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+ Yanai's Digital Age Canvas + Velazquez's Royal Auction Revelation + 2023's Art Market Analysis

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Art in a Flash is a series from Frame&Flame that provides a concise roundup of the week's key market shifts, as well as reviews of past auction performances and upcoming lots, to identify artists whose markets are 'heating up.'

This week’s Art in a Flash includes:

  • 📈 Heating Up: Guy Yanai's vibrant, pixelated-style paintings capture the essence of everyday leisure, melding digital era aesthetics with art historical influences.

  • 🔍 Lots to Watch: Keep an eye on Sotheby's February auction featuring Velazquez's $35 million royal portrait, a sale echoing the art market's high stakes and historical significance.

  • 💭 Your Questions Answered: 2023's art market sees a shift with single-owner collections like those of S.I. Newhouse and Emily Fisher Landau, driving over $1.2 billion in sales, yet reflecting changing buyer tastes and market dynamics.

  • 🔗 Market Stories: Frieze Los Angeles expanding its venue, TEFAF Maastricht revealing top exhibitors, AIPAD's new leadership and 43rd edition, Artbo spotlighting Colombian art, record sales at Christie's and Sotheby’s, key gallery alliances, and major global art partnerships.

Read Time 05 minutes

📈 Heating Up

Guy Yanai, Getting Dressed (2022)

🤔 What you need to know: Israeli-born artist Guy Yanai (b. 1977) brings a unique blend of digital age aesthetics and art historical homage to his paintings. Known for his bright color palette and blocky brushstrokes, Yanai's work echoes the pixelated quality of digital images while drawing inspiration from Fauvist hues reminiscent of Henri Matisse. His paintings, often portraying scenes of everyday leisure and domestic tranquility, are marked by a distinct contemporary lens. Yanai, who studied at prestigious institutions like Parsons School of Design and Hampshire College, has showcased his talent globally, from New York to Berlin and beyond, embracing a wide range of collaborations that intersect art, fashion, and design.

Recent career milestone: Guy Yanai's career has been on a notable trajectory with solo exhibitions at prominent galleries like KÖNIG GALERIE in Berlin and Miles McEnery Gallery in New York. His work is celebrated in multiple prestigious collections across the USA, Europe, and Asia, including the Haifa Museum of Art and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Notably, his pieces have been featured in institutions such as the Nassima/Landau Foundation and The Velan Center for Contemporary Art. Yanai's reach extends beyond traditional gallery spaces, with his art included in renowned private collections like the Jose Mugrabi Collection and the Anita Zabludowicz Collection in London.

😍 Why I Like It: There's a captivating allure to Guy Yanai's work that goes beyond its immediate visual impact. His paintings invite a deeper exploration into the canvas's perceptive space, where everyday objects and scenes are transformed into abstracted, geometric segments. This abstraction is more than a stylistic choice; it's a commentary on our digital era, where information is reduced to concise, often oversimplified representations. Yanai’s ability to distill various influences—from classical to contemporary art, from digital imagery to global culture—into tightly composed, visually arresting pieces is remarkable. His works not only reflect our current visual culture but also challenge viewers to reconsider their perceptions of the mundane. Yanai’s art, therefore, stands out for its thoughtful engagement with contemporary life and its visually stimulating execution.

🔍Lots to Watch

Velazquez’s portrait of Isabel de Borbón

💭My 2 Cents: Sotheby’s is gearing up for a landmark sale this February, featuring a magnificent Velazquez portrait valued at an astonishing $35 million. The piece, a regal depiction of Isabel de Borbon, Queen of Spain, boasts a rich history, having adorned the walls of royal residences across Spain and France. Its journey from the esteemed collection of banker Henry Huth, who safeguarded it for over a century, to its current owners since 1978, mirrors the intricate dance of high-value art ownership.

This sale is not just another auction; it's a stirring echo of Velazquez’s portrait of Juan de Pareja, which notably tripled the record auction price for a painting at its sale, drawing parallels to the frenzy around Leonardo’s 'Salvatore Mundi.' The significance of Velazquez's work to the world's most revered museums is underscored yet again with this upcoming sale.

However, the hefty $35 million price tag might pose a challenge for museums aspiring to acquire this masterpiece. It harkens back to when the Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired Juan de Pareja, thanks to the Wildensteins’ strategic bidding which provided the necessary buffer for the institution to mobilize funds.

💭 Your Questions Answered

This week, we turn our attention to how the art market is changing in 2023. Specifically, we're looking at single-owner art collections and their influence on the market. This is a key issue that's catching the interest of everyone from collectors to auction houses and market analysts.

So, the big question we're exploring is: How are single-owner art collections shaping the art market in 2023?

Pablo Picasso, Femme à la montre (1932)

The 2023 art market shows a significant shift, mainly due to the influence of single-owner sales. These are collections from individuals like S.I. Newhouse and Emily Fisher Landau, which altogether have brought in over $1.2 billion as of November this year. However, this is a 54-percent drop from the $2.6 billion total in 2022, a year heavily influenced by the Paul Allen collection.

