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Solo Arte,
Leading Irish and European Art Dealers
Based in Waterford City,

Email:   Mobile: +353 86 1719096 or Mobile: +353 86 606 1377

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Art Market by Georgina Adams

Even seasoned auction-goers admitted to being stunned by the amount of money splurged at sales of contemporary art in New York this week. In the evening sales alone, over $630m was spent on classic contemporary, pop art and minimalism, with estimates left in the dust and a whole raft of new artist records set.

The climax of a buoyant week was at Sotheby’s on Wednesday, when four rare paintings by early abstract expressionist Clyfford Still fetched $114.1m, well over their target of $51m-$71.5m. The most expensive work, “1949-A-No. 1A”, a velvety black-and-dark-red abstract, triggered a prolonged bidding battle between the New York-based dealer Chris Eykyn and a telephone bidder who finally won at $61.7m. Dealer sources in the room tentatively named the anonymous bidder as hedge fund boss Israel Englander.

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Almost as sought-after at Sotheby’s was a group of eight abstract paintings by German artist Gerhard Richter: these trounced pre-sale expectations of $27m, making a total of $74m. The most expensive work sold for $20.8m, setting a new record for the artist. Overall the sale made $315.8m, the firm’s third-highest total for a contemporary auction.

Christie’s did well too, making $247.6m in its evening sale, with its top lot being a rare pop art work by Roy Lichtenstein, “I can see the whole room! ... and there’s nobody in it!” (1961). It sold to private dealer Guy Bennett for $43.2m (est. $35m-$45m), again setting a new artist record.

“There’s an awful lot of money being spent, and the trophy works did well,” said art adviser Allan Schwartzman after Christie’s sale, while dealer Christophe van der Weghe commented: “People want to take their money out of Wall Street and put it into hard assets such as art.”

. . .

It may seem surprising, coming straight after the buoyant art sales of the past fortnight, that Sotheby’s made a loss in the third quarter of this year (a period that ended just before the sales). The third quarter is traditionally weak, but the $29.7m loss that the auction house recorded this year is sharply higher than its $19.7m deficit in the same period in 2010. To blame is the highly competitive auction environment, leading to lower commission revenues as the big two slug it out for consignments. Not helping things this year was the $8.3m writedown of the Noortman inventory. Sotheby’s bought the Dutch Old Master dealer in 2006 but now finds itself with a large number of difficult-to-shift mid-level works. Now they are being knocked out in various (unspecified) auction houses. “It is painful, but we have taken our medicine and are moving on,” said Bill Sheridan, the firm’s chief financial officer.

. . .

The first Paris Tableau, a boutique fair with just 20 Old Master paintings dealers, ended on a sour note last week. Although the event was a commercial success, one London dealer won’t be taking an exhibit back, because it has been refused re-export by the French authorities. The painting is a huge “Christ Carrying the Cross” by 17th-century painter Nicolas Tournier, which “disappeared” from the Musée des Augustins in Toulouse in 1818. Since then it has been sold and resold a number of times, and was exhibited this year at Maastricht by Paris dealer Hervé Aaron, tagged at €675,000. He offered it to the museum, but director Axel Hémery decided, on the basis of a photograph, that it was not by Tournier – though he now admits he was wrong.

So Aaron sold the work to London dealer Mark Weiss. Weiss also contacted the museum and was told there was no legal bar to bringing it back into France. But works of art in French public collections are “inaliénable”, meaning they can never be sold, by law: even an 1818 disappearance comes under this rule. So for the moment, the French ministry of culture has forbidden Weiss to take the work back home with him. “Negotiations continue, but [they’re] likely to be long,” says a spokesperson for the fair.

. . .

Back in London, a new gallery opens this week, specialising in contemporary and modern ceramics. It is a rebirth, in a way, of the former Galerie Besson, as it remains in the same location in Royal Arcade. Now called Erskine, Hall & Coe, the new venture brings together Matthew Hall, for many years director of Galerie Besson, and two Australian investor-collectors, James Erskine and David Coe. The first show, opening on November 16, features work by Japanese potter Shozo Michikawa.

Georgina Adam is editor-at-large of The Art Newspaper

Saturday, November 12, 2011

4th Deloitte Art & Finance Conference

Date: 2 December, 2011, 9:00 am - 6:00 pm

Venue: Ritz Carlton Hotel - 1 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, FL 33139 USA

In collaboration with Maastricht University and a panel of internationally renowned experts, Deloitte explores a fascinating subject with an enormous business potential: The enhanced importance of art and collectible assets in wealth and asset management

To browse the conference programme, please click here. The plenary session will be followed by a cocktail reception.

Free entrance by invitation only. Online registrations will be accepted through November 25, 2011.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The 2010/2011 Artprice Annual Report On The Contemporary Art Market

Download: The 2010/2011 Artprice Annual Report
Pages 63 to 73 lists the top 500 artists in the world based on sales from July 1st 2010 to June 30th 2011

During this past year (2010-2011), financial market jitters and poor economic indicators on both sides of the Atlantic have put additional wind into sails of two assets: gold and art.

