Circle billionaire art collectors as Megabucks masterpieces go to auction

The pillars of the art market are said to come down to the three elements: Death, divorce, or religion. In these dramatic instances of turnaround, financial risk, or both, old collectors are more motivated to unload their merchandise, and when they do, the results can be astounding.

In May, Sotheby’s scored a big win at the Macklowe Collection auction, a sale made possible by real estate developer Harry Macklowe’s separation from his wife linda. McCullough, who had no prenuptial agreement, had been married for nearly 60 years and their divorce was bitter: Linda’s legal team claimed her ex-husband, who was also bombing for his French lover’s Park Avenue apartment, had not. pay taxes since the eighties.

On the selling power of just 65 pieces, including the $61 million Bullock and $48 million Rothco, the McCullough collection has become the go-to. the most expensive Ever up for auction: By the way, Sotheby’s did $922.2 million in sales. Charles Stewart, CEO of Sotheby’s He said at that time.

McCullough’s divorce also produced some hilariously messy rich behaviour. Years before the sale, Harry McCullough paid for it 42-foot billboards in Times Square From the faces of his mistress-turned-wife Patricia Lando. If that doesn’t send a message, I don’t know what to do.

When major art auctions like the Macklowe dump loom on the horizon, the world’s richest and most discerning collectors are sure to be willing to descend on merchandise with as much focus and financial firepower as they can muster. Whether it’s with the help of in-house auction specialists or independent technical advisors, headline-worthy acquisitions are to be expected, which means that the blue blood in the art world begins to flow hard.

Christie’s presents this NovemberInsight: Paul G. Allen Collection,A massive compilation of over 150 works owned by the late Microsoft co-founder, the treasures included are a doozy: Gustav Klimt’s birch forestan autumnal landscape from 1903 valued at more than $90 million, is available to grab, as is the Paul Cézanne landscape estimated to sell for nearly $100 million.

Birch Forest, 1903, by Gustav Klimt (1862-1918).

Diagostini / Getty

Finally, the auction is expected to receive Unprecedented 1 billion dollars, which would break the record set earlier this year by the Macklowe group and become a massive feather in Christie’s hat. With these kinds of goodies hanging in front of them, wealthy buyers are ready to beat themselves up in order to get in on the action.

When it comes to Cézanne, the buyer who could get the first Allen award may not be an individual at all. In 2012, as part of an effort to make the nation an international center for the arts, Qatar spent More than 250 million dollars card players. More recently, Cézanne’s 1895 . piece the space Sold for $41.7 million at Sotheby’s after it was spoiled by the Toledo Museums of Art in Ohio, but its buyer didn’t been detected.

It’s unclear if the Allen Collection will beat the American artist’s auction record, as a Jasper Johns (American artist, obviously) poster is estimated to sell for about 50 million dollars. However, it seems likely that Jasper Johns’ personal auction record will almost certainly disappear, as most of Johns’ work that has been auctioned in the past has been $36 million in 2014.

In October, Christie’s also presents “The Ann and Gordon Getty GroupAn astonishingly huge sale of nearly 1,500 works of fine and decorative art plucked from the couple’s home. Gordon Getty is the son of a billionaire oil baron J. Paul GettyAnne, who died in 2020, was the grandmother of their San Francisco mansion, which was filled with 18th-century Chinese wallpaper and opulent chandeliers.

This summer, Sotheby’s also launched its first Auction in Singapore In 15 years, it heralds the growing strength of the art market in Southeast Asia; More notable auctions in the area are sure to follow.

In the fall, the eyes are specially trained on things like 18th century painting The entrance to the Grand Canal is facing east by Canaletto from Getty Groupas well as the superlative Gerhard Richter painting It is on display at Sotheby’s Hong Kong and is expected to sell for a higher appreciation of HK$235 million (about US$30 million).

Many of these collectors don’t need these artworks, they just have to own them.

Matthew Capasso

“These are cultural prizes, and they’ve really become a kind of troubling contest,” Matthew Capasso, director of Gurr Johns Capital, an independent art advisory and art lending firm, told The Daily Beast. “A lot of these collectors don’t need these works of art, they should just have them. It’s something they put on their metaphorical mantle, and it’s really their third ski home in Gstaad. They can say, ‘I got a Seurat from Allen’s sale,'” and all his buddies in Davos or wherever they can say, “Oh, that’s cool.”

