

The Cultivist Anniversary Party (Spotted: Laure De Gunzburg, Maria Baibakova, Casey Fremont, Di Mondo, Kasper Sonne)

Saks Fifth Avenue Celebrates Opening Night of Frieze (Spotted: Mary-Kate Olsen, Sarah Hoover, Jessica Hart, Phillip Picardi, Colby and Mary Mugrabi)

"American Aristocracy: How to Live Like a Rockefeller" at Christie's (Spotted: Martha Stewart, Susan Magrino, Stellene Volandes)



It's Getting Hot in Here

The Canvas feels bad. When we promised sunshine throughout the week, we meant it as a hopeful counter to last year's torrential downpour. We certainly didn't mean it as a paean for ninety degree heat that would leave collectors sweating through their Burberry cottons. 

But while it's clear that the organizers at Frieze need to find a new vendor for their tent (remember the buckets placed to catch the leaking rain last year?), yesterday's VIP preview proved to be a resounding success. Indeed, the decision to add a second VIP day turned out to be a savvy one as strolling through the fair was considerably more enjoyable than pushing through the mass of humanity at this year's Armory Show (even with the sweltering heat). 

Despite there not being a surfeit of high priced sales announced on the first day, it seems that most dealers have found a sweet spot in what they choose to bring to Frieze NY; somewhere in the range of mid-five figures (let's call it $30,000-$50,000) through mid-six figures (let's call it $300,000-$400,000). Annie Armstrong at ArtNews and Nate Freeman at Artsy have the full recaps and sales listings on their respective sites and they're worth a read. 

However, perhaps even more important than any one sale was the overall feel and mood within the tent on Randall's Island. People were talking about Adam Pendleton's Black Dada Flag, watching Lara Schnitger feminist protest parade called Suffragette City, and catching glimpses of the uber VIPs (Michael Bloomberg, Raf Simmons, John Krasinski, and Scarlett Johansson were among those spotted). 

So all in all, even with the air-conditioning hiccup (which The Canvas heard would be resolved by today), Frieze New York is a welcome presence on this year's art fair circuit. Not as stuffy as Art Basel, more meaningful than Art Basel Miami, and certainly more of a pleasure to walk through than the Armory Show. 

The Three Things People are Talking About

TEFAF New York opens its Spring iteration of the fair today. It's the second year that the Maastricht based organization is hosting the fair during the same week as Frieze New York, and all signs point to there being enough love from collectors to go around. While we'll have a more full report in tomorrow's edition of The Canvas, early signs at the Park Avenue Armory are good. Blue-chip dealers have brought some impressive pieces (we're looking at you Levy Gorvy), and Gagosian (who's communications department we still shake our head at) is showing at the fair for the first time. The next few days should be interesting in terms of any seven figure sales announced- especially with the Christie's Rockefeller Collectionsale taking place so close to both Frieze and TEFAF. 

Is government regulation coming for us all? That's the question on the minds of the art world's business denizens and legal eagles. Like the Army of the Dead in HBO's Game of Thrones, experts have been warning that this encroachment into the art world realm has been slowly approaching for years. However, amidst reports that "The House Financial Services Committee is drafting legislation that would add ‘dealers of art and antiquities’ to the list of regulated financial institutions" and the European Union's new money laundering regulations, art world insiders (both dealers and collectors alike) are increasingly worried that anonymity might be a thing of the past for buyers of highly valued works. The European Union set the benchmark at €10,000 (hardly 'high priced' in The Canvas's eyes), and who's to say what the dolts in the U.S House of Representatives will set the limit at during their hearing in May. It looks like the saying is true- Winter is finally here...  

In what appears to be her first public comments since she stepped down as the executive director of the Walker Art CenterOlga Viso makes a rousing call for what she calls "decolonizing the art museum" in an op-ed for the New York Times. As ArtNews reported back in November , "Though no reason was cited for her departure, the announcement came in the wake of controversy surrounding the installment and ultimate dismantling of Scaffold, a public artwork by the Los Angeles–based artist Sam Durantthat incited waves of protest over the past six months." Indeed, in the op-ed published yesterday, Viso talks at length about "Scaffold" and how her vision for it to be an educational and "truth to power" tool was ultimately not possible "because of the continuing historical trauma about an unreckoned-with colonial past." Read the full piece here.   

Five Booths to See at Frieze

Marian Goodman Gallery (C21)

Gagosian (D14)

Xavier Hufkens (D25)

303 Gallery (B4)

Cheim & Read (A18)

The Party Circuit

Swiss Institute Hosts Private Preview of New Home (Spotted: Loic Gouzer, Sarah Arison, Francesco Bonami, Dominique Levy, Iwan Wirth, Daniel Humm, Hans Ulrich Obrist)

Ballroom Marfa Spring Fundraiser 

Cultured Magazine x Misha Kahn Dinner

Have any tips, gossip, news, or sales reports you want to share with The Canvas? Or maybe you just want to say hi? Get in touch with us at for any editorial, sponsorship, or collaboration opportunities. 



Seven Days of Deals

Today marks the start of what is sure to be a frenzied seven days for the New York art world. Beginning with the Frieze preview today, continuing with TEFAF's opening tomorrow, and culminating with the sale of the Rockefeller collection at Christie's next week, a lot of art- and even more money- will be changing hands over the next week. 

Luckily for everyone involved, we at The Canvas took it upon ourselves to scout out the weather report for the foreseeable future in the hopes of staving off the biblical flooding we all experienced on Randall's Island last year. And even though there does appear to be some precipitation expected on Saturday and Sunday (anyone who reads this newsletter will already be done with the fairs by then anyway), the forecast is mostly sunny. 

Yet while the next week promises bright skies, The Canvas can't help but feel that storm clouds are gathering in the distance. Within the past ten days David Zwirner suggested that large international galleries should subsidize younger galleries' participation in fairs, two well known collectors have very publicly sued Gagosian for failing to deliver Jeff Koons sculptures they ordered, and Andrea Rosen and Luhring Augustine Gallery are in the news not for art, but for selling the Chelsea building they jointly owned and reaping a 1650% return on their initial investment.

The closing of physical gallery spaces, the viability of the art fair model for younger galleries, and the revolt by collectors against one of the most well known and successful dealers- all three of these issues question some of the most core tenets that the modern art world is built upon. If these cracks in the foundation aren't remedied soon, then we could all find ourselves watching the building come crumbling down in the way-too-near-future. 

The Three Things People are Talking About

At the Art Leaders Network Conference organized by the New York Times, David Zwirner very publicly (and somewhat shockingly) suggested that art fairs should impose a tax on the major galleries that participate in order to subsidize smaller galleries that normally can't afford the costs associated with exhibiting at one of the major fairs on the international circuit. Art Basel's Global Director, Marc Spiegler later seemed to push back a bit in The Art Newspaper. “Until now, I’ve never heard the most successful galleries publicly say they were worried about their younger peers, and offer to counterbalance the consolidation within the art market,” he tells The Art Newspaper. He seems to go on to suggest that large galleries poaching artists from small galleries just when their careers are beginning to take off is also a large part of the problem. Needless to say, the full article is a must-read.  

