Over the course of the next two weeks, in mighty New York, the art trade will see some truly world-class works of art come under the hammer. I am delighted to say that I shall be there for my first NYC trip in two years. Two outstanding single-owner collections will be sold: Christie’s Cox Collection and Sotheby’s Macklowe Collection. Running from this Tuesday 9th until the 19th November it promises to be 10 days of serious competition for museum-calibre works of art: from Gustave Caillebotte’s ‘Young man at a window’, which might just be the most important of all his flaneur-style paintings, to a sensational Mark Rothko, ‘No. 7’. I am told that the Caillebotte painting’s condition could be an issue but that will unlikely put off bidding from the great museum collectors of the Louvre Abu Dhabi or the Saudi royals (thought to be owners of that Leonardo picture!). To own a painting that adorns almost every Art book covering the period is quite a magnet.
Amongst the Cox highlights it is hard to ignore the Cezanne, Monet and Van Gogh(s) that form the backbone of a stunning array of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works. The Van Gogh portrait, whilst jarring in its intensity, is particularly fabulous. I may have been concerned a couple of years ago about changing tastes halting the market for such works, but I feel that the top, top names from this seminal period will always be collected. With new museums needing blue-chip names, over and above the NFT/Banksy/Graffiti tat on offer in Contemporary, I envisage the Cox collection doing extremely well.
It goes without saying that if one were to choose which period to offer for sale right now the number one choice would be top end post-war American Ab-Ex & Colour-field Art. Rothko, Pollock, Diebenkorn et al is to be offered at Sotheby’s through their consignment of the Macklowe collection. The cream of the crop, for me at least, is the Alberto Giacometti sculpture: ‘Le Nez’ – it is a toppy estimate at 70m USD but seriously, what a sensational work of art. Also worth mentioning the major Francis Bacon ‘Pope with Owls’ painting that is under the hammer at Phillips on 17th November.
The variation of works on offer in the multi-owner sales bear comparison with the single owner sales too, and I can’t wait to see how the market fares after a solid start in London last month. I just get the feeling that with Biden’s economic taps running free there may be multiple world records set next week and beyond.
As ever, if you are looking to buy high end works of art please do use an advisor, with decent trade and auction house experience, and don’t fall for those many art-buying pitfalls!
The sales and links are as follows: