New Delhi, June 7, 2021 (Yes Punjab) Auction houses globally may have seen very different trends during the Covid-induced lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, but a mix of online and live auction formats is keeping the art market going, and the collectors’ community thriving.
Here is what you can look forward to in the upcoming months:
Women in art
For the first time, Christie’s in France will hold a sale dedicated to women artists on June 16, covering all mediums — ancient and modern paintings, sculptures, books and autographed letters, photographs, engravings, design, jewels, fashion. The panorama will pay tribute to women artists working over five centuries, from different nationalities, all of whom have marked art history, from the 16th to the 21st century.
In its first auction dedicated to female artists across the centuries, many of whom have been categorised or marginalised by history due to their gender, auction house Sotheby’s had staged the ‘(Women) Artists’ sale in May. It explored the art historical contributions and personal stories of these artists across 400 years.
Asian modern and contemporary art
The inaugural edition of a major contemporary art auction, “Contemporary Curated: Asia” by Sotheby’s, will take place both as an evening sale and in an online format. It is curated by musical legend and avid art collector Jay Chou. The Hong Kong live sale will be on June 18, while the auction runs online from June 10-22. The Mando-pop megastar is assuming the role of auction curator, saying, “I want to utilise my role as a curator to stage a very different auction preview, one that opens a new door to the world of art.” He also speaks about demystifying art “so that people can understand it better”.
Bonhams Hong Kong Fine Chinese Paintings sale in June has also presented “Calligraphy Couplet in Running Script” — the largest-ever couplet by modern master painter Zhang Daqian. The monumental and exceedingly rare work, measuring three and a half metres tall, is an exemplar of the creative pinnacle of Zhang’s career, and had its market debut after nearly 80 years since its creation.
Literary and historical collectibles
A “lost library” of British literature emerges after decades to be offered at Sotheby’s across three auctions. Thought lost for almost a century, the Honresfield Library was assembled with passion by self-made Victorian industrialists Alfred and William Law at the turn of the 20th century and has since been maintained with care by generations of the Law family. A unique treasury replete with cornerstones of British culture, its re-emergence after almost 100 years in obscurity marks a defining moment for bibliophiles in what is set to be the one of the great library sales of recent years.
Among the library’s holdings is the most important material by the Bronte sisters to come to light in a generation — unrivalled in importance by any other private collection. The rare pieces open a window onto the short but amazing lives of Charlotte, Emily, Anne and even Branwell Bronte. The more than 500 historic manuscripts, exceptional first editions, intimate letters and beautiful bindings will be offered across three auctions at Sotheby’s, commencing this summer (first auction open for bidding from 2-13 July).
Christie’s is also holding the largest sneaker auction ever for the auction house in partnership with Stadium Goods, featuring rare early samples; a complete set of Original Air Jordans 1-14; game worn shoes; and Jordan-related items from Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Drake, Eminem, Derek Jeter, Russell Westbrook, Ray Allen, and Jimmy Butler. Bidding begins online from June 22.
Digital, NFT art on auction
The “Natively Digital: A Curated NFT Sale” will run from June 3-10 and features work by 27 digital artists, including “Quantum” by Kevin McCoy, a simple geometric animation which Sotheby’s says is the first known NFT, created in May 2014.