Galleries pushing back the delivery dates for large pieces by in-demand artists (such as Jeff Koons) is not a new phenomenon. What is somewhat new is that two well known collectors (Steven Tananbaum and Joel Silver) would so publicly sue a heavyweight such as Gagosian over these delays. And while the suits themselves are filled with dramatic language- "When the curtain is pulled back, ‘Something is rotten in the state of Denmark’" writes Tananbaum's lawyer- the details of the complaint are somewhat droll and ordinary. Pushed back delivery dates, threats to forfeit the hefty deposits on the pieces, and back and forth emails between Koons assistants, Gagosian associates, and Tananbaum’s art advisor Sandy Heller are all relatively run of the mill. Ultimately, The Canvas feels the real blame here lies with Gagosian's sizable communications department. There is no excuse for a gallery with the resources and manpower that Gagosian has to have let this play out in the court of public opinion in such a messy and convoluted manner. Mainstream news publications (in addition to all the art news publications) are covering the story with Gagosian's narrative being absent from all the resulting coverage. For whatever reason, it seems like the Gagosian press shop has been behind the curve every step of the way on this one. Check out Artnet News for the latest on the suits here and here

Twenty one years after paying $1.6 million for a 10,000 square foot garage, Andrea Rosen and Luhring Augustine Gallery have sold their shared building for $28 million. Rosen closed her gallery last year and is currently in charge of the estate of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, which she co-represents with David Zwirner. Luhring Augustine on the other hand still has a physical presence in the building and is considering leasing back the space until the middle of next year. Katya Kazakina and Caleb Melby over at Bloombergdeserve credit for unearthing this story. Check out the full piece for its greater context about what this sale portends for Chelsea galleries and their seemingly never-ending rent increases. 

Five Gallery Shows to See During Frieze

Charles Gaines at Paula Cooper (Opening May 3rd)

Marlene Dumas at David Zwirner

Hank Willis Thomas at Jack Shainman

Sergio Camargo at Sean Kelly

Annette Kelm and Darren Bader at Andrew Kreps

The Party Circuit

Fifth Annual Village Fete Honoring Werner Herzog at Pioneer Works (Spotted: Dustin Yellin, Michael Shannon, Sarah Arison, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Werner Herzog, Stacey Bendet)

Opening and Afterparty for Takashi Murakami at Perrotin New York (Spotted: JR, Daniel Boulud, Takashi Murakami, KAWS)

Stephen Posen "Threads Paintings from the 1960s and '70s" at Vito Schnabel Projects (Spotted: Uma Thurman, Huma Abedin, Katie Holmes, and Stephen, Susan and Zac Posen)

Have any tips, gossip, news, or sales reports you want to share with The Canvas? Or maybe you just want to say hi? Get in touch with us at for any editorial, sponsorship, or collaboration opportunities. 


Armory Week in Full Swing: Armory Show, Independent, Spring/Break and More


The cool kids flocked downtown to Spring Studios yesterday to attend the VIP/Press preview of the eight year old Independent art fair. Just under twenty of the fifty exhibiting galleries were new participants this year which kept things fresh and exciting, and the uber-chic crowd looking for deals and constantly on its toes.  

Both Marc Spiegler and Noah Horowitz from Art Basel were spotted perusing the tightly packed booths- always a good sign for up-and-coming artists and young galleries. In fact, multiple curators from well known museums and institutions could be seen browsing the offerings, surely on the lookout for the next big thing. 

The Canvas doesn't like to play favorites. Be it The Armory Show, NADA, Spring/Break, Volta, or even Scope, each fair has its fans as well as its fair share of detractors. But the scene at Independent yesterday far surpassed the atmospheres of the competing fairs that we attended this week. It was a mix of established and young galleries that brought a thought provoking selection of both older and about-to-be-big artists with dealers actually selling their pieces to a crowd of collectors, curators, and art lovers. After all, what more can you really ask of an art fair? Actually, some more seating/lounge spaces would be nice, but we'll leave that for next year... 

Further Reading

Many of us are skeptical of Frieze's plans to launch a Los Angeles based version of the fair in February of next year. But in an illuminating and wide-ranging piece for Artsy, Nate Freeman takes us step by step through some of the factors that may end up helping Frieze where others (FIAC, Paris Photo, etc...) have failed. From Jeffrey Deitch's soon-to-arrive 15,000 square foot gallery, to the continued blockbuster success of The Broad, to the proposed timing of the fair right before the Oscars, and the increasing presence of tech billionaires, Frieze has a lot of things going for it. It also doesn't hurt that the fair is 70% owned by Endeavor(the mega Hollywood talent agency). 

TEFAF has a new chairman- and with his appointment, a new PR push. Yesterday's New York Times had an article about the fair's attempts at becoming a global brand. Throughout the week, numerous outlets published pieces about what it takes to keep fakes out of the Maastricht based fair. Artnet news has a cool interview with the Dutch architect and designer Tom Postma who's tasked with creating the look and feel of the fair in both the Netherlands and New York. And The Art Newspaper has a great piece about how the fair is using the newest technology available (think big data, blockchain, and A.I.) to help modernize the art world. 

Alex Greenberger of ArtNews gives a necessary and worthwhile look into Sotheby's quarterly financials. While obviously not exhaustive in nature, Sotheby's financial reports usually provide a helpful glance at the overall strength of the art market. The fourth quarter resulted in a net income of $118.8 million- a 60 percent jump from the previous year. But the real stars at the auction house were the venerable team at Art Agency Partners. 

Must See Booths at The Armory Show (Part Two)

Shin Gallery (Pier 92, Booth F8)

Redling Fine Art

Hollis Taggart Galleries (Pier 92, Booth 206)

Gavlak Gallery (Pier 92, Booth F6)

Shoshana Wayne Gallery (Pier 94, Booth 618)

The Party Circuit

The Armory Party at MoMA 

1STDIBS Dinner with Sarah Harrelson of Cultured Magazine (Spotted: Mera Rubell, Anne Pasternak)

The Armory Show "VIP" Preview (Spotted: JR, Paul Rudd, Steve Martin, Sophia Coppola, John Waters, Raf Simons, Ryan McGinness

Armory Show's First Day Open to the Public

Some Tough Love For The Armory Show

Friends tell each other the truth even when the truth can sometimes be hard to hear. That's why The Canvas is going to take this opportunity to speak to the powers that be at The Armory Show and impart some harsh but necessary wisdom. The leadership of the fair obviously doesn't have to take it- The Canvas isn't omniscient after all- but they'd be well-served to at least consider what we have to say; especially considering it's what anyone who mattered was talking about yesterday. 

Wednesday's VIP/Press day was anything but. Even with the harsh weather raging outside, crowds quickly piled into piers 94/92 and by 3:00pmthe aisles were practically impassable. While the day is ostensibly meant for serious collectors and members of the press to consider the artwork in a less frenzied environment than the public days usually provide for, there was nothing dignified nor remotely calm about the scene at The Armory Show yesterday. 

