February Virtual Exhibition
The Small Works Show features 50 paintings from 13 artists. With an array of styles from landscapes to portraiture and your favorite mouse, Chuckie. All works from the exhibition are 8 x 8 inches and under, making them the perfect gems to fit in any open space!
This exhibition will go live on our website on February 1st. Since our February newsletter is hitting your inbox a few days early, here is a sneak peek at the exhibition:
We are scheduled to attend the Palm Beach Show, February 17 - 22, at the Palm Beach Convention Center. If you would like tickets, please contact the gallery, and tell us which tickets you prefer and how many you need.
VIP Preview Ticket - Feb. 17-22, 2022 (5pm Entry)
VIP Preview Ticket - Feb. 17-22, 2022 (7pm Entry)
General Admission - Feb. 18-22, 2022
Note that we have a limited quantity of complimentary tickets.
Stocks & Crypto
Oh boy, did 2022 get off to a rocky start… as I mentioned when we wrapped up 2021, there are several concerning factors in play. The commonality, and something the markets hate, is uncertainty… and we are dealing with a lot of uncertainty right now. We have no idea how long Covid will linger and how the coming months will play out – will we see a lull in infections and hospitalizations, or will our medical infrastructure continue to be strained? Will the Fed take a more aggressive approach to curb inflation… and further, will their actions be effective in combating the inflation we are experiencing? On top of that, there has been turmoil in Eastern Europe… as tensions rise between Russia and Ukraine, the possibility of a military conflict is suddenly on the table; we all know the US can’t keep itself out of a good ol’ war with Russia. Altogether, the uncertainty has led to a surge in the volatility index; it’s up nearly 100% year to date – the volatility index, or VIX, represents the market’s expectations for volatility in the next 30 days, so it may continue to be a bumpy ride.
All that said, January was rough… the Dow shed more than 3,000 points in three weeks (-8.5%), and it appeared the trend was going to continue. On Monday the 24th of January, the DJIA plummeted more than 1,000 points but miraculously bounced back and ended up with a positive day – the first time in history we’ve experienced a drop that big while recovering in the same session. The past week was choppy, but as of closing on the 28th, the DOW is sitting at 34,725. The NASDAQ got absolutely hammered, dropping more than 16% in those first few weeks; it closed on the 28th at 13,770, which is about 14% off the start of the year. The S&P 500 was somewhere between the two, which is still pretty bad… it bottomed out after dropping more than 11%, and now sits at 4,431.
Turning to currencies and commodities… the Pound and Euro were strengthening just as the US markets were getting ready to fall off a cliff. As the US markets bounced in the past week, the major European currencies retreated a bit – as of end-of-day on Friday, the Pound was at $1.338, and the Euro was at $1.114. Gold tumbled to a 6-week low in the final days of January, currently at $1,785; a drop of 2.2% for the month. Crude has steadily climbed since early December and is now at levels we haven’t seen since 2014. While we’re usually looking for gains, when it comes to crude, gains manifest as higher prices at the gas pump, so that’s a double-edged sword – currently, crude futures are trading at $87/barrel.
This month, the real bloodbath was in the Crypto game… everything is down bad. Bitcoin dropped nearly a quarter of its value as it flirted with $30K (in November, it was pushing 70K! Talk about volatility). Ethereum is down more than 34% for the month, currently at $2,500… if you’ve been considering an NFT purchase, now may be the time – they’re essentially all on sale considering they are priced in ETH. Litecoin also tumbled about 34% as it briefly dipped under $100; it’s now trading at $109, which represents a 25% loss for January.
I decided to leave 2021 behind, so I sold off all of my longshot “investments”… I was getting a little seasick with all the volatility. Much of it was simply reinvested into funds that cover broad swaths of the market, while a chunk is sitting in cash waiting for the right opportunity. Until then, hold on tight.
By: Todd Casey
I recently had the honor of painting a commission for Rehs Contemporary. Commissions are always fun because I work directly with clients to help work out their ideas. Once the painting is completed, it is varnished and set aside to dry before shipping.
Shipping a painting is always a bit stressful. You have to pack your artwork correctly to arrive in perfect condition. Then comes the big decision, who to use for shipping. Once it is shipped off, you hope it will find its way to its destination as quickly and safely as possible. Sadly, sometimes things do not go the way you expected.
