Published on Monday, June 20th, 2011
Art 42 Basel, was the year’s biggest test for contemporary art dealers and as it came to a close last night, galleries believe that prices and demand in the art market have returned to levels reminiscent to the boom of 2008.
Among the artist who sold pieces for over $2 million were Mark Rothko, Maurizio Cattelan, Anish Kapoor, and Bridget Riley. The Gagosian sold $45 million of art within the first fifteen minutes of the fair’s opening. Other big numbers include three Picasso’s offered by Geneva based Galerie Krugier & Cie, worth a total of $52 million. Works by younger artists with emerging reputations were also in high demand.
It seems the gap between the rich and the poor is growing as wealthy are investing in art to counter low interest rates, stock prices and weak economic growth.
Art Basel is looking to build the fair as a global brand. Last month the company acquired a majority stake in Hong Kong Contemporary Art Fair. What is more, the owners are discussing plans to sustain Art Basels in three regions. With notions of integration, Art Basel feels confident of China’s craving for Western contemporary art. Changes can be anticipated for next year's event.