Despite having seemingly endless dining and lounge options, available seating was nonexistent. So many parents with toddlers and strollers prowled the booths of the fair this year that it's a miracle The Canvas didn't accidentally step on one of them. And if you're wondering about sales-those pesky little things- then it's probably best to not get your hopes too high. Sales were "leisurely at the outset" as Nate Freeman generously put it in his recap for Artsy. And while certain galleries such as Sean Kelly and Pace did brisk business, others (who shall remain nameless) found significantly less success. Is it any wonder that mega galleries such as David Zwirner and Hauser & Wirth have chosen to stay away? 

Now none of this is meant to impugn the leadership of Nicole Berry. She's been in the top job for less than five months and by all accounts is doing an admirable job in putting her own stamp on the fair. But ultimately The Armory Show is going to have to face a decision about its future. Will it try to preserve its place on the international art fair circuit as a must-see destination for serious collectors, or will it instead lean in to its "Disneyfication" and simply become a background setting for art tourists to take pictures for their Instagram accounts? 

Further Reading

The New York Times has a new article out about TEFAF's attempts at establishing a global brand (a la Art Basel and Frieze). 

The Observer published an interesting look at the issue of non-payment that occasionally arises at the auction houses. While some excuses given are comical, most often they involve dealers losing clients they planned to sell the art to. 

The Los Angeles Times released an in-depth look at how pervasive Instagram is in the art world. While most of the coverage looked at how small and up and coming artists use the platform, it also mentioned the social media strategies of LACMA, the Whitney, and Saatchi in London. As we mentioned in our Art Basel Miami Beach coverage, as more and more galleries reassess the traditional brick-and-mortar gallery model, platforms and tools like Instagram and video will become increasingly ingrained into the sales process. 

What's the deal with ArtNews lately? First Nate Freeman jumps ship and moves over to Artsy- a huge deal as his pieces were some of the most widely read on the site. And then the New York Post's Page Six runs a blurb about how Brant Publications (which owns ArtNews, Interview, and Art in America) has been embroiled in an argument with its landlord and hasn't been sending in its rent checks lately. Word is that staffers have moved back into their offices but many emails to executives at the company have remained unanswered. It all sounds very Louise Blouin like if you ask us... 

Kudos to the reporting staff at Artnet News for publishing this handy pieceabout the varying staff sizes at the art world's major galleries. These numbers can very often be hard to pin down but apparently Artnet got all of the 15 galleries they asked to confirm their employee numbers on the record. Some interesting numbers in there- Paul Kasmin really has 35 employees across its galleries? 

If you're looking for a recap of Christie's Post-War and Contemporary art sale in London this past week, then you can't find better than Judd Tully's blow-by-blow account published in Artsy. He describes the sale as "an almost flawless performance" as the house racked up an impressive total. 

Must See Booths at The Armory Show (Part One)

Goodman Gallery (Pier 94, Booth 702)

Gagosian (Pier 94, Booth 800)

David Castillo (Pier 94, Booth 728)

Jeffrey Deitch (Pier 94, Booth 819)

Shulamit Nazarian (Pier 94, Booth P4)

Have any tips, gossip, news, or sales reports you want to share with The Canvas? Or maybe you just want to say hi? Get in touch with us at for any editorial, sponsorship, or collaboration opportunities. 

Armory Show VIP Day

Welcome to Armory Week

What the auction world is talking about: the latest results from the Christie's and Sotheby's sales in London this past week... What the gallery world is talking about: Frieze is adding yet another fair to the already heavily crowded art fair circuit with the launch of Frieze LA slated for February 2019... What the museum world is talking about: The Met officially implemented its new admissions policy requiring a $25 fee from out-of-state residents... And what everyone else is talking about: The Armory Show and the various satellite and ancillary fairs that descend upon New York City this week. 

Throughout the week, we at The Canvas will be bringing you all of the news straight from the fair floor. Between sales information for major pieces, VIP and celebrity sightings in the private viewing rooms, to insider access at a whole host of parties and events, we've got you covered. 

We'll also spend the week talking about the latest auction results from across the pondSotheby's quarterly financials, the state of the art media business (what is going on with ArtNews?), and the increasing relevance of video and Instagram in artists' and galleries' strategies. 

In the meantime though, we'll be keeping warm and plotting our route to Chelsea Piers for today's VIP and press access amid all this snow. Are we the only ones who think that New York's art fairs might be cursed? Last year's Frieze had us braving monsoon like conditions, and this year we'll be fighting through a Nor'easter. Oh the things we do for art... 


Further Reading

Check out the interviews with The Armory Show's new director, Nicole Berry on Artsy here and via The Art Newspaper here. Initially promoted as interim director in the wake of the Benjamin Genocchio debacle, the folks at Vornado Realty Trust, the real estate company that owns The Armory Show decided that she'd be the best fit as the permanent director and she's already making her mark on this year's iteration of the fair. 

Read the recaps of last week's ADAA's The Art Show by Henri Neuendorf and Eileen Kinsella for Artnet News here and by Nate Freeman for Artsy here. General takeaway- sales held steady but the scheduling error caused international collectors to stay away and there was a notable lack of buzz at the fair. ADAA management needs to sort out the dates with the Park Avenue Armory so that The Art Show can return to the.same week the other fairs of Armory Week for 2019. 

The New York Time's T Magazine has an extensive piece in the latest issuewith Chicago based artist Pope L. (represented by Mitchell-Innes & Nash). While nominally about his "Flint Water Project" instillation, the interview is wide ranging and covers the entirety of the artist's career. It's definitely worth a read as all the cool kids will be talking about it. 

One fun thing- Karen Chernick over at Artsy published a fun article about the process of securing permissions for works of art to use in films and tv shows. Hint: most productions end up using local or little-known artists to avoid jumping through the countless copyright hoops that come with securing major works of art. 

Revolving Door

Halona Norton-Westbrook has been named Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Toledo Museum of Art, and Andrea Gardner has been named Director of Collections. 

Former Artforum editor, Michelle Kuo joins MoMA as a curator

Pamela J. Joyner appointed Chair of the Tate Americas Foundation

Andrew Schoelkopf named President of ADAA


Bronx Museum Gala & Auction (Spotted: Dustin Yellin, Eric Shiner, Bill Aguado)

The Jewish Museum's Annual Purim Ball (Spotted: Alex Israel, Nev Shulman, JaiJai Fei)

MoMA's 2018 David Rockefeller Award Luncheon (Spotted: Oprah Winfrey, Gayle King, Diane Sawyer)

Damien Hirst's "The Veil Paintings" Opening at Gagosian Beverly Hills (Spotted: Jeffrey Deitch, Alex Israel, Alexander Gilkes, Hans Zimmer, Maria Sharapova, Michael Govan, Tom Ford,  Zac Posen, Kanye West, Karlie Kloss, Derek Blasberg, Brian Grazer, Barry Diller, Diane von Furstenberg, Jimmy Iovine

Art Basel Miami Beach Recap Winners & Losers Edition- December 10th Edition


Art Basel Miami Beach Recap Winners & Losers Edition


The Canvas has been holed up in bed recovering from the whirlwind week of fairs, parties, dinners, and meetings. And while this mega-edition may be coming out a day later than initially expected, we promise that it's worth the wait.

