At the opening of Art Basel Miami Beach on Tuesday, dealers reported solid attendance from collectors, who showed few signs of reticence to buy new works. Gallerists said they were successful in placing works in institutional collections spanning the U.S. and Europe. (Sales are self-reported by galleries, making the data difficult to confirm.)
In their sales reports, dealers painted a rosy picture of the action at Art Basel. Some said they sold works valued as high as $7 million, and suggested that future big sales could follow.
A few dealers said they came in with low expectations. Marc Glimcher, president and CEO of Pace Gallery, told ARTnews that the temperature of the market prior to event’s opening day on Tuesday was still unclear. “We came to Miami with a ‘wait and see’ mentality, unsure of where the barometer of the art market would point amidst wider economic concerns,” he said.
But any collective concerns that the pace of sales might not measure up to years prior were swiftly allayed, with dealers bringing in sales in the multimillions for postwar artists and new talent alike.
Gagosian, which brought works by Ashley Bickerton, Amoako Boafo, Jim Shaw, Alexandria Smith, Anna Weyant, and others, reported that 50 of its pieces sold within the fair’s opening hours. Millicent Wilner, a senior director at the dealer’s London location, told ARTnews that, after 20 years, the fair’s clout still holds up.
Below, a look at eight works that galleries said they sold during Art Basel’s first couple days.
Agnes Martin at Pace
Sold for: $7 million
Within the first few hours of the opening day of the Miami Beach fair on Tuesday, Pace Gallery raked in multiple sales over $1 million. One of those sales involved Agnes Martin’s 1998 painting Untitled #14. The canvas, featuring Martin’s signature faded stripes against an off-white background, sold for $7 million. It was not the only high price made for a postwar artist as VIP attendees scavenged for trophy works. Also at Pace’s booth, Andy Warhol’s 1964 painting Flowers sold for $3.8 million. Pace also said it made sales for works by Beatriz Milhazes, Loie Hollowell, Robert Nava, Fred Wilson, Adrian Ghenie, and Maysha Mohamedi, the last of whom will be the subject of her first solo show at the gallery in 2023. These works all sold for prices between $75,000 and $1 million.
Kerry James Marshall at Jack Shainman
Sold for: $2.8 million
Elsewhere amid the Miami edition’s opening, works by established living artists fielded strong demand. A 1997 canvas by Kerry James Marshall, the subject of a current solo exhibition at Jack Shainman, was among the highest sales made by that New York gallery at Art Basel. Marshall’s We Mourn Our Loss #2, featuring images of political figures assassinated in the 1960s, sold for $2.8 million. Also sold from Shainman’s booth was a bronze and floral sculpture by Nick Cave, who is the subject of a retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum. It went for $180,000. Pieces by Toyin Ojih Odutola, Diedrick Brackens, and Emanoel Araújo went for prices between $95,000 and $500,000.
Mark Bradford at Hauser & Wirth
Sold for: $2.5 million
Among the highlights at Hauser & Wirth’s booth was Mark Bradford’s new abstraction conflagration. It went for $2.5 million, but it was not the highest sale the gallery said it secured at the fair. Paintings by Phillip Guston and George Condo sold for $7 million and $3 million, respectively. Meanwhile, pieces by Ed Clark, Nicole Eisenman, Rashid Johnson, and Phyllida Barlow sold for prices between $25,000 and $975,000.
Georg Baselitz at Thaddeaus Ropac
Sold for: $1.4 million
The London-based dealer Thaddaeus Ropac sold a 2020 abstract oil painting by George Baselitz for $1.4 million (1.35 million euros). Titled Emilio macht das Licht aus, it depicts a nude figure hidden beneath white and black strokes, and is from a series of works that is loosely influenced by his friendship with the artist Emilio Vedova, who died in 2006. Baseltiz made the painting for a solo exhibition that was presented during the Venice Biennale this year. Ropac also sold paintings by Alvaro Barrington, Martha Jungwirth, Alex Katz, Robert Longo, and Robert Rauschenberg, all for prices between $55,000 and $700,000.
Tracey Emin at Xavier Hufkens
Sold for: $900,000
Brussels-based dealer Xavier Hufkens capitalized on a moment of increased attention around Tracey Emin’s work. Though she is currently battling cancer, she has remained hard at work, putting her focus on a new art school in her hometown of Margate, England, and churning out new works that sell for high prices. Her painting You Promised Me Love (2022), featuring a cloud of mauve and red brushstrokes concealing a loosely sketched figure, sold at Art Basel for $900,000 (£750,000), about a quarter of her auction record. Meanwhile, two paintings by Joe Bradley, one of which was sold to a major museum in Asia, went for prices between $450,000 and $700,000. A painting by Nicolas Party, who saw a new record price during a Christie’s Hong Kong sale on Wednesday, sold for a price in the range of $450,000–$500,000, going to a major museum in Asia.
Carol Bove at David Zwirner
Sold for: $650,000
A sculpture by Carol Bove appears to have been the most expensive work sold by David Zwirner at the fair. Her Gloomy Maneuverers (2022), part of the artist’s continuing series of “collage sculptures,” sold for $650,000. Painted in matte yellow, the steel sculpture appears malleable like fabric; similar works to it are now on view at David Zwirner’s Paris gallery. Meanwhile, two large-scale paintings by Katherine Bernhardt, Brain Freeze and A Shot in the Dark (both 2022), sold for $250,000 each, with one going to a European institution. Paintings by Nate Lowman sold for prices between $100,000 and $350,000.
Theaster Gates at White Cube
Sold for: $550,000
White Cube said that it sold paintings by Michael Armitage, Günther Förg, and Georg Baselitz for over $1 million each. Two works by Theaster Gates—Safety Warning (2022), a painting featuring a graphic X at its center, and White Cross (2022), another made of enamel, rubber torch down, bitumen, wood and copper—sold as well, capitalizing on momentum gained from Gates’s current New Museum survey in New York. They went for $550,000 each, and one was bought by an American institution, the dealer reported.
Hernan Bas at Perrotin
Sold for: $450,000
A new painting by Hernas Bas was among the top works to sell from the Perrotin’s booth, which reportedly raked in $2.5 million in collective sales on the fair’s first VIP day. That painting, titled Conceptual artist #15 (Performance based, along with a troop of hired actors he takes residence in “fixer upper” homes and feigns nefarious occult activity to stir up the neighbors), sold for $450,000. Sculptures by Daniel Arsham, Tavares Strachan, Nick Doyle, Jean-Marie Appriou, and Jean-Michel Othoniel all sold for prices ranging between $35,000 and $250,000. Meanwhile, a mock ATM machine produced by the artist collective MSCHF sold for $75,000 to a local collector on the fair’s second day.