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London Galleries Ride A Wave of Prosperity

The first few months of 2005 have produced a prolific number of sellout shows for artists at London galleries. These include the current exhibition (through May 28) of 24 large-scale photographs of 19th-century scientific objects by Hiroshi Sugimoto at the Gagosian Gallery.

LONDON—The first few months of 2005 have produced a prolific number of sellout shows for artists at London galleries. These include the current exhibition (through May 28) of 24 large-scale photographs of 19th-century scientific objects by Hiroshi Sugimoto at the Gagosian Gallery.

The photographs are presented mainly in editions of five; one print from each edition, priced at $80,000 each, has been sold, mostly to U.K. collectors. Gagosian snagged the show from White Cube, which had held Sugimoto’s last commercial exhibition in the U.K. in 2001, when his life-size photos of waxwork models were selling for $50,000 apiece.

Recently established galleries are setting a hot pace. In January Thomas Dane sold all 30 of British artist Michael Landy’s meticulous small drawings of his father and his most humble possessions, priced from £3,000/5,000 ($5,600/9,300) each. The show was followed by a display of ten new small-

patterned suburban landscapes by the German painter Stefan Kürten that all fetched from €5,500/26,000 ($7,100/33,800) apiece. Charles Saatchi was one of the buyers.

Haunch of Venison kick-started the year with a sellout of sleek vinyl and linoleum collages, by young London-based American artist Ian Monroe, each costing £3,000/25,000 ($5,600/46,700).

The gallery followed up this show (Feb. 12-March 16) with an exhibition of light works by Dan Flavin. It included works from the artist’s estate, most of which sold for prices up to $1 million. Haunch of Venison’s most recent exhibition featured 14 paintings by the rarely exhibited British artist Mark Alexander. Half the works were on loan from such collectors as Don Rubell, Kay Saatchi and Thea Westreich. The new pieces, completed in a Berlin studio financed by curator/collector Heiner Bastian, included a new series called The Blacker Gachet, in which Vincent van Gogh’s Portrait of Doctor Gachet is copied but drained of color. All brought prices up to $200,000.

Victoria Miro’s Cork Street gallery of the same name has been concentrating on younger artists at relatively affordable prices and with some success. After a mixed exhibit of new photography (Jan. 18-Feb. 12), including works by recent art school graduate Idris Khan, a solo show (Feb. 21-March 19) of pictures by Taiwanese artist Suling Wang—20 drawings (£950, or $1,800 each) and six paintings (£9,500/11,000, or $18,000/20,900 each)—was sold out. This was followed in March by a sellout of 25 small paintings on paper ($5,000/10,000) by Miami favorite Hernan Bas.

At Sprüth Magers Lee in January, U.K. collectors accounted for each one of Cindy Sherman’s complete set of 17 clown self-portraits at prices ranging from £35,000/55,000 ($65,400/102,800). And at Michael Hue-Williams’ new Albion Gallery, unique photographs ranging from £7,000/35,000 ($13,000/65,400) and wood, clay and stone sculptures (up to £180,000, or $336,000) by evergreen land artist Andy Goldsworthy were virtually sold out.

At an exhibition of seven new sculptures (up to £25,000 or $47,200 each) by Scottish artist Jim Lambie, at Sadie Coles HQ, all were snapped up within hours of the mid-April opening. Lambie’s work is particularly well-represented in the Miami collections of Don and Mera Rubell, Rosa de la Cruz and Debra and Dennis Scholl, to name some, and prices have risen by three times since Coles’ last show three years ago.

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