The extra day gave us more time to gather our thoughts, sift through the sales reports, and even work on a juicy exclusive due out in a special edition later this week. 

So without further ado, here's our final edition for this year's Art Basel Miami Beach. Enjoy! 

Art Basel Miami Beach- Five Winners & Five Losers
Mark Bradford: Capping off a year in which he exhibited at the Venice Biennale's U.S. pavilion, Mark Bradford has officially crossed the line into art-world megastar. Hauser & Wirth fêted the artist with a swanky party filled with Hollywood (and actual) royalty last week, and multiple pieces of his sold at the convention center for mid-seven figures. 

Miami's museums: Between the Bass's reopening, the ICA's move to a new space in the Design District, and the Perez Art Museum's continued dominance, Miami museums are officially a part of the cultural firmament. While a lot of credit deservedly goes to the collectors/donors (Jorge Perez, the Bramans, Craig Robins, the Rubells, etc...), praise also goes to the civic leaders, staffs, and PR firms that make the museums the successes they are. 

Galleries & Advisers who sell art in innovative ways: Larry & David will always sell out their booths (or close to sell out anyway) and Lisa can always count on a certain Leo to swoop in and buy a Basquiat drawing for $850K, but galleries and advisers who use non-conventional selling methods to reach and communicate with their clients are finding more and more success. Whether it be by texting pictures of pieces to certain collectors via WhatsApp or producing videos around specific exhibitions and artists, more and more galleries and art advisers are experimenting with different selling techniques in order to reach new and younger collectors or to stay in better touch with existing clients. 

Untitled & NADA: While the proverbial masses may run to Art Miami (who's organizers hand out VIP cards like politicians give out kisses under the mistletoe), art world insiders instead gravitated toward satellite fairs, Untitled and NADA throughout the week. Each fair did an impressive job with their iterations this year, with of-the-moment galleries and artists exhibiting at both. 

The Nautilus Hotel: Jason Pomeranc's trendy hotel was the unofficial (and for that matter actually official) place to see and be seen this year. Whether it was through one of the countless parties the hotel hosted at its beachside tent, or in front  of Suzy Kellems Dominik's neon artwork installed in the hotel lobby, art world insiders could be spotted wherever one looked. 

Small to mid-tier galleries: Everyone's talking about it. Small and mid-tier galleries may not have what it take to continue to exhibit at Art Basel in coming years. Between all the costs associated with participating (figure at least $250,000 at the lower end of the scale), dealers are going to have to seriously consider whether all the costs associated with exhibiting are worth it in the years to come. Time was that's (and Blouin Art+Auction and Blouin Modern Painters) editors and publishers spread throughout the fairs chatting up dealers and holding meetings on the sidelines- not to mention actually reporting on the news of the market. Alas, no more. With most editorial being produced out of India (yes, you read that right), nary a Blouin editor could be spotted at any of this year's fairs. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Bonus- we have an exclusive scoop regarding Louise Blouin coming up in a special edition of The Canvas due out later this week. 

Miami Infrastructure: Between the seemingly ever-present construction zones circling the convention center this year and the spotty cell service plaguing Wynwood during peak party hours, Miami officials need to step up and do a better job of pulling things together for 2018. Art Basel Miami Beach (and all of us who attend) brings in enough money to the local economy. The Canvas doesn't think it's too much to ask for that the convention center not be riddled with cement trucks, orange fencing, and cinderblock barriers. 

Street Art: Whether it's the Scope Miami fair, Miami mainstay Alec Monopoly, or even Banksy himself, collectors are quickly tiring of the (mostly) derivative work produced by a seemingly endless parade of (mostly) millennial men that all seem to (mostly) feature the dollar bill as the focus of the art.

First day sales: As many press reports mentioned, while the fair was still an undoubted success and top pieces all found comfy new homes with quality collectors, the pace of sales was noticeably slower than in years past and galleries didn't necessarily sell out their booths on the first day. Whether it's because collectors are taking more time to carefully consider works before pulling the trigger, or it's a more ominous sign of a looming correction in the market, we'll all just have to hold our breaths and wait to see. 

Salvator Mundi: A $450 Million Dollar Maze of Mirrors
So let's get this straight. In a news-break perfectly timed to coincide with the VIP Preview at Art Basel this year (Wednesday), the New York Time's David Kirkpatrick reported that the buyer for Leonardo da Vinci's work was a little-known prince named Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud

But the next day (Thursday), the Wall Street Journal's Shane Harris, Kelly Crow, and Summer Said reported that the NYT doesn't really have the full story and that Prince Bader was in fact acting as a proxy in the sale for his good friend, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

And then on Friday, the New York Times came back with reporting that the Saudi embassy in Washington was claiming that Price Bader did not act as a proxy for the Crown Prince, but instead acted as an agent for the ministry of culture of Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates and that the Leonardo piece would soon go on display there at the newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi

With all the twists and turns in this roller coaster of a story, we may never know who the true purchaser of "Salvator Mundi" was, but a few things are for sure. Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud (or someone representing him) was on the phone with Alex Rotter that night at Christie's. The $450 million dollar artwork is heading to the Louvre Abu Dhabi for now (whether as a gift, a loan or as a rental). And Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was clearly the orchestrator and financial backer in the purchase, even if it wasn't for his personal collection but as a gift to the United Arab Emiratesin an effort to build stronger ties between the two countries. 

Further Reading
Alexander Forbes of has a must-read recap and analysis of what sold at this year's iteration of Art Basel Miami Beach. Check out the great reporting here

The superb team at Sotheby's Art Agency Partners has some truly insightful take-aways from this year's fair. Read Charlotte Burns's "Market Report" here, as well as Allan Schwartzman's fun take here.  

For the official "End of Show Report" (i.e press release) produced by Art Basel itself, click here

Gallery Shows to See Before the New Year
Paula Cooper Gallery's "The Passing of Time: Michael Hurson at Work, 1971-2001" (closing December 22nd) 

Gladstone Gallery's "Richard Prince: Ripple Paintings" (closing December 22nd)

Paul Kasmin Gallery's "Lee Krasner: The Umber Paintings, 1959-1962" (closing January 13th)

Danziger Gallery's "The Way of the West: Jim Krantz and Ansel Adams" (closing December 22nd)

Galerie Perrotin's "Farhad Moshiri: Snow Forest" (closing December 23rd)

One Fun Thing
Still looking for that perfect gift for the art-lover in your life? Assouline's "Andy Warhol: The Impossible Collectionmakes for just such a purchase if you have a cool $845 laying around. With accompanying text by former Andy Warhol Museum director Eric Shiner, and over 100 beautifully printed glossy photos of Warhol's works, this ultimate coffee table book is our choice for the number one art gift of the year. 

