Art Basel Miami Beach 2023 sees art market resurgence

Work by Philip Guston on display at Art Basel Miami Beach

The global art scene converged in Miami for the renowned Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB), promising a week of “parties, paintings and pills.” The art extravaganza witnessed a robust start with numerous galleries already celebrating sales surpassing the $1 million mark.

Despite initial concerns about international conflicts and economic uncertainties, the fair saw a positive shift, marking a departure from the quieter market trends of the past. According to ARTnews, Fionna Flaherty, partner at Lehmann Maupin, expressed optimism, stating that sales at their booth signalled a positive turn in the market.

Dealers reported enthusiastic participation from collectors worldwide, with attendance from Aspen to Paris to Hong Kong. High-profile sales included Lehmann Maupin’s transaction of two large wall-based works by American artist Teresita Fernández, fetching a combined total of $1 million. Additionally, three new works by South Korean artist Lee Bul, part of his “Perdu” series, found buyers at a range of $750,000 to $800,000.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art revealed plans for a sculpture unveiling by Lee Bul in September, adding to the anticipation surrounding the artist’s work. Other notable sales included Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Net paintings, a Philip Guston piece, and a large-scale sculpture by Alicja Kwade.

David Zwirner reported strong interest in Yayoi Kusama’s works, with sales exceeding $3 million. Hauser & Wirth also celebrated significant transactions, including the sale of a George Condo oil-on-linen work for $2.35 million and several works by Amy Sherald and Henry Taylor to prominent American museums.

Pace, having recently welcomed Polish artist Alicja Kwade to its programme, swiftly sold her large-scale 2023 sculpture “l’ordre des mondes (Totem).” The gallery also reported sales of works by Isamu Noguchi, Lee Kun-Yong, and Lynda Benglis.

Tracey Emin’s emotional painting, “Deep Feeling (2023),” sold for $1.64 million through Xavier Hufkens. Thaddaeus Ropac facilitated the sale of Robert Rauschenberg’s “Copperhead-Bite IX / ROCI CHILE (1985)” for $1.7 million, emphasising its cultural significance.

While some artworks changed hands, one notable piece that garnered attention was Frank Stella’s “Delta (1958)” at Yares Art, priced at a staggering $45 million. Though not yet sold, the painting’s historical significance and Stella family’s pricing decision contribute to its status as the most expensive piece at ABMB.

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