So, I packed up my painting and took it 200 yards to the post office. I even printed out the label and taped it to the box to make it super clear. The painting was supposed to travel roughly 60 miles southwest from Connecticut to Midtown Manhattan (Rehs Contemporary). I decided to send the package Priority Mail because the clerk said it would take one day and only cost $7.70. It was Monday, and it needed to get to the gallery by Thursday so the photographer could snap a photo of it. It was Monday, so I figured, plenty of time!
I took my receipt home and emailed the tracking number to the gallery. I checked the tracking on Tuesday and saw that the package was in New Jersey, which seemed odd because you must go through NYC to get to New Jersey.
On Tuesday around 4 pm, I called the gallery to see if the painting had arrived, but sadly it had not. I thought, so strange for making it in 1 day.
When I woke up and checked the tracking, the following day, I found out the painting was in Honolulu, Hawaii, at a distribution center. I did a double-take and checked to make sure I typed in the correct tracking number. Hawaii? Honolulu is roughly 5,000 miles west of Connecticut.
On Thursday, I called the post office to find out why the package was in Hawaii, the furthest state from its destination possible. The woman chuckled and stated that there was nothing she could do. Priority mail has 3-5 days to make it to its destination, so please call back if it is not arrived by Saturday.
When Friday rolled around, I saw the package was in transit, and by the end of the night, it was at the New York distribution center. On Saturday, they attempted delivery, but the gallery was closed. On Monday, it was signed for by the doorman at 5 East 57th street in NYC.
I have no idea why the package went to Hawaii, and I cannot imagine that this was an efficient way for the Post Office to send it. The moral of the story is to make sure your artwork is properly packed since it may take a longer-than-expected trip.
I was a letter carrier for the USPS for a year of my life, so I have a lot of respect for the postal service (my dad was a carrier for about 27 years and retired in 2003). Oh, in case you were wondering if letter carriers getting bit by dogs is real, I got bit by a German Sheppard my first month on the job.
The Dark Side
By: Alyssa & Nathan
Collector Forfeits Antiquities Linked To Douglas Latchford
James H. Clark, the founder of Netscape, has relinquished $35 million worth of South Asian antiquities, purchased between 2003 and 2008, from the disgraced dealer Douglas Latchford. According to reports, Latchford assured Clark that the antiquities were exported before the UNESCO 1970 Convention, regulations which made it illegal to trade cultural property. However, emails discovered between Latchford and an unnamed dealer describing works he recently sold to Clark as:
“fresh out of the ground, and needs to be cleaned,”
“they took off most of the mud, or as it was, a sandy soil.”
“hold on to your hat, just been offered this 56 cm Angkor Borei Buddha, just excavated, which looks fantastic. It’s still across the border, but WOW.”
In 2008, when Douglas Latchford could not supply Clark with the proper legal documents for a $30 million sculpture, Clark cut ties with the dealer.
The surrendered works will be returned to their rightful homes; 28 of them to Cambodia, where they may appear in a new wing of the Cambodian National Museum, along with other works smuggled out of the country by Latchford.
***Latchford has since passed away, but his scheme reached far and wide, touching institutions like the Denver Art Museum, the British Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His daughter has agreed to repatriate his $50 million collections of antiquities to Cambodia.
The Case Of The Stolen Dali
This past Sunday, a robbery was reported at the apartment of Montserrat Herrera Coromines in Barcelona’s Sarrià-Sant Gervasi neighborhood. Among the items stolen were two original works by Salvador Dalí. The stolen works, two of a series of four, are charcoal-on-paper drawings created in 1922 when Dalí was 18-years-old. Ms. Herrera Coromines is the granddaughter of Pere Coromines, Dalí’s friend who commissioned the drawings as illustrations for a book he wrote. While the book was never published, the pictures remained in the possession of the Coromines family, only being put on display once in 2004 at the Museu de L’Empordà.
Each drawing is estimated to be worth €300,000. Because they were created so early in Dalí’s artistic life, many may not recognize them as having been made by him. He wouldn’t start experimenting with surrealism until the late 1920s, so the early drawings show scenes of rural Catalan life like a group of peasants or a country dance.
The historic patrimony unit of the Catalan police was soon called in to investigate, but so far, it is unknown who stole the works. Coincidentally, the robbery occurred on the thirty-third anniversary of Dalí’s death. So, we might have some art historians working as thieves somewhere in Barcelona. That’s a much better story than it just being a coincidence.
Spurs Crafted By Edward Bohlin Gallop To A Record Price
Edward Bohlin was born in Sweden in 1895 and heard stories of the American West at a young age. He dreamed of coming to America and making a name for himself in the Wild Wild West. At the age of 15, he ran away from home and made it to America by way of a four-mast schooner; it wasn’t long before he arrived in Cody, Wyoming, where he opened his first saddle shop.