In general, there are no mega collectors interested in multi-million dollar paintings on the auction floor when bidding is happening. The agent uses the auction paddle on their behalf, or they speak directly to the auction house employee who was on the phone with them during the sale. As directed by the buyer, auction house staff will interfere with bids or withhold if the price goes up too much. Bidders still choose to place their bets online, where anonymity is further guaranteed.

Entrance to the Grand Canal, eastward with Santa Maria della Salute, by Canaletto.

Carl Kurt/AFP via Getty

The highest price reached for an American artwork was set at auction in May when Christie’s sold it to Warhol’s auction Shot Blue Marilyn Toward 195 million dollars. This treasure was snatched up by the scion of a huge gallery Larry Gagosian, who had previously sold the same Work in 1986. Gagosian is as much a buyer as he is a seller – his personal group It includes everyone from Cy Twombly to Jeff Koons – so you can always count on him a lot to be represented in the auction arena.

Hilde Lynn Helfenstein, artist and curator, runs the widely acclaimed art world Instagram account jerrygogosian; In the event that a critic becomes an institutionally certified tastemaker, Hilfenstein has sponsored “Suggested Followers: How the Algorithm is Always RightA forthcoming digital sale in partnership with Sotheby’s.

They are investors, they are hungry and they have the money for it and they want it. We shouldn’t underestimate it at all.

Hilda Lynn Helfenstein

As for the buyers who will come out, Helphenstein said real estate belonging to the artists represented at auction and millions of Americans will always have good chances of winning their lot. “Right now, as of today, the Asian art market is stronger financially than the European market,” Helfenstein told The Daily Beast.

“A global art consultant with offices in New York and Hong Kong has told me that the collectors I work with now in Asia are similar to the collectors I have been working with for 20 years in New York,” Hilfenstein told The Daily Beast. “They invested, they are hungry and they have the money for it and they want it. We shouldn’t underestimate it at all.”

In fact, Asian buyers made up 31 percent of Christie’s total sales in 2021, and Asian buyers bought or offered 46 percent of Sotheby’s stakes that ended up selling for more than $5 million, Bloomberg mentioned in january.

Among these notable buyers is a billionaire pier chinwho has amassed an impressive collection over the decades and sold his $11.4 million wine collection with Sotheby’s in 2021, and Adrian Cheng, a Hong Kong-based developer who is among youngest billionaires In the world. But you can also expect from Silicon Valley entrepreneurs like Marc Andreessen and luxury giants like Bernard Arnault and Gustavos A. Cisneros Be in the mixbased on their enthusiastic and frequent market participation.

“In recent seasons, in terms of collecting, Asia can account for between 25 percent and 50 percent of a masterpiece’s sale,” Max Carter, vice president of 20th and 21st century art at Christie’s told The Daily Beast. “There is a very high interest in certain great old artists of Asia. But then, the Asian audience also responds to the great American artists, the greatest impressionists, and the early post-war artists, all of whom are represented [in the Paul Allen sale]. So we will be sending a strong batch of masterpieces to Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taiwan to make sure we respond to that audience.”

After the pieces are acquired at auction, any number of things can happen to art. It can be immediately turned into a private collection and displayed, locked for decades in someone’s personal storage slot, taken to a museum, or used as a bargaining chip in a high-stakes deal. But the public in general has restricted access to this information by design – which is why it has happened like this when some paintings appear at auction after being hidden far from the world for decades. The very wealthy are also very private.

The world of art coexists with the world around it in some ways, not in others. Higher inflation and interest rates mean that for most collectors who have art that might be looking to give them away, “this is not a great time to have people sell really important pieces of art,” Benjamin Goodsell, auction house specialist and private art consultant, told The Daily Beast .

“But for something like selling Paul Allen, no matter what the real economy does on the ground, when there are opportunities to buy potentially once-in-a-lifetime or close to private photos, people who have the means are likely to keep stretching for that business. Because it might be their only chance to do so, Goodsell said.

That’s the allure of a no-holds-barred, winner-takes-all auction environment: There are winners and there are losers, and generally, people understand this, Goodsell said.

“In terms of how relationships are affected, that’s definitely something to play with in terms of whether or not you’re showing work from a sought-after gallery in the primary market,” Goodsell said. “I would certainly be irritated by fairs that don’t give me and my clients a chance to get something, even if it is in high demand, while at the auction house, that is what it is. It is the raw, unfettered market.”

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