NEW YORK—Dealers were upbeat about attendance and sales after the eighth edition of the Art Basel Miami Beach fair Dec. 3–6, with most reporting better results than a year ago, when the full impact of the financial crisis on the art market was being felt. Organizers reported attendance of 42,000 visitors, up from 40,000 last year.
“In short, I thought it went swimmingly,” Miles McEnery, a partner in Ameringer McEnery Yohe, New York, told ARTnewsletter. “It’s always a successful fair. Even last year, at the depths of the doldrums, it was not a bad fair.” McEnery said the gallery’s sales included work by Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler and Hans Hofmann at prices from $6,500 to over $600,000.
Howard Read, codirector of Cheim & Read, New York, said this year’s fair felt like “a big climb out of a hole from last year’s show. Certainly many dealers were pleased with the results. However, it hardly felt like the kind of elated, crazy moments from previous years.”
Read said he noticed many more Europeans in attendance, presumably because of the strength of the euro against the U.S. dollar. “It was a complete reversal. Traditionally we see East Coast, West Coast and South Florida residents. Now we reached Germans, Italians,” and many other European collectors, he said. He added that the gallery’s top sale was Forêt (Night Garden), 1953, a Louise Bourgeois bronze with brown and black patina and white paint, for $1 million.
Sarah Kay, fine arts representative at Jan Krugier Gallery, New York, told ARTnewsletter there is “an overall consistent feeling among the dealers that things are definitely headed in the right direction. Clients are looking to buy.” Kay added that Art Basel Miami Beach is the only U.S. fair the gallery participates in every year, and noted a “significant change” from last year, describing buying as “thoughtful and conscientious.”