Art Basel Public Opening Day 3- December 8th Edition


Art Basel Miami Beach Public Opening- Day Three


Art Basel Preview & Vernissage Selected Sales

Mitchell-Innes & Nash
Keltie Ferris, NSEW, 2017: between $50,000-$60,000

Jack Shainman
Nick Cave, Wire Tondo: $110,000

Carrie Mae Weems, The Blues, 2017: $80,000

Pace Gallery
Wang Guangle, 170326, 2017: $325,000

Michael Rovner, Urgency, 2017: $140,000

Willem de Kooning, Untitled, ca. 1967: $450,000

Yoshitomo Nara, Young Mother, 2012: $2.9 million 

Joel Shapiro, Untitled, 2016: $350,000 

Kukje Gallery/ Tina Kim Gallery
Ha Chong-Hyun, Conjunction 17-05, 2017: between $100,000-$110,000

Lehman Maupin
Lee Bul, Untitled (Mekamelencolia – Velvet #3), 2017: between $225,000-$275,000

Alex Prager, Anaheim, 2017: between $30,000-$40,000 

Angel Otero, Through the Stained Glass, 2017: between $80,000-$90,000

Teresita Fernandez, Blind Land (Green): between $225,000- $275,000

Liza Lou, Relief 3, 2017: between $130,000-$140,000

Applicat Prazan
Pierre Soulages, Peinture 130 x 97 cm, 28 Octobre, 1966: about $1.2 million 

Serge Poliakoff, Bleu, ca. 1956: about $1.2 million 

Alison Jacques Gallery
Hannah Wilke, Mellow Yellow, 1975: $750,000

Hannah Wilke, Untitled, 1975-79: $550,000

Sheila Hicks, Langue d’oiseau I, 2016–17: $150,000 

News You Need to Know
It just gets weirder and weirder.

After yesterday's bombshell news in the New York Times that the buyer for Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi" was Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, today we find out that in truth, he was only a proxy acting for his good friend, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

The team effort of Shane Harris, Kelly Crow, and Summer Said broke the news in the Wall Street Journal (reporting from Washington, Miami, and Dubai respectively). Interestingly, part of the main tilt of the article was how the crown prince bought the $450 million dollar artwork amid the austerity drive that he's ostensibly leading at home. 

And to top it all off, it appears that the talented reporters behind this major scoop got at least some of their information from sources within the U.S intelligence community (i.e not art world insiders) who claim that Bader has been bidding- and winning- on works for the crown prince throughout the past year. Needless to say, you MUST read the full piece on the WSJ website. [Wall Street Journal]

Further Reading
Alex Greenberger of ArtNews has the scoop on a new report from UBS that claims that Art Basel Miami Beach is the fair most attended by collectors (followed by the Armory Show, TEFAF, Frieze, and the Venice Biennale- though we're not entirely clear on why the Biennale is included in that list). There are other noteworthy statistics that he highlights in his full article which you can read here

Jason Farago gives his take on this year's iteration of Art Basel Miami Beach in his review for the New York Times. While his insight and perspective on the art itself is certainly worthwhile and captivating reading, The Canvas couldn't help but notice his repeated mentions of the construction work at the convention center and surrounding area (something we're sure to be ranting about in Sunday's edition). has a surprisingly interesting look at some of the behind-the-scenes details behind planning and running the fair in their interview with Art Basel global director, Marc Spiegler. Ann Binlot provides the specifics; including Marc's week-of-fair fitness routine (hint: he likes to swim). 

Party Roundup with Pictures
Hauser & Wirth's party at the 1 Hotel South Beach to honor Mark Bradfordis the hands-down winner this year for the title of best gallery-hosted party at this year's fair. Guests included Ellie Goulding, Wendi Deng Murdoch, Owen Wilson, Ricky Martin, Mark Ronson, Ricky Martin, Sara Foster, Princess Eugenie of York, Princess Beatrice of York, and Sarah Duchess of York. We'll take your word that your invitation was lost in the mail, so check out the pictures via BFA here

Check out all the pictures from The Cultivist's swanky annual artist lunch which was held this year at the Setai hotel. Flip through the pictures on here while you ask yourself why you haven't joined the member's only group yet.

W magazine and Oliver Peoples hosted a boozy, beach-side bash at the Nautilus Hotel's tent to celebrate the "next wave" of collectors in art, fashion, design, and music. You can gaze jealously at the ridiculously good looking guests on here, and eagle-eyed readers might even spot The Canvas (who was honored to be invited) lurking in the shadows. 

Galerie Gmurzynska hosted a dinner in honor of Jean Pigozzi at the Faena Hotel. Guests included Maria BaibakovaParis HiltonHannah Bronfman, and Isabelle Bscher. BFA has all the glossy pics here

Page Six includes a nice round up of some of the pictures from the various parties and events around Miami. You can click through the gallery on their website here

ArtNews once again provides their "Scenes from Miami Art Week" picture compilation on their website. Pictures include scenes from the convention center, the Bass Museum of Art private reception, and the aforementioned Hauser & Wirth party. Check it out here

The Five Satellite Fairs Worth Your Time

Design Miami

Untitled Miami Beach

Scope Miami Beach

Pulse Art Fair 


Art Basel Vernissage Day 2- December 7th Edition


Art Basel Miami Beach Vernissage Day Two


Art Basel Preview Day Selected Sales
While the champagne is flowing and the sales are rolling in, the roads to and around the Miami Beach Convention Center are paved with potholes, detours, and traffic snarls (but honestly, did you expect anything less?).

We'll have a full recap at the end of the week but for now, enjoy the fair(s) and try not to get too frustrated with the city of Miami Beach for all of the construction. We hear that the powers-that-be at Art Basel aren't too happy themselves... 

Hauser & Wirth
Bruce Nauman, Untitled (Two Wolves, Two Deer) 1989: $9.5 million

Mark Bradford, Moon Rocks, 2017: $5 million

David Zwirner
Neo Rauch, Tank: $1.2 million

Yayoi Kusama, Standing at the Flower Bed2013: $1 million

David Kordansky Gallery

Jonas Wood, DKG NPP #1 (2017), $275,000

Jonas Wood, DKG NPP #2 (2017): $275,000

Jonas Wood, Maritime NPP #8 (2017): $250,000

Jonas Wood, WKS NPP #6: $250,000

Bortolami Gallery
Richard Aldrich, Enter the Mirror, 2016 (2010): $100,000

Lesley Vance, Untitled, 2017: $75,000

Michel Francois, Instant Gratification, 2012: $60,000

Ivan Morley, A True Tale, 2017: $50,000

Spotted: Brad Pitt, Owen Wilson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Bay, Amar'e Stoudemire Chuck Close, Mark Bradford, Jorge Perez, Irma and Norman Braman, Dasha Zhukova


News You Need to Know
At about 6pm yesterday evening, phones buzzed and heads turned throughout the Miami Beach Convention Center as fairgoers were alerted to the news that the buyer for Leonardo da Vinci's $450 million dollar "Salvator Mundi" painting was none other than the Saudi prince, Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud.

