art

Americana Week – Best of Doyle Auctions

Happy Wednesday, friends! For Americana Week, many US auction houses will be presenting incredible items that highlight the craftsmanship and decorating aesthetic of Americans. One of my favorite auction houses, Freeman’s, doesn’t have any auctions scheduled during Americana week this year. So, the last auction house that I will be considering is Doyle Auctions.

Doyle auctions will have only one live, in-person auction event during Americana Week. Doyle at Home won’t have any items that are distinctly Americana-themed, but the luxurious items that are being offered may be of interest to a variety of collectors, including those that specialize in collecting Americana. The sale occurs on January 16, 2019 at 10 a.m. EST.

With nearly 500 lots for sale, selecting just one item out of the group was challenging. But I found myself irresistibly drawn to this painting by Porfirio DiDonna. The untitled painting comes from later in DiDonna’s career. It has more curvature, less symmetry, and less precision than his earlier works. I love how the neutral colors appear to dance against the cool grey background. I may bid on this painting, considering how affordably priced it is. This one has an estimated value between $150 – $250.

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Untitled, 1984, Porfirio Di Donna (1942-1986)

Instead of planning all of the Americana events to occur during the week of January 13th through the 19, Doyle has wisely opened an Americana-themed, online-only auction to start on January 18th. This allows them to keep the Americana theme going even after the week has concluded.

Americana from the Library of Arnold ‘Jake’ Johnson should be an interesting sale but, unfortunately, I can only view one lot from this collection. For that reason, I can’t recommend my favorite item. However, this sale will still be worth checking out:  after all, it’s the last Americana-themed sale for the month.

That concludes my review of Americana week at some of the most popular auction houses in the US. Did you see any items from the previous auctions that you found interesting? Let me know in the comments below I’d love to hear about it!

 

Talk to you all tomorrow!

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Americana Week – Best of Christie’s Auction

In preparation for Americana Week, I did some research on what typically can be found in Americana art. What I found is that there are a lot of items that capture American history and culture, and no, every Americana item doesn’t feature the American flag (or other patriotic themes) or pictures of rural Midwest life, though these two themes are prominent.

Christie’s Auction will be featuring Americana that doesn’t fit neatly into the above mentioned themes, but still has a strongly American aesthetic. The featured auctions will be held in New York, January 16 – 18. There are four auctions that will feature Americana art and highlight some of the jewels that were produced and collected over the past 400 years.

The first auction is Little Cassiobury: The Collection of Susan Lyall, to be held on January 16 at 10 AM EST. The items were formerly owned by Susan Lyall, a garden furniture designer and philanthropist. The collection has over 200 items from Lyall’s personal collection of art and furniture.

My favorite piece from this collection is the William IV brass lantern. Despite being nearly 200 years old, this lantern would still be a charming addition to a lot of different decorative themes.

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William IV Brass Lantern (circa 1835)

Next up is the Chinese Export Art Featuring the Hodroff Collection Part IV. This auction is scheduled for January 17 at 10 AM EST. The items are Chinese in origin but, as you can tell, the fascination with Asian art is distinctly American, to the point where Chinese art can be featured during an Americana-focused auction and it makes sense to knowledgeable collectors! Many American families have extensive Asian art collections and the Hodroffs were no exception: Leo and Doris Hodroff’s collection is featured in multiple museums across the US.

My favorite lot from this auction is A Famille Rose Mancerina. I’d never heard of a mancerina before, but after seeing this beauty, I knew I had to know more. Mancerinas are serving trays designed to hold a container of chocolate. The ornate well in the center is where the chocolate container would have been placed. This isn’t a common household item now, but imagine how nice it would be to own something this historical and charming. It could fetch upwards of $2,500, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it went for much more than that.

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A Famille Rose Mancerina (Qianlong Period, circa 1770-1780)

The next auction is spread out over two days – January 17 and 18, at 3 PM and 2 PM EST respectively. The largest of Christie’s Americana auctions, Important American Furniture, Folk Art, Silver and Prints will bring nearly 300 lots to the public. This collection has a plethora of exquisite household items, so it may take you a while to go through all of the offerings.

However, after looking through the entire collection, I kept finding myself returning to look at the American Silver Fruit Bowl. This piece, from Tiffany & Co., has mesmerizing filigree and finely depicted vines, leaves and raspberries. I was surprised to see the estimate go up to only $3,500: I anticipate this one will sell for less, but likely not by much.

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American Silver Fruit Bowl (Mark of William Gale for Tiffany & Co., New York, circa 1860)

The final auction is Outsider and Vernacular Art on January 18 at 10 AM. This auction will feature art with a folksy touch and distinctly American themes. The art reflects different movements, periods of time, and various media. There are also pieces by living artists included in this sale, so there is an opportunity for novice collectors to purchase works when the prices are less prohibitive.

