2002 RESULTS FOR BIG AUCTION HOUSES Christie's and Sotheby's have both announced their 2002 results -- and the picture is mixed. Christie's is privately held and not required to state its annual profit or loss; nevertheless, the company announced worldwide sales for 2002 totaling 1.3 billion ($1.9 billion), "confirming the firm's position as the world's leading auction house." The total includes 80 million (ca. $120 million) in private sales. In all, 158 artworks sold for more than $1 million, with the top lot being Pablo Picasso's Nu au Collier, which sold last June in London for 15,956,650 ($23,919,018).
Geographically, sales in Europe totaled 572 million, slightly more than the 536 million registered in the U.S. Sales in Asia and Australia totaled 71 million. By department, the largest was Impressionist and modern, which totaled 287 million. Post-war and contemporary totaled 132 million, up 14 percent from the 2001 total of 117 million. Antiquities sales, which included the record-breaking Jenkins Venus, hit 17 million, an increase of 26 percent over 2001 levels.
Sotheby's announced total revenues of $345.1 million for 2002, compared to $336.2 million for the previous year. The net loss for 2002 is $54.7 million, rather more than last year's loss of $41.7 million. The unhappy results were in part due to a $20.1 million European Commission fine and a $20 million settlement of international antitrust litigation in the infamous price-fixing case. Excluding these and other one-time items, the company's 2002 loss would have been a more modest $3.8 million.
For the fourth quarter of 2002, Sotheby's reports total revenues of $124.3 million, up from $110.9 million the year previously. "We are very pleased with our fourth-quarter results, which showed revenues up 12 percent," said Sotheby's president William F. Ruprecht. "We achieved over $70 million in annual cost savings and we expect to achieve further savings in 2003."
Total auction sales at Sotheby's increased 10 percent to $1.8 billion for 2002, with $866.1 million of the total being recorded in North America. The company also announced plans to take a one-time restructuring charge of about $2 million in the first quarter of 2003 related to the discontinuation of online auctions on Sothebys.com, which end this May. Ruprecht said that the end of the firm's internet auction business would save the company approximately $8 million a year.
SOME HIGHS AT ASIAN AUCTIONS
Early results from this week's Asian art auctions at Christie's New York seem promising, a bit of a contrast to the pessimistic mood that prevailed as the sales approached [see "Asian Spring 2003," Mar. 17, 2003].
Christie's sale of Japanese and Korean art on Mar. 24 was 66 percent sold, with 199 of 302 lots selling for a total of $7,090,143 (including buyer's premium). The top lot was a 7th-century Seated Maitreya from the Paekche Kingdom, which sold to Eskenazi Ltd. for $1,575,500 (est. $1,200,000-$1,800,000), a world auction record for a Korean bronze. The second highest lot, Park Sookeun's Leisure Time (ca. 1950s), which sold for $1,127,500 (est. $250,000-$350,000), was an auction record for the artist and a record for a modern Korean painting. Kim Whanki's oil painting of White Porcelain Jars (ca. 1950s), which sold for $365,900 (est. $60,000-$80,000), also set a world record for the artist. Still another surprise came when a set of 50 ink paintings on silk of daily life done by the late 19th-century artist Kim Junkeun sold for $321,100, well above the presale high estimate of $70,000.
The sale of the collection of Japanese prints on Mar. 25 was 55 percent sold, with 209 of 421 lots finding buyers. The top price was $130,700 paid for Hiroshige's Fireworks, Ryogoku, well over the print's presale high estimate of $90,000.
Christie's sale of Chinese ceramics and works of art on Mar. 26 was 67 percent sold, with 198 of 295 lots finding buyers, for a total of $5,868,582. The top lot, a gray limestone figure of a Bodhisattva from the Tang dynasty in the 8th century, sold for $1,183,500, well over its presale high estimate of $600,000. The price was a world auction record for a Chinese Buddhist sculpture; the buyer was identified as "Asian private." Another top lot was a blue and white moon flask from the Qianlong period (1736-95) that soared above its $80,000 high estimate to sell for $220,300.