Bohlin’s career began in the 1920s, and by the 1930s, he became known as the finest western silversmith. He crafted superb saddles, buckles, spurs, and gun belts for Hollywood stars when Westerns topped the movie charts. Shortly after, he designed saddles and outfits for TV shows like the Long Ranger. In addition, Bohlin created magnificent parade outfits and floats for the Tournament of Roses. The parade made its first appearance in 1890 to celebrate the New Year. Since 1902, the Rose Bowl has followed the parade, which helps fund the parade’s cost.
Bohlin was a perfectionist; he never accepted anything less than the best craftsmanship. The leather on his saddles still squeaks after 60 years, and the silver requires only a cloth to clean because he used the highest grade of sterling silver.
A pair of Bohlin’s spurs were recently auctioned and set a record price. They were part of his personal parade outfit that took him and several additional artists 14 years to complete. The rest of the outfit is in the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles. The intricate leather artistry, stainless steel, silver, and gold make these spurs instantly recognizable (maybe his initials are a give-a-way too), as they were once on display at the 1967 World’s fair. The pair were estimated to bring $100-125K and doubled the low estimate when they merrily galloped their way to $200K ($236K w/p).
Spider-Man Spins His Way To An Auction Record
Spider-Man spins his way to a new auction record as an original artwork by Mike Zeck recently sold at auction. He created the piece in 1984 for the comic book Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars No. 8 (page 25); it set a record price for the most expensive interior page of a comic book.
The three-panel drawing reveals how Peter Parker got his new black costume which Marvel introduced several months before releasing this issue. The Black outfit had a secret….it turns out it was alive. Spider-Man quickly rejects the costume when he realizes that it is evil. The Symbiote costume (the Symbiotes are a fictional species of extraterrestrials created by Marvel comics) soon moves onto Eddie Brock and thus begins the character of Venom. In addition, several Marvel characters are illustrated in one of the bottom panels, including Professor X, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, and Mr. Fantastic- sure to attract any superhero fan!
Bidding for the 15 x 10-inch drawing started at $330K and quickly escalated as buyers vied for the super prize. The hammer finally fell at $2.8M ($3.36M w/p), breaking the record set in 2014 when artwork for an interior page of The Incredible Hulk sold for $657K.
The Art Market
Things in the public arena started to ramp up towards the end of January, and with all that was going on, we only had time to cover a couple of the sales. Next week we will start posting additional reviews of the January auctions on our blog.
19th-Century European Art Sale - Sotheby's, New York
Look, enough is enough. Auction rooms need a reality check for their 19th-century works of art. Over the past ten years, the market has changed. Most collectors are interested in works in good condition, of high quality, and from an artist’s best periods. Offering works that have issues and placing high estimates on them is a recipe for disaster.
The 19th-century market is one of the most undervalued in the art world. Today you have people using computer programs to generate digital artwork that can sell for millions, while many outstanding and important 19th-century works can be acquired in the $20-250K range. It does not make any sense, or maybe I am just an old fuddy-duddy?
When I first saw Sotheby’s European Art Sale online, I was skeptical that it would do well, and after viewing the works in person, I knew it would be a tough hill to climb. Many of the pieces had condition issues, and some of the estimates harked back to a different time when people had no idea what to be concerned about. Now I am not saying that every work of art will be in perfect condition, but you want to try and buy those that have not had or require extensive restoration. Anyway, let’s get on with the show. (w/p = with the buyer’s premium)
In the early evening of January 27, Sotheby’s presented The European Art Sale. A live sale that started just after 5 pm and ended less than 47 minutes later – most of us wish all the evening sales would end that quickly!
Taking the top spot was a lovely painting by John F. Herring, Sr. titled The 1828 Doncaster Gold Cup. The picture measured 30 x 48 inches, dated from 1829 (a strong period for the artist), and was expected to sell in the $500-700K range – it hammered for $650K ($806.5K w/p); the painting last sold in 2002 for $779.5K w/p. Coming in second was Edmond-Georges Grandjean’s Le Boulevard des Italiens. This painting was expected to sell in the $300-500K range and hammered down at $250K ($315K w/p). I will add that not only was there a lot of inpainting in the sky (see images), but whoever framed it did not do a good job covering the edges (see the image). The painting last sold back in 1984 for $110,000. In third place was Mihály Munkácsy’s Portrait of Princess Soutzo. This example had pigment separation, carried a $150-250K estimate, and was last at auction in 1990 (it sold for $38,500). It hammered for $140K ($176.4K w/p) this time around.