I found myself completely enchanted by Portrait of a Young Girl, 1950s by Morton Bartlett. I’m unsure who the model was for this work, but her facial structure and complexion reminded me of a young girl I know that has albinism. This painting made me think about the albinos in different African countries who have had to flee for their lives for fear of being hunted for their limbs (in Tanzania and Malawi specifically, albinos are fiercely targeted). I’d rather not go into detail about the human rights travesty happening to Africans with albinism, but I couldn’t help but think of them when I saw this painting. The high estimate of this is $8,000, and, if I had the resources available right now, I’d certainly bid on this beauty.

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Portrait of a Young Girl, 1950s by Morton Bartlett (1909 – 1992)

That’s my quick overview of the Christie’s Americana auctions. You can check out the lots by clicking any of the hyperlinks above, and see what items interest you. If you find something that you love, let me know in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

 

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Art and Cryptocurrency: The World’s Simplest Guide

Hi friends! I hope you all are enjoying your Thursday and gearing up for a fantastic weekend.

I’ve just finished attending my umpteenth blockchain and cryptocurrency webinar (by now, I should be an expert!) and I’m finally starting to make a clear connection between the art world and cryptocurrency. This has been an area of interest since I wrote a blog post a few months ago about trends that will drastically change the art world, and the first trend that I listed was cryptocurrency.

For those that are unfamiliar with cryptocurrency, there are many great online guides but one of the simplest definitions I got was from Mario Costanz and his team over at Crypto Tax Academy. He described the process of trading cryptocurrency as an exchange of value between peers, defined between the peers, as opposed to the value being set by a third entity (as is the case with fiat currency). I won’t spend too much time explaining this in depth because they do it much better than I can, though they are clearly explaining this from the tax obligation perspective.

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I also read this fantastic 3-series article by Tim Schneider over on Artsy. Part 1 gives a great overview to what blockchain and cryptocurrency is. Part 2 gives a great case study in how forward-thinking artists (and, by extension, collectors and gallerists) can participate in a cryptocurrency structure. Finally, Part 3 proposes three major issues in the art world that cryptocurrency technology could solve.

Here’s where my simple interpretation comes in: for the sake of taxes and income recognition, cryptocurrency is an asset just like art. And investing in art using cryptocurrency is similar to bartering goods and services: both sides must determine the fair market value and both sides have to recognize the exchange as a taxable event. If you’re curious about how virtual currency is defined by our current government, you can read this 2014 IRS notice (no new guidance has been issued as of today’s date). Looking at cryptocurrency like an asset, instead of viewing it as fiat money, can help a lot in understanding what it is and how to work with it.

I’m going to be learning more about this in the upcoming year, but I hope my mini-guide was helpful, and I also hope that the linked articles provide some additional clarity. Cryptocurrency is here to stay, so the more we know, the better off we are.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk to you all soon!

 

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Art Basel Miami 2018: Beginner’s Guides from All Over the Web

Happy Sunday, friends! I’m currently watching snow fall outside of my window (an unseasonably early snowfall for central Virginia) and wishing I had made the trek to Art Basel in Miami! 81 degree temperatures sound like heaven right now!

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I couldn’t make the trip but I’m living vicariously through the videos I’ve seen and articles I’ve read about the event. If you too couldn’t attend, here are some of my favorite Art Basel Miami guides for this year. Enjoy!

Here’s a basic guide for those new to Art Basel:

And here is an etiquette-specific guide for newbies:

A recent article by Vox provides a great written summary of what to expect from Art Basel Miami 2018. I sometimes find it helpful to have a written guide that I can compare with audio/video information and that I can scribble on to capture additional notes.

Do you have any Art Basel guides to share? Please feel free to post them in the comments below!

 

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5 Things That Will Transform the Art Market

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As part of my personal study of the art market, I like to see if I can predict trends and spot opportunities within this realm.

I identified 5 things that are poised to cause a complete shift in the art world as we know it. Continue reading to learn about what I suspect will completely transform the art market.

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Cryptocurrency – Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology will continue to be a factor in the art market. Both the legal and black markets will thrive due to the fact that cryptocurrency makes it easier to exchange value without dealing with traditionally recognized currency. Blockchain can be repurposed to assist with provenance research and the public nature of its design will continue to transform how art is traded and sold.

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The Push for Diversity in Museum Leadership and Galleries – After the Brooklyn Museum faced tremendous backlash over hiring a White curator for its African Art department, a spotlight was shone on the lack of diversity within the museum world. Since then, there have been numerous discussions over how the art world will rise to the occasion and foster a more diverse environment. Even the New York Times has asked questions about the ethnic makeup of the world of art dealing. Obviously, there is a lot of potential here and the museums and galleries that take the lead in this regard will position themselves to stay current and relevant in these ever-changing times.