SCHOLL PHOTO COLLECTION ON TOUR
The collection of contemporary photographs and video assembled by Miami Beach collectors Debra and Dennis Scholl has long been known to cognoscenti as one of the best of its kind. Now, selections from the Scholl's holdings are on view in an exhibition organized by Baltimore's Contemporary Museum, where it debuted Jan. 11-Mar. 11, 2003. Titled "Imperfect Innocence: The Debra and Dennis Scholl Collection," the show next appears at the Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art in Lake Worth, Fla., Apr. 12-June 15, 2003. The list of artists featured in the show reads like a Who's Who of avant-garde art practice: Amy Adler, Doug Aitken, Janine Antoni, John Baldessari, Matthew barney, Uta Barth, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Jeff Burton, Miles Coolidge, John Coplans, Gregory Crewdson, Tacita Dean, Thomas Demand, Rineke Dijkstra, Willie Doherty, Stan Douglas, Olafur Eliasson, Naomi Fisher, Dara Friedman, Anna Gaskell, Robert Gober, Douglas Gordon, Dan Graham, Katy Grannan, Andreas Gursky, Zhang Huan, Gordon Matta-Clark, Mariko Mori, Bruce Nauman, Catherine Opie, Gabriel Orozco, Paul Pfeiffer, Richard Prince, Pipilotti Rist, Thomas Ruff, Gregor Schneider, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, Simon Starling, Thomas Struth, Hellen van Meene and Bettina von Zwehl. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue featuring essays by Nancy Spector, James Rondeau and Michael Rush, and an interview with Dennis Scholl by Gary Sangster.
MORE ART BENEFITS
News of two more art benefits have come floating over the transom since the Artnet News of two days ago. The White Columns 2003 Benefit Auction and Gala, Apr. 12, 2003, held at the gallery, features a live and silent auction, including donated artworks by a host of hip artists, from Vito Acconci, Eleanor Antin and Ricci Albenda to Leo Villareal, Lisa Yuskavage and Cheryl Yun. Bids can already be made on lots in the silent auction at the White Columns website. Tickets to the gala event start at $150; contact (212) 924-4212.
And the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program Benefit, Apr. 23, 2003, at the Whitney Museum, features cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and a silent auction of donated works by about 25 artists, including John Baldessari, Louise Bourgeois, Hans Haacke, Sarah Morris and Tom Otterness. Tickets begin at $300 ($100 for ISP alumni); contact (212) 243-7300.
ART DECO AT V&A
The current infatuation with collectible design is well served with the massive new "Art Deco 1910-1939" exhibition at London's Victoria and Albert Museum, Mar. 27-July 20, 2003. Billed as the first exhibition to explore Art Deco as a global phenomenon, the show includes more than 300 items -- architectural elements from the foyer of the Strand Palace Hotel, London, works from Jacques-Emil Ruhlmann's Art Deco Grand Salon at the 1925 Paris Exhibition, Cartier Art Deco jewelry and fashions by Jeanne Lanvin, Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaperelli, and paintings and sculptures by Fernand Léger, Sonia and Robert Delaunay, and Constantin Brancusi. The show, which is organized by Ghislaine Wood, is slated to appear at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (Sept. 15, 2003-Jan. 4, 2004), the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco (Mar. 13, 2004-July 5, 2004); and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Sept. 19, 2004-Jan. 9, 2005).
PARIS 1930 AT MAISON GERARD
Speaking of Art Deco, New Yorkers can run down to Maison Gerard at 53 East 10th Street to see "Paris 1930," an exhibition of some 50 pieces of furniture, lighting and decorative arts, including several pieces of furniture by Jules LeLeu and the firm Dominique, and 30 sand-blasted glass vases by Jean Luce. The exhibition, on view Mar. 27-Apr. 19, 2003, is organized by Benoist Drut and Gerard Widdershoven, owners of Maison Gerard.
