🤑 Next $50M Basquiat?

+ Chloe Wise's Breadwinner Status + Signac: The Safe Bet + Richter's Size Premium

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The Hammer is a series from Frame&Flame that reviews past auction performances and upcoming lots to identify artists whose markets are 'heating up.'

This week’s The Hammer includes:

  • 📈 Heating Up: Chloe Wise's art is seeing explosive growth in auction prices and an impressive 88.8% sell-through rate, cementing her as a rising force in the contemporary art market.

  • 🔍 Lots to Watch: A Basquiat masterpiece is set to disrupt market caution, Richter's abstracts are reclaiming peak prices, and a seminal work from Signac is spotlighted as a blue-chip asset.

Read Time 05 minutes

📈 Heating Up

Chloe Wise, a Canadian artist, is winning over both critics and collectors with her body of work that digs into contemporary mores, consumer culture, and the human condition. Known for her "Bread Bags" series and eclectic mediums, she's a modern-day polymath in the art world. With significant milestones like solo exhibitions and museum shows, Wise has also captured institutional interest.

The question isn't whether she's an artist to watch but rather how her work is performing in the increasingly digitized and speculative art market. Let's cut through the noise and look at the numbers.

Chloe Wise, Anonymous Now (2019), sold for $183,382, a 205% increase over its high estimate.

🔴 Market Signals

Averages Over the Last 36 Months

  • Yearly Lots Sold: 8

  • Sell-through Rate: 88.8%

  • Average Sale Price: $39,000

  • Price Over Estimate: 22%

A hammer ratio of 1.46 means her works are generally selling for 46% more than their low estimates, a positive sign of demand exceeding expectations. An 88.8% sell-through rate is high, indicating the majority of her works at auction are finding buyers.

🦞 Recent Auction Highlights

📊 Data Insights

🧐 The Verdict

The numbers affirm Chloe Wise as an ascending star in the art market. Her average sale price sits at a healthy $39,000, but it's the outliers that are worth your attention. Works like "Anonymous Now" and "A big secret for a lot of people" weren't just occasional spikes; they indicate a shifting gear in the appetite for Wise's art.

The hammer ratio of 1.46 is a telltale sign of market excitement, and the sell-through rate of 88.8% means her work is a relatively safe bet. The 22% over-estimate metric is good but not groundbreaking, suggesting that while her work is valued, the market still has room for surprises.

Wise's trajectory isn't merely ascending; it's diversifying into a blend of commercial and critical success that few artists manage to strike. With themes that resonate universally and an art market increasingly leaning into digital and contemporary works, Wise offers a fascinating blend of timely subject matter and market robustness.

Keep an eye on her. The numbers say you won't be the only one.

🔍Lots to Watch

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Self-Portrait as a Heel (Part Two) (1982), estimated at $50 million

In an art market that's bracing for further retrenchment, Sotheby’s latest announcement adds a peculiar twist—Jean-Michel Basquiat’s "Self-Portrait as a Heel (Part Two)" is set to auction with a $40 million estimate. This follows the $50.8 million sale of Basquiat's "Versus Medici," previously owned by the same collector, Stéphane Janssen, just two years ago. The entrance of another eight-figure Basquiat into the market is significant, given the current climate of caution and skepticism.

💭My 2 Cents: From an investment standpoint, Basquiat has always been a complex figure, often defying market norms and trends. The hammer ratios for his works have been consistently bullish, even during market downturns. The current estimate for "Self-Portrait as a Heel (Part Two)" aligns with the trajectory set by "Versus Medici," and considering they were both previously owned by Janssen, this could serve as a strong market signal. This isn't just about owning a Basquiat; it's about owning a milestone Basquiat that encapsulates a critical period of his artistic evolution. The choice for potential investors here isn't whether to buy, but whether they can afford to miss out.

Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild (1997), estimate $30 million

A recent offering by Sotheby's in Paris has thrown the spotlight back onto Gerhard Richter, specifically his large untitled (849-1) abstract painting estimated at $25 million. For Richter-watchers, the data is gripping: a slightly smaller work dated 1986 couldn't fetch its hammer price of £16 million in London. Now, why is this a seismic shift? Because a Richter abstract that sold for a record $34 million in 2012 traded hands last year for $36.5 million. If Sotheby's current $30 million estimation holds, this would peg the piece at a 50% markup over the unsold one in London and near the heights of that 2012 record-breaker.

💭My 2 Cents: In a market where Richter's peak was thought to be behind us, these numbers are no joke. They signal a renewed premium on large-scale Richters, particularly the rare ones towering over six feet. So, what's the signal here? Rarity and size are fetching eyebrow-raising estimates, even in a market past its peak. So, if you're seeing Richter as a long-game asset, the takeaway is crystal clear: big and rare could equal big returns. Don't take my word for it; the hammer doesn't lie.

Paul Signac, Portrieux, Tertre Denis (Opus no. 189) (1888), estimated at $15 million

Paul Signac, a master of pointillism, is in the limelight this fall with a centerpiece work, "Tertre Denis, Portrieux, Opus 189," from 1888 hitting the auction block. Estimated at $15 million, the seascape is leading a notable collection from the Phillips family at Christie's. Signac is already a recognized giant in the art world, but with this particular work from his transformative summer in Portrieux, there's a distinct buzz in the air. His works aren't just masterpieces; they are financial behemoths. To put it in perspective, Signac shares this auction space with heavyweights like Matisse and Seurat, yet his piece takes the center stage.

💭My 2 Cents: What you're seeing with Signac isn't just another expensive painting; it's a testament to the artist's perennial value in an often volatile art market. The estimate itself—$15 million—isn't just a number pulled from thin air; it's a signal of both the historical significance and investment potential that sophisticated collectors understand. In a market where contemporary flash often overshadows classical substance, Signac's stable and ever-appreciating value functions as a blue-chip asset. When you compare this to other artists whose works may ebb and flow dramatically in worth, Signac is akin to a treasury bond in a portfolio: solid, reliable, and appreciating. So, if you're considering a strategic move in the art market, don't just watch Signac; study him. The numbers speak for themselves.

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