ARTnewsletter Archive

Mood Is Upbeat at Art Cologne

The 46th edition of the Art Cologne fair was a solid success, with exhibitors and visitors commenting on the spacious layout and high quality of the works on offer.

COLOGNE—The 46th edition of the Art Cologne fair was a solid success, with exhibitors and visitors commenting on the spacious layout and high quality of the works on offer. A total of 60,000 visitors attended the fair, roughly even with the level reported last year.

What was missing was the always slightly chaotic “Open Space” section. This year, for the first time, the “NADA Cologne” took over this space, organized by the New Art Dealers’s Association.

Expectations were high for this “fair within the fair,” but an ARTnewsletter survey of participating dealers revealed diappointing results overall. NADA had 34 participating galleries, with just a dozen from the US, another dozen from Germany, and ten from other countries.

On the upside, Rod Barton, London, sold multi-part works in mixed media by Gabriele Beveridge, at approximately $5,200. Brennan & Griffin, a relatively new gallery on the Lower East side of Manhattan, sold “quite a few” small, polychrome wood sculptures by Canadian artist Paul Cherwick at around $520 each. However, many booths were empty for some notable stretch of time during the fair.

Outside the main entrance was an old Russian truck with a sheet metal cabin as its cargo. It bore a sign reading “White Cube Gallery Novosibirsk.” Owner, manager and artist Lukas Pusch confirmed that he had driven the vehicle some 1,000 miles, but he had to have it transported from the German border to Cologne since “They won’t let you drive a wreck like that here,” he said.

The Austrian galleries appeared to be particularly strong. Thaddeus Ropac, Salzburg and Paris, sold, among other pieces, Antony Gormley’s life-size sculpture of a human figure, made from rusty steel cubes, for approximately $390,000.

Salis & Vertes, Salzburg and Zürich, sold a half-size, painted bronze Mercury, by Markus Lüpertz for $75,000. And Mario Mauroner, Vienna and Salzburg, had a huge, Fabrizio Plessi installation featuring a row of video monitors showing red-dyed water and, in four rows shelved above, reddish-orange dyed wool arranged in piled loops.

Among the surprises at the show was Akira Ikeda, Berlin, with hitherto unseen watercolors by Günther Uecker. About a dozen or more sold for $7,800 each. Amador, at Galería Maior, Palma de Mallorca, Pollença, showed a recent work, priced at $19,500, in which a human figure behind an earthy resin panel was made from a bluish neon tube.

David Zwirner, New York, sold a 1965 painting by Georg Baselitz, The Soldier, for $3 million. At Ropac, Andy Warhol’s portrait of Picasso sold for $1.3 million, while at Galerie Utermann, Dortmund, George Rickey’s Cluster of Cubes sold for $364,000.

At Samuelis Baumgarte, Bielefeld, a large painting by Fernando Botero sold for $780,000. Michael Schultz, Berlin, Beijing and Seoul, had a program of solely Chinese art, selling, among others, works such as the post-Pop ceramics of Ma Jun, and 19 paintings, at $4,200 each, of rather lively, brushed skulls in grisaille by Huang He.

A circle of friends always acquires works at the fair for museums in Cologne. This year’s purchase, bought for $46,800 at Levy gallery, Hamburg, was an ensemble by Konrad Lueg (later known as the gallerist Konrad Fischer) and Eat Art artist Daniel Spoerri, and will go to enrich the collection of the Museum für Angewandte Kunst (Museum of Applied Arts).