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Headlines and Highlights: Week of March 8th

Headlines and Highlights: Week of March 8th
March 8, 2024
Keenan Flack

Christie’s and Sotheby’s London Sales Display Mixed Results


Sotheby's London garnered £100 million ($126.6 million) from a somewhat subdued modern and contemporary art evening sale, including the The Now auction of ultra-contemporary works. While achieving close to its presale low estimate before fees, the event was neither a resounding success nor a failure, showing a steady, if cautious, market. Top prices were fetched by established artists, but significant excitement was generated by several newcomers, particularly female artists, with records set by Takako Yamaguchi and Rebecca Warren, and notable sales for Jadé Fadojutimi and Emma Webster. 

Study of George Dyer, Bacon

Despite a low proportion of guaranteed works, the Sotheby’s auction saw a few sparks of intense bidding, notably for Francis Bacon's "Study of George Dyer," which sold for £6.8 million ($8.7 million), and Françoise Gilot's portrait from Arianna Huffington's collection, achieving four times its estimate at £723,900 ($918,774). The sale, marked by international participation from 41 countries, reflects a cautious optimism in the recovering art market.


Christie's recent London auction underscored its market dominance, generating £196.7 million ($251.8 million), a significant leap from last year's £128 million ($163.9 million). The event was highlighted by Francis Bacon's "Landscape near Malabata, Tangier" fetching £19.63 million ($24.9 million) as the top lot. With 87 offerings, 69 lots sold, demonstrating a strong 79% sell-through rate. Despite withdrawing 7 lots, Christie's exceeded presale estimates, reflecting the auction's robust performance. 

Landscape near Malabata, Tangier, Bacon

Notably, 25 lots were guaranteed, with a whopping 61% of the presale low estimate covered by third-party guarantees. Additionally, the auction set new records for women artists, including Allison Katz and Jadé Fadojutimi, showcasing a growing recognition of female talent in the art market.

Collectible Happenings

Iowa women's basketball star Caitlin Clark signs a landmark multi-year deal with Panini America for trading cards and memorabilia, marking the company's first exclusive partnership with a female athlete. This collaboration, highlighting Clark's significant achievements and her status as a generational talent, will launch with a special collection celebrating her as the all-time leading scorer in women's college basketball, with pre-orders expected in April. SICOLLECTS

Author Neil Gaiman sat down with Heritage Auctions before the sale of his collection to talk about collecting and what the pieces mean to him. YOUTUBE

Photographer Michael J. Le Brecht has sued both Upper Deck and Fanatics on copyright infringement, he has alleged that the trading card companies have used his iconic photo of Lebron dunking. TWITTER

The Frida Kahlo Corporation (FKC) filed lawsuits against online sellers for counterfeiting its trademarks on Frida Kahlo products, demanding $2 million per infringement or all associated profits. The lawsuit, aimed at protecting the iconic artist's image, claims these sellers are part of an interconnected network using "fictitious names" to evade legal action and sell counterfeit items. ARTNET

Heritage Sports has announced reaching $1 Billion in total sales since opening the department in 2004. YOUTUBE

MeiGray is running three auctions for practice and photo-shoot worn jerseys from Islanders and Devils players during the Stadium Series. MEIGRAY

Adweek highlights how Topps and Fanatics are leveraging nostalgia and name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals, featuring athletes across generations like LeBron James and his son Bronny, to connect with both millennial collectors and younger demographics. These efforts aim to expand the sports trading card market, currently valued at $12.9 billion, by tapping into the memories of older fans while building new ones with younger audiences. ADWEEK

A JMW Turner watercolor, bought for £100 at a clearance sale, has been identified as the artist's early work and set for auction with a £20,000–£30,000 estimate. The painting, once unknown and hung in a dining room, was authenticated through Tate's Turner Bequest, showcasing Turner's architectural draughtsmanship from his tours around Britain starting in 1791. ARTNEWS

Guy Wildenstein, a prominent French-American art dealer, has been found guilty of tax fraud by a Paris appeals court, concluding a lengthy legal battle over accusations of concealing artworks to evade inheritance taxes. Wildenstein, 78, president of Wildenstein & Co. in New York, received a four-year prison sentence for what prosecutors have called "the most sophisticated tax fraud" in modern France, involving artworks hidden across various countries and entities. ARTNEWS

Altan Insights has partnered with Styr Trade on a blog post outlining interesting sneaker trades from the last year. ALTAN INSIGHTSSTYRTRADE

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