Veteran dealer and auctioneer Simon de Pury’s latest project has been a resounding success, based on today’s online auction, in which the 16 lots on offer – all by female artists and created over the last two and a half years – have been sold. The hammer total was $704,500, against expectations of at least $568,500 to $787,500.
After kick-off “Women: Art in Times of Chaos,” as a virtual exhibit earlier this month, featuring works by artists including Alexis McGrigg, Chloe Wise and Allison Zuckerman, today’s live auction marked the culmination of the initiative.
An animated, talking avatar of de Pury himself led the sale, kicking off the sale by saying, “Hello, I don’t say good evening or hello because we have art lovers following this sale from all over the world. Welcome to the auction! Now let’s get started.
De Pury then sold all of the works by “16 female artists whom I greatly admire”, known in auction parlance as a “white glove” sale. Ten new records were set, albeit in some cases for up-and-coming artists with short track records.
And since pre-auction bidding was allowed, some works were already reserved by the time the live action started today, such as that of sought-after Irish artist Genieve Figgis. His painting Dreaming of spring with birds (2022), sold for $170,000, well above the $70,000 to $100,000 estimate. It was the highest price of the sale.
Meanwhile, In full bloom (2022), by Phyllis Stevens, sold for $80,000, missing the low estimate of $100,000, and Pieno di vuoto (2020), by Minjung Kim, sold for $85,000, wiping out the low end of its $80,000 estimate to $120,000.
Other works by fashionable artists have come closer to their low estimates, such as Allison Zuckerman’s chaos reigns (2022), which sold for $70,000, and feelings for you (2022) by Chloe Wise, which sold for $47,500.
The list of artist auction records included the aforementioned results for Kim and Stephens, as well as Andrea Marie Breiling ($50,000); Haley Josephs ($25,000); Alexis McGrigg ($25,000); Thandiwe Muriu ($15,000); Shelby Seu $14,000; Marguerite Sheff ($6,000); Thu Van Tran ($20,000); and Amanda Wall ($42,500).
De Pury is shaking up the auction world by bringing innovative tricks to this sale. All hammer price revenue goes to the artist and the respective gallery representing them, in accordance with their individual percentage sharing agreements. De Pury thanked the gallery owners whose Almine RechOlivier Babin, Johann Konig and Cesar Levy.
And 3% of the 18% premium charged to buyers will be deducted and donated to UN Women, the world’s largest women’s charity.
More importantly, on the “turnaround” or speculation front, buyers agree not to resell the work for a period of three years. In addition, the identity of the winning bidder/buyer, as well as the identity of the underbidders for each work, is shared with the artist and the gallery that represents them, “thereby providing them with crucial market data , to which they generally do not have access. when one of their works appears at auction,” according to de Pury.
In addition to not printing a catalog or sales material, the works only travel once. “The works do not need to leave the artist’s studio or storage until they are sold and paid for, as this will be a virtual exhibition and auction, which will again make the initiative more environmentally friendly,” according to de Pury.
Earlier this month, de Pury told Artnet News that while compiling lists of contemporary artists he admires, he realized the majority were women. “Artists are mediums that show us ordinary people things that we don’t know or understand yet,” he said.
While some artists created works for the show, others logged works they created during the prescribed period, what de Pury aptly calls a “time of chaos”.
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