Needless to say that this came as a shock to most attendees as most solid information had the buyer coming out of the tech industry in Silicon Valley (with Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos among the favorites). The Canvas even witnessed one astonished woman drop her Ruinart champagne glass in astonishment at the news. 

While word had begun to leak out at the beginning of the day- with the Louvre Abu Dhabi tweeting that the famous painting would be making a stop at the newly opened museum next year- most art world insiders were still scratching their heads by the time David D. Kirkpatrick broke the news for the New York Times via some impressive investigative reporting. 

The little-known Saudi prince isn't known to have any particular interest in art (Christie's lawyers engaged in some frantic, last-minute due diligence in the 48 hours before the sale) and it's not entirely clear where the source for his wealth stems from. Regardless, the young(ish) prince is now the proud owner of the most expensive piece of art ever to be sold. After he completes his six monthly payments of $58,385,416.67. [New York Times


Further Reading: Picture Edition
Couldn't make it down to Miami this year? The editors at ArtNews have put together a handy compilation of pictures from yesterday's VIP preview at Art Basel Miami Beach. Check out all the art here

Prada celebrated the opening of its new store in the Design District on Tuesday night. Guests included Victoria's Secret model, Adriana LimaRita OraMiuccia PradaRicky Martin and Wyclef Jean. The New York Times Styles section has all the glossy pictures here 

W Magazine and the ICA Miami hosted a dinner at a pretty glitzy private residence on South Beach. Boldfaced names included Stefano TonchiDiplo,Daniel ArshamPari EhsanJean Pigozzi, and Jeremy Scott. Scroll through all the BFA pictures here


Five Art Basel Miami Beach Booths You Need to See: Take Two

Gavlak Gallery (Booth F24)

Gladstone Gallery (Booth E5)

Paula Cooper Gallery (G10)

Van de Weghe Gallery (C7)

Sadie Coles HQ (Booth I7)

Art Basel VIP Preview - December 6th Edition


Art Basel Miami Beach VIP Preview Day One

Welcome to Miami
It's here. The private jets have landed, the VIP invitations have been sent out, and of course, the art itself has been installed.

Arguably the biggest week of the year for the art world has finally arrived, and The Canvas will be here chronicling all the important sales, juicy celebrity sightings, and need-to-know industry news throughout the week. We'll take you to the parties you weren't invited to and provide insight on which artists are receiving the most buzz from the top collectors in town.  

So grab a glass of champagne and keep your VIP passes close- it promises to be one very busy week. Happy Art Basel everyone! 


News You Need to Know
As you've probably heard by now, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has been under increasing pressure from a vocal minority to remove its Balthus painting, “Thérèse Dreaming”. A petition has been circling (currently with 9,300 signatures) due to the painting's depiction of a " young girl in a sexually suggestive pose".

Thankfully, museum leadership has stood strong and resisted said calls with Ken Weine, the Met's chief communications officer saying " Moments such as this provide an opportunity for conversation, and visual art is one of the most significant means we have for reflecting on both the past and the present and encouraging the continuing evolution of existing culture through informed discussion and respect for creative expression.” 

Pro tip: just because a work of art may depict sensitive or controversial subject matter, doesn't mean that the work of art in question should be censored, removed, or withdrawn from public discourse. Just ask Dana Schutz and the fine folk over at the Whitney. 


Revolving Door
Annette Kulenkampff is out at Documenta after this past year's disastrous budget overruns. The Art Newspaper has the full story here

Art in America has found its next editor in William S. Smith. ArtNews reported on the announcement yesterday morning. 

The Jewish Museum has suspended all ongoing projects with former deputy director, Jens Hoffman in the wake of the sexual harassment allegations that have been alleged against him. Julia Halperin of ArtNet has the full scoop here

Vanity Fair has cancelled a swanky Art Basel dinner it was intending to throw in Bruce Weber's honor this week after the famous photographer has been accused of forcing himself on a model. Page Six has the details


Further Reading
Nicole Berry, the recently promoted Armory Show director who rose to the position after Benjamin Genocchio was forced to resign after Robin Pogrebin's bombshell sexual harassment report for the NYT, has given her first interview to Sarah Douglas of ArtNews. It's definitely worth a read

Ryan McNamara has written what is perhaps the single greatest Art Basel Miami Beach 'guide' to ever grace The Canvas's eyes for If you only get to read one thing amidst the craziness and hype of today's sales, make it this.  

Kathryn Hopkins, writing for Women's Wear Daily, offers the requisite (albeit necessary) article on the mixing of the art, fashion, and real estate industries at this year's iteration of the fair. 

ArtNet News provides a look into how five "world-class" collectors prepare for Art Basel Miami Beach. While we definitely feel that they're playing fast and loose with the term "world-class", Henri Neuendorf's piece is worth a read nonetheless. 


5 Art Basel Miami Beach Booths You Need to See

Acquavella Galleries (Booth B3)

Metro Pictures (Booth E10) 

David Lewis Gallery (Booth N20) 

Sean Kelly Gallery (Booth D14)

Tyler Rollins Fine Art (Booth N27)

The 2017 Fall Auctions: Christie's Post-War & Contemporary Evening Sale- November 16th Edition

Auction Report: Christie's Auction for the Ages
No one could have predicted just how successful last night's sale would be when Christie's originally announced its gambit to place a da Vinci in its annual post-war & contemporary evening sale. But wow did that bet pay off. 

For the more detailed report on Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvaor Mundi' selling for a draw-dropping $450.3 million (with fees), please see below. Overall, the auction brought in $785.9 million dollars last night, with 84 percent of the 58 lots being sold. 

While there were some noticeable disappointments, such as a prominent Jean-Michel Basquiat failing to meet its reserve, the night was undoubtedly a smashing success for the house. Andy Warhol's "Sixty Last Suppers" sold for $60.8 million, an untitled Cy Twombly went for $46.4 million, and Rothko's "Saffron" was bought for $32.3 million

While Jerry Saltz may still be ranting and raving into his oatmeal this morning, we hear that the fine folks at Christie's are popping champagne corks. 

News You Need to Know
Praise the Lord: There's only one story in the art world today, and it's the one that made the covers of today's editions of both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. 

In a standing-room-only crowd at Christie's last night, a mysterious phone bidder represented by Alex Rotter, Christie’s co-chairman of postwar and contemporary art, placed the winning bid of $400 million dollars ($450.3 million with fees) for Leonardo da Vinci’s 'Salvator Mundi', beating out Francis de Poortere, Christie’s head of old master paintings.

The bidding lasted for a whopping 19 minutes with the crowd audibly gasping and applauding as the bidding crossed the $200 million and $300 million benchmarks. While the bidding slowed at times to $2 million increments, there were also wild jumps of $14 million, $10 million intended to stifle the competition. Clearly that strategy didn't really play out according to plan. 