In effect, fuelled by the deepening debt crisis, the slowing economies of Europe and the United States during H1 and the difficulties encountered by banks, confidence in traditional financial assets has melted away in favour of gold1 (whose price has doubled in two years) and art, which posted the best secondary market performance in its history in the first semester of 2011. Contrary to standard assumptions, the crisis of 2008 hit the art market instantaneously, without any lag. In 2011, the market has adopted a far more philosophical approach, particularly after the painful experiences of 2008, and it now represents a viable alternative to the different classes of assets whose values have been seriously damaged by the crisis. The art market’s new and emerging strategies (online auction sales, accelerated information circulation, network connection of market’s players at a global level, opening of markets, etc.) is tending to encourage and facilitate investment in this sector, which is no longer reserved for insiders. Historical logic suggests that only masterpieces by the Old Masters, Modern artists and Impressionists that have withstood the test of time can be considered as safe investments. In effect, the bulk of today’s most sought-after works - and hence the most expensive - are by artists born between 1850 and 1950.

During the first half of 2011, Modern works of art generated total auction revenue of €2.365 billion versus €792 million for Post-War works and €496.8 million for works by Contemporary artists. Works created in the 19st century accounted for €361 million and Old Masters for €317 million. Hence in 2011, out of the 100 best results, only 8 were generated by Contemporary artworks compared with 15 in 2008 (signed by Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Takashi Murakami and the other Contemporary stars). Despite the volatility of the Contemporary market (+30% between 2004 and 2005, -38% between 2008 and October 2009, +27% over the recent period July 2010 - June 2011), there is a fast growing populations of non-professional collectors at art fairs and auction houses. The art market’s balance sheet over the past decade is generally very positive with prices up 50% from 2001 to 2011. This means that, besides gold, the art market represents a particularly profitable alternative investment, particularly at its top end.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

New Art Markets Trends: the European and Chinese Perspective

On behalf of the Luxembourg Government, the Centre Culturel de Rencontre Abbaye de Neumünster, the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC), and the Chinese National Academy of Arts, Deloitte is pleased to invite you to the "New Art Markets Trends: the European and Chinese Perspective" Conference.

The conference, which is under the auspices of Mrs Octavie MODERT, Luxembourg Minister of Culture, falls within the framework of the 4th Cultural Dialogue China-EUNIC - an initiative launched by the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) jointly with the Chinese National Academy of Arts - will feature diverse workshops exploring the topics of art and finance. The conference programme is available online.

We are honoured that Mr. Luc Frieden, Luxembourg Minister of Finance, has kindly agreed to deliver a special address.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011
from 2.00 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.

Luxembourg Philharmonie - Salle de Musique de Chambre
1, Place de l'Europe, L-1499 Luxembourg
Free entrance by invitation only

  • The speeches will be in English and Chinese with simultaneous translation into Chinese and English.
  • Please note that the conference will be followed by a buffet cocktail and an optional guided visit to the Museum of Modern Art (MUDAM).
  • As there is a limited number of places available, please click here to register no later than Monday, 17 October 2011.
  • For any logistic questions, please contact
  • We look forward to welcoming you at the conference!

More information about this event is available at:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Arthur Maderson Exhibition outstanding success

Our recent Arthur Maderson London exhibition was an outstanding success, with a constant flow of visitors throughout the 5 day period. A selection of the recorded comments from the many art lovers who visited were as follows:

“Great impact..use of colour to express form and light is exquisite”

“Real movement and life, beautiful work”

“Made me feel lighter on a very stressful day”

“Such expressive brush strokes!”

“Fantastic style”

“ Wonderful vibrant colours”

“ I love his perception of light”

Friday, April 15, 2011

ARTHUR MADERSON exhibition pre-brochure

To receive a pre-brochure for the London exhibition of new works by Arthur Maderson please contact or ring 00 353 86 171 9096

You can also download the brochure online by clicking on the link below:

Download: Arthur Maderson Pre-Brochure (5.5 Mbyte .pdf file)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Waterford Tall Ship Paintings by Kenneth Webb

A selection of new Waterford Tall Ship paintings by artist Kenneth Webb will be available from Solo Arte from March 2011. Contact for further details or 086 606 1377.

Arthur Maderson 4th - 8th October 2011 London

Solo Arte will host an exhibition of new works by Irish based UK artist Arthur K Maderson in the Strand Gallery, 32 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6BP, from 4th - 8th October, 2011. If you would wish to receive a brochure or attend the event please contact

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New works by Arthur Maderson London October 2011

An exhibition of new works by Arthur Maderson will be hosted by Solo Arte in London October 2011.

Friday, January 7, 2011

SOLO ARTE exchange Waterford Crystal for CASH

SOLO ARTE now trading in Waterford Crystal.

SOLO ARTE now directly purchasing Waterford Crystal collections.

SOLO ARTE willing to lend on a short time basis against Waterford Crystal collections.

Apply to or 086 171 9096 for terms & conditions.

Richard Argreiter
Elisabeth Bauerstein
Pauline Bewick
Patrick Cahill
Martin Finnin
Franz Lettner
Arthur Maderson
TJ Miles
Margit Piffer
Franz Posch
Anna Maria Rossi-Zen
Alfons Walde
Kenneth Webb
Susan Webb
Johann Weinhart
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