🔥 Lots to Watch - 1 May 2024

Works of Elaine de Kooning, Alice Baber, Angeles Agrela, Janet Fish and Sol LeWitt

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Thanks for all the great feedback from the lots I shared last Wednesday!

📈 Top Picks from the Last Issue:

I’m excited to share 5 artists and lots worth checking out for this week.

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1) Elaine de Kooning

Elaine de Kooning, Portrait of S Again, 1975

💭 My 2 Cents: Elaine de Kooning's market numbers are pretty solid, especially for her figurative works. With a strong 83.6% sell-through rate, it's clear there’s steady demand out there. Her pieces consistently outperform estimates—selling for 238% of the low and 160% of the high estimates, which suggests collectors and experts might be underestimating her work. Plus, a Hammer Ratio of 3.03 shows that bidding can get pretty intense, which is good news for anyone setting reserve prices. Here’s something to watch: On May 15th, Sotheby's will auction a piece from de Kooning’s bullfight series with an estimate of $150,000 - $200,000, which is quite a bit more than the estimate for "Portrait of S Again," set at $30,000 - $50,000. Considering her recent track record in the market, these numbers might actually be on the low side, making this lot a good entry point. The sale of this piece could really show us how much buyers are willing to pay for her work right now and could give us a better sense of her market's depth.

2) Alice Baber

Alice Baber, The Ringing and The Ringing, 1967

  • 📍 Bio: American, b. 1928

  • 📊 Price Range: $30,000 - $40,000

  • 💰 Record Price: $698,500 for Wind Divided Mist the Darker, sold at Sotheby's New York in 2023.

  • 🌎 Main Market: U.S.

💭 My 2 Cents: Alice Baber is definitely one to watch, and her "The Ringing And The Ringing" from 1967 is a highlight at the upcoming auction. Priced between $60,000 and $80,000, this piece could really pop. This canvas really showcases Baber's knack for bold, abstract vibes. Looking at her stats, she's got a solid 79.4% sell-through rate and most of her pieces sails past the low estimates—a hammer ratio of 3.38 tells us that much. Last year was insane for her market, with prices spiking 1743%. Sure, things cooled off a bit this year, but the demand is still strong. Definitely one to consider if you’re playing the long game.

3) Angeles Agrela

Angeles Agrela, Eire, 2022

  • 📍 Bio: Spanish, b. 1966

  • 📊 Price Range: $18,000 - $26,000

  • 💰 Record Price: $144,900 for Alicia, sold at Phillips New York in 2022.

  • 🥂 Representation: Yusto / Giner

  • 🌎 Main Market: U.S.

💭 My 2 Cents: Ángeles Agrela's "Eire" is on the block, set at a tempting 120,000 - 220,000 HKD (around 15,313 - 28,075 USD). Seems like a low ball given the numbers we're seeing from her recent sales. Her works are smashing past their estimates, with a hammer ratio clocking in at 3.36—so, expect bids to push well past the conservative tag here. Last year's average price shot up by 25.62% compared to the year before, showing she’s picking up steam in the market. "Eire," crafted in 2022, is right in the sweet spot, during a time her style's pulling strong interest and solid sell-through rates (82.35% ain't bad at all). Worth keeping an eye on, especially if trends hold and this piece outperforms like her others.

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4) Janet Fish

Janet Fish, Eggs, Sugar, Honey, 1997

  • 📍 Bio: American, b. 1938

  • 📊 Price Range: $6,000 - $9,000

  • 💰 Record Price: $239,400 for Five Bertolli Bottles, sold at Christie's Online in 2022.

  • 🥂 Representation: DC Moore Gallery

  • 🌎 Main Market: U.S.

💭 My 2 Cents: Janet Fish's "Eggs, Sugar, Honey" from 1997 is hitting the auction block with an estimate set between $40,000 and $60,000. The numbers around Fish's work have some interesting points to note. Her hammer ratio sits pretty high at 2.8, signaling significant interest at auctions. Although there's been a recent 28% slide in her year-over-year market growth from 2023 to 2024, the general trend for her work has been on the rise. The piece has historical clout, and with Fish's work featured in top spots like MoMA and the Met, the estimates might be on the low side.

5) Sol LeWitt

Sol LeWitt, Squiggly Brushstrokes, 1996

  • 📍 Bio: American, b. 1928

  • 📊 Price Range: $35,000 - $50,000

  • 💰 Record Price: $1,633,000 for 1 x 2 Half Off, sold at Sotheby's New York in 2023.

  • 🌎 Main Market: U.S.

💭 My 2 Cents: Check out Sol LeWitt's "Squiggly Brushstrokes" from 1996. This gouache on paper is a splash of his signature style and it's up for grabs with an estimate of $120,000 - $180,000. The piece comes from Paula Cooper Gallery, which adds a nice touch of credibility. LeWitt's market has been interesting lately—last year, over half his works sold above the high estimates. But watch out, 2024 shows a dip in prices, hinting at some market shifts. Yet, with an 83.51% sell-through rate, interest in LeWitt's work is still strong. This piece is a solid pick for anyone looking to hold on to a piece of conceptual art history, possibly snagging it for more than expected given the current collector interest.

Glossary: The hammer ratio represents the relationship between hammer price and the average pre-sale auction estimate. This ratio determines how a lot performed in relation to its presale estimate. The better performing a lot is, the larger the hammer ratio. Any ratio above 1.2 indicates a high bidding intensity that exceeds expectations.

See you next Wednesday!

P.S. Whenever you’re ready, here are a few ways for us to work together:

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