With the crowd including such prominent names as Larry (Gagosian), David(Zwirner) and Marc (Hauser & Wirth), as well as Eli BroadMichael OvitzMartin Margulies, and Steve Cohen, last night's sale had a rock-star atmosphere to it. 

While many are praising Christie's superb marketing for the piece- a moving video, a world tour, extensive press coverage, and even hiring an outside advertising agency to coordinate it all- at the end of the day it came down to a simple supply and demand issue. Da Vinci may have been a prolific draftsman but there are very few paintings of his in existence today; and all of them are in museum collections. The sale of 'Salvator Mundi' offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance for some very lucky billionaire out there to make the ultimate statement purchase. 

And even though detractors have pointed to the abrasions on the surface of the painting and the controversial provenance (which we detailed in yesterday's edition), there was clearly enough anticipation and demand to propel the artwork to a price well past the $100 million guarantee attached pre-sale. After all, it was still a Leonardo da Vinci- which is exactly what Christie's top brass was banking on when they chose to place it in their post-war & contemporary sale. 

Ultimately there are only a handful of people in the world capable of dropping close to a half billion dollars on a work of art. While it's doubtful that the new owner will remain a secret for long, the question on everyone's mind today is "Who was on the other end of the line with Alex Rotter"

Further Reading
As always, we've included links to detailed recaps for last night's blockbuster sale so you can gain a full 360 degree perspective of how it's being covered in the major art world publications. Check out Judd Tully on his personal blog, Nate Freeman writing for ArtNews, Robin Pogrebin & Scott Reyburn for the New York Times, Sarah Hanson at The Art Newspaper, Eileen Kinsella for Artnet, and Kelly Crow for the Wall Street Journal. And if for some reason you're still left craving for more, you can even take a quick glance at Mark Beech's coverage for the laughable

The Jewish Museum has named its next chief curator with the announcement of Darsie Alexander. She takes over in March for Normal L. Kleeblatt, and has held former positions at the Katonah Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and MoMA. Alex Greenberger has more for ArtNews. 

James Tarmy at Bloomberg Pursuits came out with a fun piece comparing some of the works up for sale this week with various other items one could purchase if they felt so inclined. Items included a Gulfstream G500 jet instead of a Van Gogh, 111 Ferraris rather than a Basquiat (which happened to have gone unsold at Christie's last evening), or the entire 2017-2018 academic year's tuition, room, and board at Princeton. We'll let you decide which you would have gone with. 

For those of you who weren't on the guest list for Tuesday's annual Whitney Art Party (and who are more voyeuristically inclined), here's a link to the BFA pagewhere you can peruse the pictures from the glitzy affair. Boldfaced names included actress Zosia Mamet, model Ashley Graham, former NFL player Victor Cruz, and the usual art world glitterati. 

Openings & Current Exhibitions

Adam Putnam at PPOW Gallery (opens tonight) 

Lara Schnitger at Anton Kern Gallery (opens tonight) 

Thomas Struth at Marian Goodman Gallery

Alex Katz at Peter Blum Gallery 

Tips, feedback, news, comments, or just want to say hi?  Feel free to get in touch with us at 

The 2017 Fall Auctions: Sotheby's Impressionist & Modern Evening Sale- November 15th Edition

Auction Report: Sotheby's Solid in Second Night of Fall Sales
There are a lot of happy Chagall owners around the world this morning. 

While the new high for the artist ($28.4 million for 'Les Amoureux', a painting depicting the artist hugging his first wife, Bella Rosenfeld) is probably the biggest takeaway from last night's Impressionist & Modern Evening Sale at Sotheby's, it's certainly not the only story as we all sip our coffee this morning. 

Despite there being a certain feeling of lethargy in the room, there was definitely excitement buzzing on the phones. After losing out to a Russian bidder (also via phone) for the aforementioned Chagall piece, Sotheby’s Asia chairman, Patti Wong secured a remarkable number of lots for what by all accounts seemed to be a single buyer from China. 

Overall, the sale brought in a solid- though unspectacular- $269.7 million for the house; smack in-between the low estimate of of $204.1 million and the high estimate of $295.2 million. However, the sale did boast a very strong sell-through rate of 92 percent with 57 of the 64 lots finding buyers. 

It looks like we'll have to wait until the results of Sotheby's Post War & Contemporary sale on Thursday evening to truly judge how the house will fare this fall. But unless something goes horribly wrong with a certain Leonardo at 20 Rockefeller Plaza tonight, it appears as if Christie's will have more to celebrate come the weekend.  

News You Need to Know
Oh Jesus: Speaking of that Leonardo, there's only one piece of news that you need to know about for today. Jerry Saltz, in his incendiary piece for New York Magazine (and currently the third most viewed article on the site as of this writing) goes on a full-blown rant about how the painting bears little resemblance to the artist's original, both in technique and outcome. In fact, the article disparages Christie's for even presenting the work, since in Saltz's opinion, the offering is practically a counterfeit. 

While we at 'The Canvas' are certainly not art historians (and neither by his own admission is Saltz), we know enough to say that Christie's 'Salvator Mundi' can't be so easily dismissed out-of-hand. Words matter- especially when they're written for a more generalized audience like that of New York Magazine. And the word on the street is that there are a whole lot of staffers at the auction house who have taken significant umbrage at Saltz's piece. 

It'll definitely be interesting to see how this one plays out between the 250 year old auction house and the well known and widely read art critic. But one thing's for sure- assuming 'Salvator Mundi' does indeed find a new home tonight, it's highly unlikely that the buyer will be a regular New York Magazine reader. 

Further Reading
If you're looking for a more detailed play-by-play of last night's sale, check out Judd Tully's recap on his personal blog, Nate Freeman's report for ArtNews, or Bryan Boucher's piece for Artnet. 

New York judge Edgardo Ramos has ordered Mana Contemporary, the art storage facility based in New Jersey, to turn over the entire 1400 piece art collection belonging to the powerful Mugrabi family after the two parties became embroiled in a dispute over fees. James Miller has the full recap of the ongoing controversy for The Art Newspaper.

Andrew Chow, writing for the New York Times, announces that Olga Viso, the "embattled" leader of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis is stepping down after ten overwhelmingly successful years at the helm of the museum. 

Openings & Current Exhibitions

Douglas Gordon at Gagosian 

Lee Krasner at Paul Kasmin 

Brent Wadden at Mitchell-Innes & Nash (Opening November 17th)

Alison Elizabeth Taylor at James Cohan

Tips, feedback, news, comments, or just want to say hi?  Feel free to get in touch with us via 

The 2017 Fall Auctions: Christie's Impressionist & Modern Evening Sale- November 14th Edition

Auction Report: Christie's Begins the Week with Strong Sales
The 2017 fall auctions kicked off at Christie's last night with an impressive opening at the 250 year old auction house. The sale's total of $479.3 million beat the pre-sale high estimate of $476 million and sold through a very respectable 88 percent (60 of 68 lots on offer). 

