With Frieze art week approaching, Colin Gleadell offers an update on what is going on across the art world. 'Jungle Scene with Plane Wreck’ by Jonathan Wateridge is estimated to sell for £100,000 to £150,000.
For Zambian-born Jonathan Wateridge, it is his first outing at auction. His massive hyper-realist diorama, Jungle Scene with Plane Wreck, was created in his studio. When Saatchi visited, he was so impressed he paid £35,000 for the painting – a high price for the young artist. That was in 2007. Wateridge can now command £150,000 to £200,000 each. He recently sold seven paintings to Christie’s owner François Pinault, which were shown in Venice during the Biennale.
Next year, he has his first show in LA with the dealers L&M Arts. Christie’s has estimated the Jungle Scene will sell for £100,000 to £150,000 – a nice return for Saatchi. But some pundits are betting it will fetch more.
For many years, the market for the leading British modernist painter Ben Nicholson seemed to stand still. His auction record of £1.2 million in 1990 seemed set in stone when the so-called “Tate archives” fake scandal a decade ago rocked any remaining confidence in his market. Ever since, Nicholson has quietly been seen as underpriced, and a bargain buy compared with some of his contemporaries.
But things may be changing. Last year, two paintings – an abstract inspired by Mondrian and a Fifties carved relief landscape – rose over estimates to challenge that old record price.
Then, last week in Paris, an early Thirties painting of a fiddle and a Spanish guitar, influenced slightly by the paintings of Georges Braque, soared to a new £2.6 million record, 10 times the estimate. It was part of the sale of the estate of the Parisian fashion icon Hélène Rochas, and unexpectedly surpassed works by Andy Warhol, Kandinsky and Balthus in the same collection.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi museum continues to drip-feed the public with information on its latest acquisitions in preparation for the newly rescheduled opening in 2015. The information is avidly followed by the art world, curious to see what a deep-pocketed, virgin museum collection is buying and from where.
In its latest report, it lists the first vintage 19th-century photographs to enter the collection, and two 20th‑century paintings by Paul Klee and Paul Gauguin, neither of which have been bought at auction.
A little research reveals that the Klee, a late abstract suggesting a pyramid in a desert, was displayed by New York’s Acquavella Galleries at Art Basel in 2009, while the Gauguin, a Breton scene of two boys wrestling, belonged to Swiss collector Samuel Josefowitz, who exhibited it at the Royal Academy in 1988, since when it was passed down to his family.