Rounding out the top five were Raffaello Bartoletti’s Bacchante, a large marble sculpture that made $120K ($151.2K w/p – est. $120-180K), and then both Eugen van Blaas’ A Young Beauty and Corot’s Vallons défrichés sold for $110K ($138.6K w/p – est. $100-150K).
A couple of 19th-century works performed relatively well. Jules Joseph Lefebvre’s Graziella, a 10.5 x 8.5-inch portrait on panel, made $38K ($47.9K w/p) on an $8-12K estimate, and Carlo Cherubini’s La danza carried a $46-60K estimate and sold for $100K ($126K w/p). Sadly, several of the pricier works did not find buyers; among them were Godward’s Contemplation ($250-350K) and Happy Hours ($150-250K) – both had condition issues.
Elsley’s Well Done! had an estimate that did not jive with the current market ($300-500K) while Grimshaw’s A Yorkshire Road, November (est. $250-350K) was also a non-starter. Then there was Bouguereau’s Jeune bergère debout (est. $800-$1.2M) which did not have that wow factor for a million-dollar painting – it last sold in 1994 for $134.5K.
Of the 49 works offered, 34 sold (69.4% sell-through rate), which is not too bad; however, the total take was just $2.8M ($3.5M w/p), well below the $4.98-$7.46M estimate range. Of the 34 sold works, 19 were below, 9 within, and 6 above their expected ranges. Adding in the 15 unsold works left them with an accuracy rate of just 18.4%.
Look, as a work of art ages, more condition issues develop … something we all expect and accept – just think about how you looked when you were a teenager and how you look now. You know, wrinkles, puffiness, etc. (your dermatologist or plastic surgeon loves it). However, when it is time to place a work on the market, the estimate needs to consider its quality, period, and CONDITION -- unless it is by someone like da Vinci, then you can throw all of that out the window!
American Art Auction – Christie’s, New York
It was nice to have a break from the major auction action in New York. But we are now in a new year, and the sales are starting to ramp up. On January 19, Christie's offered a selection of 19th and 20th-Century American Art.
Taking the top spot was Albert Bierstadt's In the Yosemite. This pretty landscape was an oil on paper, measured 19 x 26 inches, and was estimated to bring $300-500K; it hammered down at $630K ($786K w/p – this was last on the market in 1973). Bierstadt also captured the second spot when his On Route to Yellowstone Park, Company A's Camp of the 86th U.S. Army (also oil on paper measuring 14 x 19 inches) made $320K ($400K w/p) on a $120-180K estimate – the seller bought this in 1984. David Johnson's Mount Lafayette from Franconia, New Hampshire, a 30 x 50-inch example from 1874-75, was expected to make $100-150K and sold for $280K ($350K w/p). The Johnson was also another fresh-to-the-market work in the same family collection since the 1970s. Three fresh works and three strong prices.
Rounding out the top five of the American art auction were Charles Schreyvogel's bronze The Last Drop, a great example of what happens when someone sells something at the wrong saleroom. On November 19, 2020, this small bronze 12 inches, was offered at an auction in Germany and sold for 17,000 Euros ($20K). Fourteen months later, it appeared here with an estimate of $40-60K and sold for $220K ($275K w/p). The fifth spot fell short... Winslow Homer's Startled, a watercolor, gouache, and charcoal on paper, carried a $200-300K estimate and hammered for $150K ($187.5K w/p).
There were several additional strong results; among them were Otis Kaye's Two Old Ways at $60K ($75K w/p - est. $15-25K), John Martin Tracy's Hunter and Two Dogs made $100K ($125K w/p - est. $15-25K), George Inness's Moonrise brought $120K ($150K w/p - est. $50-70K), and Robert Blum's unsigned A Venetian Canal at $65K ($81.25K w/p - est. $20-30K). The lots that did not find a buyer included William M. Chase's A Girl in Yellow (est. $120-180K), Alfred Bricher's Coastal Landscape (est. $30-50K), James Buttersworth's American Ships in a Storm (est. $40-60K), and Julian Scott's Civil War Battle Scene: A Moment of Decision (est. $30-50K).
Of the 69 works offered, 62 sold (89.9% sell-through rate) by the time the sale ended - pretty good. The low end of their estimate range was $2.96M, and the total hammer price was $3.98M ($4.97M w/p). Of the 62 sold lots, 19 were below, 20 within, and 23 above their presale estimate ranges, leaving them with an accuracy rate of 29% -- also pretty good.
