Paris is in the process of once again becoming, with dizzying speed, a major hub for the global art market. On 26 January 2022 an announcement was made by the organizers of Art Basel that they would be taking over as the international contemporary art fair that takes place every autumn in the French capital and will be replacing the Fiac; news that was a bombshell on a global scale.
Art Basel and Design Miami
This was followed by the announcement of the installation of the Design Miami fair, which will also be happening at the same time in Paris. For collectors, the main consequence of this new geostrategy focused on France is an extension and greater range of artistic offerings.
It’s already begun, since the standard on display at the exhibitions showing in galleries is exceptional. Not to mention Richard Serra at Gagosian Le Bourget (See here a video in the space), or Anselm Kiefer in Pantin (See here his interview at the Grand palais Ephémere) on a less gigantic scale, there is the Italian artist based in New York, Francesco Clemente (born in 1952), who has just inaugurated an exhibition near Beaubourg in the Passage Sainte Avoye on the site of the former Levy-Gorvy gallery, now the LGDR gallery, composed of a fresco, paintings and drawings by the artist who was friends with the creators of Arte Povera and also Andy Warhol.
Vanitas and Indian Art
He has revitalized his flair in spectacular fashion, with stunning paintings of winter flowers based on vanitas works made by old masters, but also very sensual works on paper inspired by Indian art, among other things (See here an other interview of Francesco Clemente).
It’s not by chance that LGDR have chosen Paris as a place to display the new work of one of their star artists. It is also here that they have decided to launch their new consortium.
The four partners, Dominique Levy (See here an other interview of Dominique Levy), Brett Gorvy (See here and here an other interview of Brett Gorvy), Amalia Dayan and Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn (See here an other interview of Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn), who are all based in New York, already have a long curriculum vitae in public sales and contemporary art galleries. LGDR have yet to release the list of artists they will be representing. “Around 25 names,” is what they say together in an exclusive video interview.
Carol Rama, Pierre Soulages, Lisa Brice
However they state that next in their programme there will be an exhibition staged in Paris on Carol Rama (1918-2015) (See here a report about Carol Rama), the fascinating surrealist from Turin who is also showing this year at the Venice Biennale, and in Hong Kong Pierre Soulages (born in 1919), the venerated master of French abstraction, but also in the younger generation, the high-profile South African painter Lisa Brice (born in 1968) in New York in the spring.
“We will also be demonstrating agility with specific projects in temporary sites”. The idea for this “talent pact” according to the term they use, came to them at the height of the public health crisis while they were on holiday together.
“Before the crisis we were struck by the number of new clients in the contemporary art market. It was very exciting, but we had reached a rhythm where we were all starting to get tired of the frenetic pace. Covid forced us to stop everything. This abrupt tranquillity was scary at first but then art demonstrated its importance, and the market proved its resilience and its agility.
Today the market continues to grow even while being more selective.” It’s in this context that the four professionals decided to put in place this kind of consortium for art advice and business.
What about fairs
It has a global reach, with its headquarters in New York right next to the Guggenheim Museum (3 East 89th Street) but also with spaces in London, Hong Kong, Paris, and correspondents in Milan, Geneva, Shanghai, Singapore, Seoul and Taipei. In terms of international representation LGDR also intends to continue to participate in fairs in Asia and to support the initiatives of Art Basel globally but “we no longer wish to participate in 16 fairs a year around the world.”
3 continents, 3 platforms
Their goal is to create three platforms of equal importance across the three continents.
With regards to Paris, “if the city had once lost its creative energy it has now made a spectacular comeback. Artists, museums, galleries are all doing extraordinary work. We also note a significant development in the number of collectors. London, however, has adopted a position of insularity.”
Swiss army knife of services
The originality of LGDR owes to the fact that alongside classic exhibition programming, this consortium presents itself like a kind of Swiss army knife of services aimed at institutions and collectors. “We are developing an ‘art family office’ based on the model of private banks. In other words, we are taking care of collectors from A to Z. Not only through acquisitions and sales in private transactions and at auction, estates, but also in how the work is exhibited using models, for example, to simulate the layout of the collection. We’ve already organized sales of works planned over several years and dispersed across four or five sites.”
28 years at Christie’s
One of the strong points of this organization is the 28 years Brett Gorvy spent at Christie’s. “With the public health crisis and the staging of live sales online, the audience for the auction houses has grown considerably. But being their client is something that is increasingly complex. What to think about NFTs? How to negotiate the best conditions for presenting works for sale? In the catalogue? In terms of marketing? We are also taking it upon ourselves to find guarantors.”
The market chain
LGDR plays a role at all levels of the market chain, since they also help certain artists find clients for works, or act as an intermediary with the auction house to present their works at auction and this includes, again, finding guarantors. Remuneration for this service is made not by the client but by the auction house, who usually gives a percentage to their “business finders”.
Revision of certain price levels
At this stage of the global public health crisis the LGDR team is anticipating a revision of certain price levels. “During the lockdown period we received purchase offers for works that were less than 40% of the market price. This was without success. There were no dramatic price drops. The market confirmed, for example, through the Macklowe sale (ed: the first part of the sale brought in 675 million dollars, See the report here) the high prices in modern and classic contemporary art. These results respond to a logic in which rarity is linked to a certain quality and important provenance.
However, this might affect artists under 30, for works produced in the past five years, a kind of ‘wet painting’ that sells for millions, particularly in auction sales in Asia. That may well happen in the next 18 months.”
Stretch for quality
They conclude with a rallying cry to collectors: “stretch for quality”.
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