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Elimination of Section 1031 Provisions – With the implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017, Section 1031 of the tax code eliminated the loophole that allowed art investors to defer the realization of capital gains for an indefinite period of time. This has sent investors scrambling to devise a new tax strategy when it comes to the sale and later purchase of art. Fortunately, there are some preliminary measures that will offer an alternative to Section 1031, though it will take some creative accounting and subject matter mastery to execute properly. It’ll be exciting to see what other innovations come along that will benefit art investors.

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Virtual Art Galleries – In this increasingly digital world, it should be no surprise that the virtual art gallery will account for a healthy portion of art sales. Virtual galleries appeal to a previously unexplored group of patrons: this virtual space combines the collectors that want to enjoy art but are too busy to go browse a gallery in person with the art lovers that may have initially been intimidated by going to a gallery in person. The flexibility and ease of purchase will continue to appeal to many art enthusiasts, and I imagine that this form of art vending will continue to grow in popularity. A few of the most popular online art vendors can be found by clicking here.

Barack Obama  as painted by Kehinde Wiley; Michelle Obama as painted by Amy Sherald

Renewed Interest in Artists of Color – Artists of color are not unpopular but have largely been ignored or relegated to “supporting” roles in art museums and galleries. However, there has been a renewed interest in artists of color, especially since these artists have many influential fans and collectors. Barack and Michelle Obama both chose Black artist to create their official Presidential and First Lady portraits. High profile collectors are seeking to carve a space for these artists that will allow the artwork to shine in its own right. Pamela Joyner has graciously allowed her personal collection to be exhibited nationwide in the Solidary and Solitary exhibition. In a recent article on Artnet, Tina Knowles Lawson gives a tour of her art collection. Collectors aren’t the only ones bringing artists of color into the spotlight. Within the past 10 years, there have been more retrospectives featuring artists of color than ever before. A retrospective of Howardena Pindell’s work is slated to exhibit at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and it’s already gathering lots of buzz.

 

Those are my predictions for the changes that will transform the art market. Do you have any predictions that you think may affect the art world as we know it? Let me know in the comments below: I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

art · international

A Single Lot Auction? Sotheby’s Is Making It Happen

Over the past several months of researching art, auctions and collecting, I’ve enjoyed learning about the procedures of the auction houses as well as the habits of collectors. While checking out the upcoming Sotheby’s auctions, I was surprised to see an auction with a single lot. Yes, you heard me right: there’s only one item in this auction.

I’ve never seen an auction with only one lot, so I took my time to read through the item description to see what artifact is so precious that it deserved its own solo show at Sotheby’s. Now, this isn’t the only thing being auctioned by Sotheby’s Paris on this day. There are actually two subsequent auctions occurring at this location on the same day. But this item was so special that it has a dedicated auction, featuring only this item.

The item to be sold is an incredibly rare yangcai vase. The intricate artifact is over 300 years old and in pristine condition. The vivid images were painted onto the porcelain vase by the top artisans in Jingdezhen, China, unlike similar vases during this era that were made in Jingdezhen but painted in Beijing.

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The yangcai vase

This vase is absolutely exquisite. It’s expected to fetch between $600,000 and $900,000 USD. But given it’s rarity, it may easily soar over the $1 mil USD mark. If you’d like to add this beauty to your collection, you may view it on June 9, 10, and 11, 2018, between 10 AM and 6 PM CEST. If you’d like to bid, you can register online, or you can attend the auction in person. The details to the auction are below:

June 12, 2018, 10:30 AM CEST, Sotheby’s Paris

76, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
CS 10010
75384 PARIS CEDEX 08
France
Tel: +33 1 53 05 53 05
Fax: +33 1 53 05 52 21
paris.info@sothebys.com

 

I’m excited to see what the final price will be for this gorgeous vase!

art · culture

Current Issues and Hot Topics in Art

Obligatory art photo: Mary Ellison Embroidering by Mary Cassatt (1877), at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

This will be a super-quick post: I’m going to be busy this weekend, with spending time at the embassies and enjoying Mother’s Day with my loved ones. I’m going to compile a few of my favorite posts about current issues and hot topics in the arts that you can peruse at your leisure. Enjoy your weekend!

DC’s Plan to Promote Arts and Culture: What It’s About, and How Local Artists Feel About It

All About Fort Street Studio’s Latest Collection

The Newly Re-Named Massey Klein Gallery (Ryan Massey is an alum of Old Dominion University, my alma mater. Go Monarchs!)

ArtLeadHer’s Latest Exhibition, Senses and Perception

I hope you all take some time to read up on some of the latest happenings in the art world, as well as visit a museum or support some other cultural institution this weekend. Have a great Saturday!