It must have been Spring 2020 when I watched a Sotheby’s auction on YouTube for the first time. The auctioneer was Oliver Barker from London, UK, and he opened with the words: „Welcome to Sotheby’s.“
And in the live chat, a handsome gay guy commented, „Welcome to my bedroom, Mr. Barker.“
Well, while not the epitome of class, I choose it as a captivating introduction for my article about the auction of the Emily Fisher Landau collection held yesterday evening in New York City.
Furthermore, it stresses the magnetic presence and performance of this charismatic auctioneer.
An auction is not just a lil bid about action, positive drama, and entertainment as well; precisely this is a significant part of it, whether dealing with cattle or art.
Today is about art, and yesterday was a noteworthy day, a wonderful night.
The first evening auction I’ve ever attended, and I express a big „thank you“ – Sotheby’s knows why … Oliver Barker was the auctioneer, and everything went smoothly.
Emily Fisher Landau, “an era defined”, – to use the title used for the auction, was a female art patron with her own museum, who died this year at the age of 102 in Palm Beach, Florida.
These American lady had a fantastic art collection, including the biggest American contemporary and modern art player. And not exclusively; the first lot was one by the German painter Josef Albers, born in Bottrop, later moved to New Haven. „Homage to the Square: Yellow Resonance“ was estimated between 1,500,000 – 2,000,000 and performed well.
The surprising artwork was one by Agnes Martin, Lot No 8, which doubled its estimate to 1,600,000. Other works by this artist in the size the sold lot had are a rare find, but you’ll get lucky in finding them in two museums in the US: one in New York, East Coast, the other one in San Francisco, West Coast.
Not so surprising was the Picasso, Lot 10, which was „estimated upon request.“ Pablo Picasso ist eine Bank im internationalen Kunstmarkt! Höchstpreise! Chapeau! The painting, inspired by Picasso’s young blonde lover Thérèse Walter, sold for 121,000,000 (without tax).
Buy me an island! five to ten ranches with horses and happy cows in the American Countryside!
A significant Picasso in strong and clear colors.
Other masterpieces, all by Americans, including Andy Warhol, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jasper Johns with his double American flag, Calder, Indiana, more.
And I love to mention Ed Ruscha, who is one of my 5 all-time favorites. He becomes more and more unattainable. Three works by him were in yesterday’s Emily Fisher Modern Evening Auction, the first part of the Auction Trilogy, which sold for 6,000,000, 13,000,000, and 39,000,000 million dollars (with tax).
In total, the auction, consisting of 31 lots, generated 406.4 million.
Stay tuned! To be continued.
The 2nd and 3rd parts of the auctions will take place on November 13th and 15th in New York. A consolation, if you can’t join it in person, is that there might be the possibility to join the auction online. Whether you choose to read the comments there or not.
I by myself like New York a lot-lot, but might stay, this time, home, in LA. On the other hand you never know. Sometimes life’s an auction, too.