What Sold on Day One at Frieze London 2015
Most blue chip galleries reported a flurry of sales minutes into the preview.
With the queue to access the preview of Frieze London at the coveted 11 a.m. slot stretching all the way towards the entrance of the park, the hotly anticipated 13th edition of the London fair got off to a great start. Or did it?
In terms of attendance at least, there is little doubt that each successive edition of the fair is more successful than the year before. Perhaps even too much so for its own good. Many collectors complained about the queue to the supposedly exclusive early viewing, huffing and puffing as the crowds trundled towards the tent’s doors. Others took a more practical approach. “I saw the queue and decided to start by Frieze Masters instead, and come back to Frieze London later,” Turin-based super collector Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo told artnet News. Norwegian collectors Venke and Rolf Hoff, from KaviarFactory, also seemed slightly overwhelmed by the crowds.
But the hordes did translate into a flurry of early sales for many blue chip galleries. London’s White Cube—which barely ten minutes into the preview was packed with people, including actor Benedict Cumberbatch and his wife, Sophie Hunter—sold a new work by Damien Hirst, entitled Holbein (Artist’s Watercolours) and with a price tag above $1.2 million, within the hour. Another canvas by Hirst, Super Centre (2014) also sold during the first hours, proving that the notorious YBA is ripe for a comeback, and that his new museum Newport Street Gallery is helping to rekindle his market. White Cube also sold works of heavy weights like Andreas Gursky, Antony Gormley, Theaster Gates, and Christian Marclay in the first hours.
At Hauser & Wirth, an unusual grid display—in which dozens of sculptures by gallery artists were displayed on plinths—was commanding the public’s attention, distracted only by the presence of Princess Eugenie, trying to fulfil her duties as associate director of the gallery while posing demurely and politely for the paparazzi. Sales during the first hours of the fair included works by Isa Genzken, Martin Creed, Hans Josephsohn, Takesada Matsutani, Gottfried Gruner, and Djordje Ozbolt. A work by Larry Bell changed hands for $135,000, while a new sculpture by Phyllida Barlow sold for £25,000.
Over at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, things were looking rather peachy. By Tuesday afternoon, an Alex Katz painting, Road (2015), had sold for a price in the region of $400,000. A large drawing by Robert Longo changed hands for $650,000, while Tony Cragg’s sculpture Runner sold for €300,000. Nearby, Sturtevant’s Warhol Licorice Marilyn (2004) found a new owner for $250,000.
Collectors like Valeria Napoleone, Eskandar and Fatima Maleki, and Anita Zabludowicz were spotted scanning the booths, as were Candida Gertler from the Outset Contemporary Art Fund, the director of Tate, Nicholas Serota, uber-curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Simon and Michaela de Pury. The mood on the aisles was enthusiastic, with many dealers waxing lyrical about the diversity of collectors descending upon Regent’s Park from all four corners of the world.
Galerie Max Hetzler reported a slew of sales in the first day, including Raymond Hains‘s Il est recommandé de fermer la pochette avant de frotter l’allumette (1968), which sold for €70,000 to a European collector, Albert Oehlen’s Untitled (Baum 31) (2015), which sold for €450,000 to London-based collectors, and Günther Förg‘s Untitled (2008), which sold for €300,000 to an Asian collector looking to buy works by established artists from Germany and France.
At London’s Victoria Miro, the irresistible appeal of Spanish sensation Secundino Hernández was in full swing. A couple of hours into the preview, five of his stunning, large-scale abstract paintings, with prices ranging from £25,000 to £75,000, have been sold to public museums and foundations, according to a gallery spokesperson. A significant remark, since it’s been often mentioned that Hernández’s appeal for private collectors didn’t extend to the institutional world.
At Lisson Gallery, Ai Weiwei was benefiting from his fantastic blockbuster exhibition, running concurrently at the Royal Academy of Arts. Ai’s Iron Root (2015) sculpture sold for around €500,000 to a Middle Eastern client. Meanwhile, a large diptych by Richard Long of china clay on linen mounted on plywood sold for £100,000-200,000, while a silkscreen on linen by Allora & Calzadilla sold in the region $100,000-200,000. A large painting by Stanley Whitney sold for around $85K, with other few smaller works left on reserve at the end of the first day.
Nearby, David Zwirner, which had presented a stunning and subtle booth, began the preview selling Chris Ofili‘s Midnight Cocktail for $750,000, as well as a number of works by Carol Bove, Marlene Dumas, and Wolfgang Tillmans. Los Angeles-based David Kordansky sold all the works in its Mary Weatherford dedicated booth by Tuesday noon, with prices in the range of $125,000-215,000. All the works went to institutions, according to a representative of the gallery.
At São Paulo’s powerhouse Galeria Fortes Vilaça, two works by the young Brazilian painter Marina Rheingantz sold in the range of $6,000-10,000, while a 2006 photograph by Mauro Restiffe, Mirante #2, sold for a price between $30,000-40,000. Brazilian galleries were indeed in top form at the start of the fair. Vermelho reported the sale of Lia Chaia’s Transfusion G duplo (3), which was bought by a UK-based collector for $5,000, and of Odires Mlaszho’s book-based piece Martindale – Hubbell, international law directory, 1991 for £10,000.
