Gallery Hauser & Wirth sells sculpture by Alexander Calder for $ 15 million.
With the outbreak of the pandemic, a new stage of the secret competition began between the world’s top galleries. The title of this round is Who will sell the work online more expensively?
And if Gagosian Gallery could not break its own record of a year ago (during Art Basel Hong Kong in 2019, the work of the German Albert Oehlen was sold through the Gagosian virtual office for $ 6 million, in 2020 the gallery’s record was “only” $ 5.5 million for the painting of the British woman Cecily Brown. By the way, both works are abstractions), then Dawid Zwirner Gallery did it for him in May – $ 8 million for a sculpture by Jeff Koons and an updated record.
Recently, the Zwirner-Koons record fell as well: the third top gallery, Hauser & Wirth, entered the online game. Her trump card was a not modern artist, but in the last decade, actual: Alexander Calder’s sculpture was sold for $ 15 million to one European institution that owns a large number of works by the American sculptor. The 5.5-meter sculpture sold through a digital trading platform is worth nearly double the previous record for online sales. Unlike Gagosian and Zvirner, Ivan Virt did not limit himself to the button “find out the cost” in the online office but posted the price of the work openly. Accordingly, the initial $ 15 million declared in the media can be safely trusted. Whether the deal took place without bargaining, and whether it took place at all, is another question.
The second interesting circumstance is the period between the appearance of the work in the public domain and the sale itself. According to the gallery, the deal took less than a week. On Monday, August 10, the sculpture was exhibited in the online office, and by Friday, the sale was made.
It is appropriate to recall the idea of Loic Gouzier, with which he left Christie’s and created his own online auction: to put up lots for everyone to see a few days before the auction, thereby creating more excitement among collectors and provoking them to purchase works in a hurry.