This decrease highlights a changing market. Major players like Sotheby’s and Christie’s have seen notable sales, including the Fisher Landau collection at Sotheby’s. This collection alone accounted for about 34 percent of the year's total, driven in large part by Picasso’s "Femme à la montre," which sold for $136.4 million. This shows the ongoing allure of iconic art pieces.

Phillips is also making its mark, nearly making it to the top five single-owner sales with the Triton Foundation collection. This indicates their rising importance in the art auction world. The Freddie Mercury series at Sotheby’s London, though smaller in financial terms, attracted significant attention, underscoring the varied interests of today's art collectors.

The reliance on single-owner collections is becoming more evident, with major sales often depending on high-profile pieces like the Fisher Landau Picasso. However, this trend isn't without its challenges. The art preferences of buyers, especially younger generations, are changing, particularly with less interest in postwar collections. This could signal a shift in what the market will demand in the future.

Looking ahead to 2024, the art market is at a pivotal point. High-profile works continue to assure sales in an uncertain market. But the evolving tastes of buyers and the dependency on single-owner sales pose questions about the market's long-term stability and its ability to adapt to these changes.

In conclusion, while single-owner collections have provided stability to the art market in 2023, their future impact and the market's ability to adjust to shifting tastes and trends remain to be seen.

Have a question about the art market you want answered? Send me an email

🔗 Market Stories

  • 🌴 Frieze Los Angeles is making a bold move by ditching the Barker Hangar for its upcoming edition, opting instead to expand its Santa Monica Airport venue. This strategic decision aims to accommodate around 100 galleries, promising an even more vibrant array of outdoor installations and performances next February.

  • 🖼 TEFAF Maastricht, the esteemed art fair, has unveiled its illustrious exhibitor list for March 2024 in the Netherlands. Notables like Sean Kelly, David Gill Gallery, and Tina Kim Gallery, alongside others such as Galerie Kevorkian and Tim Van Laere, are set to grace this prestigious event.

  • 📸 Under the fresh leadership of Martijn van Pieterson, the Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD) is gearing up for its 43rd edition. This highly anticipated event will unfold at the Park Avenue Armory next April, marking a new chapter for the association.

  • 💎 Artbo in Bogotá has recently shone the spotlight on contemporary Colombian art, showcasing a vibrant and diverse array of artistic expressions that underline the region's growing significance in the contemporary art scene.

  • 🔨 Christie's in Hong Kong has just concluded a staggering evening sale of 20th and 21st century art, amassing HK$694 million. The highlight was Sanyu’s 'Femme nue sur un tapis,' fetching a record HK$187 million and setting a new benchmark for the artist’s work.

  • 🏢 Sotheby’s is streamlining its operations, cutting down its space at its iconic Manhattan headquarters by half. This move is part of a larger strategy to transform its real estate footprint, reflecting changing trends in the art market.

  • 🎨 Adding to the excitement, Sotheby’s next month will auction a rare still life by Flemish painter Clara Peete, valued at a staggering £700,000. This piece has been held privately for over a century, making its appearance on the market a noteworthy event.

  • 🤝 In a week filled with strategic collaborations, Hauser & Wirth and Nicola Vassel announced a joint venture to represent Uman, while Berry Campbell Partners and White Cube are teaming up for the Lynne Drexler archive.

  • 🌐 Several galleries are expanding their rosters with notable additions: Templon snagging Hans Op de Beeck for U.S. representation, Almine Rech acquiring Tia-Thuy Nguyen, and others like Carlos Bunga, Judith Godwin’s estate, Eva Gold, Beverly Fishman, and Savannah Claudia Levin finding new homes with prestigious galleries.

  • 🏙 Emalin is branching out with a new gallery in London's trendy Shoreditch area, signaling the gallery's growth and the neighborhood's increasing importance in the art world.

  • 🌉 In a significant cultural partnership, Paris's Centre Pompidou and Shanghai's West Bund Museum have renewed their agreement for another five years, underscoring the deepening ties between European and Asian art institutions.

  • The Buffalo AKG Museum is witnessing a pivotal moment as its employees push for unionization, a move reflecting broader labor trends within the art world.

  • 🏛 British PM Rishi Sunak's abrupt cancellation of a meeting with Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis following comments on the Parthenon marbles highlights the ongoing, contentious debate over cultural restitution.

  • 🎭 The 59th Carnegie International is shaping up to be a landmark event with Danielle A. Jackson, Liz Park, and Ryan Inouye announced as curators, setting the stage for what promises to be a thought-provoking exhibition in May 2026.

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📚 What I’m Reading

Many of you have been inquiring about my go-to book recommendations for navigating the art market. Well, the wait is over. Here's a curated list of my all-time favorites:

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