Martin Aguilera, head of sales of the Brazilian blue-chip Mendes Wood DM, was positively beaming by lunch time. The generous booth of the São Paulo gallery made a strong bid for French artist Neil Beloufa, and it had certainly paid off. The large-scale video installation The Office (2015) had sold for €40,000, another sculpture had changed hands for the same amount, and two smaller sculptures, also by Beloufa, had found new owners, at €12,000 a pop. A beautiful and subtle wall-based sculpture by Paloma Bosquê also sold for $12,000, while a small painting on wood by the coveted Brazilian artist Celso Renato was on reserve for €65,000. “We want to make sure we place it in a good collection or museum,” Aguilera told artnet News. “Renato’s body of work is small, so it’s important for us to care of it.”
A similar sentiment was echoed by Ricky Manne at Marianne Boesky Gallery, which had a gobsmacking trio of large-scale Frank Stella works on display, Suchowola I, II, and III, superb hybrids of painting and sculpture dating to 1973 and selling together for a combined price tag of $5 million. “We’ve had offers today, but we really want to make sure they go to the right place, whether a public museum or private foundation,” Manne told artnet News. Meanwhile, five works by Donald Moffett, also inhabiting a beguiling realm between sculpture and painting, had sold for prices between $65,000-85,000 each, while another one was placed on reserve. “We’re done here!,” joked Manne halfway through the first day.
The collector David Roberts, whose space DRAF has one of the most dynamic and respected artistic programs in the city, was also very active during the first hours of the preview via the director and curator of his foundation, Vincent Honoré. Honoré bought works for the collection by Jimmie Durham (at Mexico’s Kurimanzutto, for €35,000), Thea Djordjadze (at Sprüth Magers, for €28,000), Harold Ancart (at CLEARING), Bernd and Hilla Becher (also at Sprüth Magers), and Frank Auerbach (at Marlborough), whose market is experiencing a surge coinciding with his superb retrospective at Tate Britain.
Sprüth Magers had got off to a very strong start. Besides the works sold to David Roberts Art Foundation, the Berlin and London gallery sold a Thomas Scheibitz painting for €35,000 to a US collector, another Djordjadze painting for €28,000, and two additional sculptures by Djordjadze for €24,000 and €26,000, to a US-based collector and a European collector, respectively. The gallery also sold a selection of digital print-based works by Ryan Trecartin, ranging from $18,000 to $45,000.
Parisian gallerist Kamel Mennour certainly pleased the crowds during his London debut with a fantastic booth dedicated to French sensation Camille Henrot. The works on display—gathered under the title “Minor Concerns” and done in preparation for Henrot’s forthcoming takeover of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris in 2017—included a large group of watercolors and a stunning large bronze sculpture of Modernist overtones, which sold for €200,000 to a European collector. “I’m really happy,” beamed Mennour on the second day, when a number of the works had already found new homes, including a large watercolour displayed on an easel for €60,000. “Frieze London is really different to FIAC, there really is an international crowd here, and the response to Camille’s works has been outstanding.”
Amid the blue chip furore, smaller galleries experienced slow (but steady) starts. London’s The Approach sold an eye-catching mirrored glass sculpture by Gary Webb in the shape of a palm tree for £18,000, while Laura Bartlett sold a large painting by Alex Olson for $42,000 and a blackboard work by young Berlin-based artist Sol Calero for £6,000. Madrid’s MaisterraValbuena sold a photo by Maria Loboda, a sculpture by B.Wurtz from 1979 and two works by Néstor Sanmiguel Diest, all in the range of €3,000-15,000.
Meanwhile, at the Focus section, which showcases young galleries, Carlos/Ishikawa had sold a number of cushion-sculptures by Ed Fornieles, in the range of £6,000-12,000, an Instagram-based piece also by Fornieles, for £7,000, and a photograph by Marie Angeletti for £5,500.
By the second day, New York-based gallerist Simone Subal had sold all the displayed works by the young artist B. Ingrid Olson, with prices ranging between $4,000 and $4,500, and had had a number of conversations with institutions about Kiki Kogelnik, of whom she was exhibiting two paintings, Hi ($32,000) and Green Machine ($78,000), as well as the one of Kogelnik’s brilliant Hangings ($72,000). “It’s going really well,” Subal, who is participating in Frieze London for the second time, told artnet News. “I have sold mostly to new clients, from America, Italy, and France, which is really exciting.”
For more on Frieze Week, see our Top 10 Booths at Frieze London 2015, our Insider’s Guide to the Best and Worst of London’s Frieze Week 2015 and be sure to make use of artnet News’ 5 Tips for Every Art Fairgoer. Also, see photos from Ken Kagami’s saucy fair intervention, as well as the top booths at Frieze Masters. Stay on top of your game with artnet News’ 15 Artists To Watch at Frieze London 2015.
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