Art Basel Bursts with Big-Ticket Offerings from Moore to Magritte

  • June 11, 2013 21:55

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Art Basel 2013, Unlimited, Impression
Courtesy of Art Basel

Following a heady series of auctions in New York totaling $1.1 billion, Art Basel now has another $2.2 billion worth of 20th-century and contemporary art for sale from about 300 galleries.

The Swiss fair has ushered in VIP previewers and is open through June 16. Among the highlights is Ellsworth Kelly's Dark Red Curve at Matthew Marks. Robert Mnuchin has a 1983 Willem de Kooning abstract, “Untitled,” offered at $8.5 million.

Some of the other big-ticket items offered include Rene Magritte's surrealist canvas of 1960, “Un peu de l’ame des bandits” (A Little of the Spirit of Bandits), priced at $12.5 million.

Marian Goodman booth at Art Basel 2013.
Courtesy of Art Basel

A red marble Henry Moore sculpture “Reclining Interior Oval,” priced around $10 million, at Marlborough, measures 7 feet wide.

Works by Alexander Calder, Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso and Frank Stella, priced between $4 million and $7 million, will be offered by New York dealer Dominique Levy, according to Bloomberg.

First time exhibitor Howard Greenberg Gallery of New York City is showing works by leading photographers of the 20th and 21st centuries, from Edward Weston to Richard Avedon. William Klein, who trained with Fernand Léger, is represented with early black and white fashion photographs taken for Vogue in the 1960s, and his painted contacts -- enamel painting on blown-up contact sheet outtakes from the 1960s through 1990.

New York Times writer Nicolai Hartvig points out that this year's fair may underline "the pressures of an art world in transition." Smaller and mid-sized galleries now race to keep up with ever-growing fair schedules and gallery operation costs while the largest galleries cruise forward on blue-chip artworks bought by billionaire clients.

The top 5 percent of dealers could now account for more than half the market’s overall value, according to economist Clare McAndrew's report for the European Fine Art Fair in March.

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