While the mood in the room was mainly quiet, there were clearly a few moments that injected the crowd with excitement and anticipation. The sale's top lot was Vincent van Gogh’s 1889 landscape, “Laboureur dans un champ” which ended up selling for $81.3 million (with the buyer's premium) to a buyer represented by Rebecca Wei, the head of Christie's Asia. 

Other top lots included Fernand Léger’s 1913 piece from his “Contraste de formes” series which sold for $70.1 million (an all-time high for the artist) and Picasso’s 1954 canvas “Femme accroupie (Jacqueline)” which went for $37 million (both including fees). 

Overall it was a very successful night for Christie's, and one that top executives should be toasting to throughout the week. The total for the sale far surpassed previous years ($246.3 million in November 2016 for instance) and was the second highest for the Impressionist & Modern department in the house's history (second in place only to the famous November 2006 sale when Oprah bought that Klimt). The house continued to rely less on costly guarantees to secure consignments, six artist records were set, and the top ten lots all sold for over $10 million dollars a piece (with six going for over $20 million).

Sounds like good justification for Mimosas at 20 Rockefeller Plaza this morning. But let's see what Leonardo has to say on Wednesday night before we break out the champagne. 

News You Need to Know

Genocchio Out: As you by no doubt know, Ben Genocchio is out as director of The Armory Show after Robin Pogrebin's bombshell report in the New York Times. Armory Show management wasted no time in ousting the short lived director from their ranks. Reports of alleged sexual harassment go back as far as his time as editorial director at Louise Blouin Media. Deputy director, Nicole Berry has now assumed the mantle of NY's premier art fair. [New York Times]

Lost in The Berkshires: Massachusetts Appeals Court judge, Joseph Trainor put a stop to the planned sale of 40 works of art at Sotheby's this week- including a couple of multi-million dollar Norman Rockwells. While 'The Canvas' is sensitive to the difficulties propelling the Berkshire Museum board to sell its treasures and certainly wishes them well, we agree with His Honor that the art should remain in place for the time being. It is hoped that an amicable resolution is achieved by all parties in the near future. [Artnet News]

Frieze Doubles Down: The powers that be at Frieze decided that one day of catering to the one percent wouldn't suffice. So this year, lucky collectors will have a full second day to privately peruse the gallery's top tier offerings. While 'The Canvas' wonders why a working formula would be tampered with, we can attest to the preponderance of museum group tours that peppered the famous white tent at the 2017 iteration of the fair. Granted, those same tour groups were also the ones dodging the overhead leaks stemming from last year's infamous torrential downpour, but we digress... [ArtNews]

Further Reading
Susan Lehman writing for The New Yorker provides a few never-before-reported details in the Alec Baldwin/Mary Boone saga that was settled last week for seven figures. 

Who robs from a museum and then tries to mail the pieces back? That's what investigators are trying to piece together after two Carolee Schneemann photographs (reportedly valued at $105,000) were stolen from MoMA PS1 only to be mailed back a few days later. Any idea who the woman in the photograph is that the NYPD released? 

A must watch video from the Christie's marketing department featuring people's reactions to seeing Leonardo's 'Salvator Mundi' for the first time (keep your eyes out for a certain other Leo at around the 3:00 minute mark). 

Openings & Current Exhibitions

Martin Kippenberger at Skarstedt Gallery 

David Smith at Hauser & Wirth

Robert Bordo, Nancy Brooks Brody, Lena Henke, and Caitlin Keogh at Bortolami Gallery

Nina Chanel Abney at Jack Shainman Gallery

Tips, feedback, news, comments, or just want to say hi?  Feel free to get in touch with us via 

The The Canvas: Art Basel 2017 Public Opening: Sales, News, & Links- June 16th Edition


Art Basel 2017 Public Opening: Sales, News, & Links- June 16th Edition

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Art Basel Selected Sales from Public Opening

Metro Pictures:
A Robert Longo "Men in the Cities" work for around $500,000

An untitled Cindy Sherman piece for between $1 million and $1.5 million

David Kordansky Gallery:
Harold Ancart, Untitled, 2017: $95,000

John Armleder, Untitled, 2017: $150,000

Aaron Curry, Real Unreal, 2017: $180,000

Rashid Johnson, Untitled Escape Collage, 2017: $215,000

Jack Shainman:

Kerry James Marshall, Untitled (London Bridge), 2016: $2.5 million

Luxembourg & Dayan:

Maurizio Cattelan, Untitled, 2009: $1.5 million

Lisson Gallery:
Carmen Herrera, Untitled, 1949: $750,000

Stanley Whitney, Midnight Run, 2017: $120,000

Leon Polk Smith, Constellation T, 1968: $150,000


A Happy Market Makes for a Happy Summer: As the Vernissage ended, the private jets departed and Art Basel opened its doors to the public, it became increasingly clear that this year's fair was turning out to be something special. Blue-chip dealers were effusive in their praise for the Swiss iteration of the fair, seven-figure sales were seemingly being closed every other hour, and you could practically feel the optimism and momentum permeating throughout the aisles of the Messe Basel.  

Sarah Hanson (The Art Newspaper), Nate Freeman (ArtNews), Judd Tully (ArtInfo), Julia Halperin (ArtNet), and Alexander Forbes (Artsy) all ran articles for their respective outlets throughout the week that touted the strength of the fair and what it might portend for the overall market as we head into the summer and second half of 2017. 

As Ted Loos astutely pointed out in the New York Times, this year's fair comes amidst a 'once-in-a-decade' confluence of art events taking place on the Continent. Between "the every-other-year Venice Biennale (on view until Nov. 26); the every-five-years Documenta (through July 16 in Athens, and from June 10 to Sept. 17 in Kassel, Germany); and the every-10-years Sculpture Projects Münster (from June 9 in Münster, Germany)", collectors have a unique opportunity to see new works by some of the world's most prominent and important artists and then head straight to Art Basel to buy a piece or two for themselves. [The New York Times

Extra Reading
Judd Tully's recap from the third day of the fair strongly emphasizes the strength and momentum of the buying currently taking place. It can be found on his personal website,

Sarah Hanson describes the upbeat mood and positive outlook of the first two days of the fair over at The Art Newspaper. 

Ted Loos and Louis Lucero II offer their insights for the paper-of-record; with Loos covering the market and Lucero focusing on the Parcours sector. Both articles can be found in the Arts section of the New York Times. 

New York Museums June Openings
"Calder: Hypermobility" at the Whitney Museum of American Art, June 9th-October 23rd

"Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive" at MoMA, June 12th-October 1st

"American Visionary: John F. Kennedy's Life and Times" at the New York Historical Society, June 23rd- January 7th

"The Body Politic: Video from The Met Collection" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, June 20th- September 3

"Mystical Symbolism: The Salon de la Rose+Croix in Paris, 1892-1897 at the Guggenheim, June 30th-October 4th