BRIDGET RILEY RETRO AT THE TATE Tate Britain opens its survey of work by Op artist Bridget Riley, June 26-Sept. 28, 2003. Riley began making her disorienting black-and-white paintings in 1961, was included in the Museum of Modern Art's definitive "The Responsive Eye" exhibition of 1965 and won the international prize for painting at the Venice Biennale in 1968. The exhibition, which features over 60 paintings and is organized by Tate curator Paul Moorhouse in collaboration with the artist, includes a huge wall-drawing to be made by the 70-year-old artist onsite at the museum.
"BEYOND NATIVE SHORES" AT ADELSON GALLERIES
A wealth of 19th- and 20th-century American art is on view in "Beyond Native Shores: A Widening View of American Art, 1850 to 1975," Apr. 1-May 10, 2003, at the Adelson Galleries in the Mark Hotel on East 77th Street in Manhattan. "We feel this collection illustrates in a tangible fashion the history of the American artist as a traveler, always looking for new and relevant subjects," said Warren Adelson, president of the gallery. "Several paintings in the collection are from the families of the original owners and have never been exhibited before." Among the highlights in the show are Frank Benson's Impressionist Four Children at North Haven (ca. 1903-04), Marsden Hartley's Hall of the Mountain King (1908), Edward Hopper's Moonlight Interior (1921-23), Childe Hassam's The Sea (1892) and George Bellows' Summer City (1909). The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated color catalogue with an essay by Jay Cantor, director of the Mary Cassatt catalogue raisonné committee.
DESIGN AT MUSEUM FOR NAM JUNE
Registration has begun for an international competition to design the new Nam June Paik Museum in Kyonggi, Korea, a new institution that will not only hold the video pioneer's work but also serve a site for his future work. The new structure, underwritten by the Kyonggi Cultural Foundation and located next to the Kyonggi Provincial Museum, is to include exhibition spaces, a replica of the artist's studio and a site-specific artwork by the artist. The competition jury includes Arata Isozaki, Ricardo Scofidio and five other architects; for more info, go to www.njpmuseum.org.
BARD ANNOUNCES IRIS FOUNDATION AWARDS
The Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design and Culture has announced the seventh annual Iris Foundation Awards for Outstanding Contributions to the Decorative Arts. Winners are Hélène David-Weill, president of the Union Central des Arts Décoratifs and a boardmember at the Parsons School of Design, the New School for Social Research and the Bard Graduate Center; Simon Jervis, director of Historic Buildings of the National Trust in England; and Dr. Thomas P. Campbell, associate curator in the European sculpture and decorative arts department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and supervising curator of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center there. The special Charles Flint Kellogg Award from Bard College, honoring significant contributions to our artistic heritage, goes to Henry Luce III. The awards are to be presented at the St. Regis Hotel in New York on Apr. 10.
ARTIST LAUNCHES ROMANCE NOVEL SERIES
The indomitable artists' bookstore Printed Matter has launched a new "publishing program for emerging artists" (with funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs) and the first book in the series is a fascinating outlaw romance pot-boiler called The Baader-Meinhof Affair by Los Angeles artist Erin Cosgrove. The author plans seven works in the series in all, with the first -- depicting the unlikely amour between a student studying serial killers and a Baader-Meinhof aficionado -- billed as "at its core, a study in the unlawful roots of romance." The 284-page paperback, which has a picture of the author and romance novel star Fabio on its cover, sells for $14.95. Printed Matter has also mounted an exhibition devoted to the book, Mar. 8-Apr. 19, 2003.
NEW PHILLIE CURATOR
The Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia has appointed Brian Wallace as its new director of exhibitions. Formerly he was curator at the Bellevue Art Museum in Washington state.