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"Confident" Atmosphere Boosts Sales at Art Basel Preview

"Confident" Atmosphere Boosts Sales at Art Basel Preview

David Hockney's 2006 landscape "Between Kilham and Langtoft" sold at the Richard Gray booth for $1.8 million.


December 02, 2010

MIAMI—If the opening hours of the ninth edition of Art Basel Miami Beach are any indication, the market for modern and contemporary art is back in shape after the recession that began in 2008. Top collectors like Marty Margulies, Norman Braman and Douglas Cramer were to be seen making the rounds of the fair’s booths today.

“The quality is better than ever before,” said collector Alberto Mugrabi.

“The mood is good, if not ebullient,” said art lawyer Thomas Danziger. “Our clients feel optimistic.”

At New York gallery Cheim & Read, Adam Sheffer, a partner in the gallery, said the fair’s sales are proceeding in a fashion similar to those at FIAC, the October fair in Paris. Which is to say that instead of the gangbusters opening day frenzy Miami became known for in the heyday of the market boom, Sheffer expects sales this year to be steady over the course of the fair. In the first few hours, the gallery parted with a new Jack Pierson wall-bound word sculpture spelling out the words “The Modern,” for $175,000, an abstract Louise Fishman painting for $100,000, and a whimsical 2008 baby blue bronze Donald Baechlor sculpture of flowers — number three in an edition of eight — for $150,000. Sheffer singled out Pierson as an undervalued artist whose word sculptures were in high demand, even in the depths of the recession.

London’s White Cube saw steady sales throughout the day, for artists including Raqib Shaw, Andreas Gursky, Gary Hume and Damien Hirst; a shiny Hirst gem cabinet, priced at £2.35 million, is on reserve.

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