This sale demonstrates that there is still a solid collector base for traditional works of art.
A Painting Resurrected - Yves Tanguy
War is nearly never good for the arts. During the Second World War alone, masterpieces by Canaletto, Durer, and Raphael were destroyed or lost, while living artists were suppressed and sometimes persecuted. In Europe, the Nazis clamped down hard on “degenerate art”, or art considered un-German. In 1937, the Nazis even organized an exhibit of such art to show what they sought to avoid. Countless works were destroyed in bonfires throughout the Nazi era. But this sort of behavior was not limited to Germany. For this story, we’re going to France.
In the 1920s and 1930s, fascists in France formed gangs and paramilitary groups, leading raids on meetings and events where degenerate art was displayed. One night in 1930, the Spanish surrealist filmmaker Luis Buñuel was showing his newest movie L’Age d’Or at a theater in Montmartre. Works by Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, Man Ray, and Yves Tanguy were hanging on the lobby walls. Among them was Tanguy’s painting Fraud in the Garden. When the fascist groups raided the theater, all the works were thought to have been damaged or destroyed. One of the Dalí works was repaired and is now on display at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. But Fraud in the Garden was believed to have certainly been lost in the raid. That is, until last week.
An anonymous French collector bought a surrealist painting at auction in 1985. Since then, the work's owner has insisted that it was the original Fraud in the Garden by Yves Tanguy. Few believed him. Aside from the documented raid of the theater, his painting was in such good condition. But recently, Jennifer Mass, a restorer, and professor of cultural heritage science at Bard College, has determined that the painting is, in fact, the original Fraud in the Garden. According to Mass, the painting had indeed been slashed but expertly restored. This discovery is most opportune since Tanguy’s catalogue raisonné compiled by Charles Stuckey and Stephen Mack is nearly complete.
Locking Up The Golden Coach
Earlier this week, the Dutch Royal Family announced that they would stop using their official state carriage, known as the Golden Coach. I first heard about the Golden Coach last summer when it was displayed at the Amsterdam Museum. The museum opened an exhibit delving into the colonial history of the Netherlands and its legacies, with the carriage serving as a sort of centerpiece. The museum’s artistic director, Margriet Schavemaker, commented how the exhibit is meant to highlight the ongoing debates regarding Dutch history: “For the Netherlands, I can only say that we are a country [with] a national identity based on the idea that we are very tolerant, very open, always for unity and polyphonic by heart. But at the same time, this means that we do not want to acknowledge that there is racism and structural inequities.”
The coach was originally gifted to Queen Wilhelmina upon her inauguration in 1898 on behalf of the people of Amsterdam. It’s one of those typically opulent carriages used by European royalty, intricately carved with a seemingly infinite number of ornaments and details, all of course covered in gold leaf. Before undergoing extensive renovations, it was last used by the king in 2015 to drive him to the opening of parliament. The main reason why the royal family decided to temporarily retire the carriage has to do with one of the decorative panels on one of its sides. This particular panel is known as the Tribute to the Colonies. It depicts several Black people bringing forth raw goods and crops like sugarcane, cacao beans, and elephant tusks, among others, laying them at the foot of an enthroned white woman, meant to serve as a physical embodiment of the Netherlands. Standing next to the seated woman is a white man handing a book to a Black child. According to the artist, Nicolaas van der Waay, this represented bringing civilization to the world.
Many in the Netherlands have been calling for the coach’s retirement for years, including activists, artists, and some members of the Dutch parliament. While King Willem-Alexander announced that the royal family would stop using the coach, at least temporarily, the coach is still scheduled to be on display at the Amsterdam Museum until the end of February. In a video message, the king said, “Our history contains much to be proud of. At the same time, it also offers learning material for faults to recognize and to avoid in the future”. The king also said the carriage could be used again in the future, but only “when the Netherlands is ready.” There had been a great deal of resistance towards discussing the Golden Coach in the past. Even the Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has stated that altering or discontinuing the use of the coach would be “rewriting history”. A royal spokeswoman has said that after the end of the exhibition, the Golden Coach would be returned to the royal stables in The Hague. But it may be a good idea for the royal family to keep the carriage in the museum as a long-term loan. That way, Dutch people can continue to learn about it and therefore learn about their country’s colonial history.
Will the Spice Flow?
The Rehs Family
© Rehs Galleries, Inc., New York – February 2022