Tag Archives: Christie’s

Original Tintin Drawing Sets New Auction Record

Original Tintin Drawing Sets New Auction Record

An original drawing from the popular Tintin adventure “Explorers on the Moon” sold for a record 1.55 million euros at a Paris auction on Saturday, auction house Artcurial announced.

The 50 cm X 35 cm drawing in Chinese ink by the Belgian cartoonist known as Herge shows the boy reporter, his dog Snowy and crusty sailor Captain Haddock wearing spacesuits and walking on the moon while looking at Earth.

It had been expected to sell for between 700,000 and 900,000 euros ($741,00 and $952,000).

“It’s simply fantastic! It’s an exceptional price for an exceptional piece,” said Artcurial’s comics expert Eric Leroy.

He described the “Explorers on the Moon” as “a key moment in the history of comic book art… it has become legendary for many lovers and collectors of comic strips.

“It is one of the most important from Herge’s postwar period, on the same level as ‘Tintin in Tibet’ and ‘The Castafiore Emerald’,” he added.

World Record

The 1954 book is viewed as one of Herge’s masterpieces. Saturday’s sale was a record for a single cartoon drawing. In 2012, the 1932 cover illustration of “Tintin in America” fetched 1.3 million euros.

Herge already holds the world record for the sale of a comic strip.

A double-page ink drawing that served as the inside cover for all the Tintin adventures published between 1937 and 1958, sold for 2.65 million euros ($3.58 million at that time) to an American fan two years ago.

Original Tintin comic book drawings have been fetching millions at auctions over the last few years.

In February 2015, the original cover design for “The Shooting Star” almost matched the record when it was sold for 2.5 million euros.

Back in May, the original artwork for the last two pages of the “King Ottokar’s Sceptre” book sold for $1.2 million while in October of last year a double page slate from the same Tintin book fetched more than 1.5 million euros.

That same month, an Asian investor paid $1.2 million for a drawing from “The Blue Lotus” book, published in 1936, of Tintin and Snowy in Shanghai.

Alongside the moon drawings, Artcurial also sold 20 ink sketches Herge created for a series of New Year’s greeting cards known as his “snow cards”.

The drawings, including Tintin and Snowy skiing, or hapless detectives the Thompson twins ice-skating, brought in 1.2 million euros.

Unfinished Thermozero

Prices for cartoon art have multiplied tenfold in the last decade, according to gallery owner Daniel Maghen, who also works with comic art.

Rival auction house Christie’s is putting drawings from another rare Herge strip up for sale later in the day in Paris.

It said the page from the unfinished story “Tintin and the Thermozero” – estimated at 250,000 euros – was the first ever to come to market.

Why the artist never finished the tale of espionage and a terrifying secret weapon set against the backdrop of the Cold War, is one of the great mysteries for Tintin-ologists.

The 1954 “Explorers on the Moon” completes the lunar adventure started in “Destination Moon” (1953) and features several hilarious episodes including Haddock getting drunk on whisky and floating off into space to briefly become a satellite of the asteroid Adonis.

It turns on Tintin foiling a plot to hijack the rocket by the evil stowaway spy Colonel Jorgen, who is backed by a mysterious foreign power.

The sales come as Tintinmania again grips the French capital, with Herge currently the subject of a huge retrospective exhibition at the Grand Palais.

Herge sold some 230 million Tintin albums by the time of his death in 1983.

blue diamond sotheby's

Rare Blue Diamond Sold for $17.1 million: Sotheby’s

Earlier this week, a rare blue diamond was sold for $17.1 million during Sotheby’s autumn jewel auctions in Geneva. The 8.01-carat diamond, appropriately named “Sky Blue” and presented in a Cartier setting was valued at $15-25 million by the auction house and had been previously sold in 2012 for $12.8 million – gaining 33 percent in value in four years.

Despite this success, “Sky Blue” pales in comparison with another blue diamond sold by Christie’s, highlighting the intense rivalry between Sotheby’s and Christie’s. The 14.62-carat  “Oppenheimer Blue”, sold in May at a Christie’s auction for $57.54 million – which remains the world record price.

“Given the rarity of blue diamonds of this size and quality which have ever been unearthed, you’d expect every auction of this kind to be a dogfight,” said Tobias Kormind, head of 77 Diamonds, Europe’s biggest online diamond jewellery retailer.

It wasn’t all sunny skies at Sotheby’s though, as the auction house did not manage to find buyers for two valuable items.

First is a parure that used to belong to Russian empress Catherine I. Valued at $3-5 million, it features diamonds and has, shall we say, a quite interesting story.

The other unsold piece also belonged to the Russian imperial family, this time Catherine II, also called Catherine the Great. The diamond necklace, fitted with a detachable clasps, was valued at $5 million and you can read more about it in our earlier story via the link above.

Christie’s, which opened the season on Tuesday with 167 lots, achieved $97 million in sales, and beat its pre-auction estimate of $80 million. Sotheby’s, on the other hand, were expecting total sales in excess of $100 million this season.

New Auction High for Monet Haystack: Christie’s

New Auction High for Monet Haystack: Christie’s

A Claude Monet painting, “Meule,” part of his famous grainstack series, sold at auction in New York Wednesday for $81.4 million, a record for the French master, Christie’s said.

The previous record was in June 2008. At the time, “Bassin aux nympheas” (“Water Lilies”) took $80.4 million at a sale in London. The final price, which includes fees and commission, crushed Christie’s pre-sale estimate of $45 million.

The auction lasted nearly 15 minutes, an unusual length for a sale of this format.

A woman in the room stayed in the running for some time before making a last offer of $53 million and leaving it to buyers being handled over the phone.

This painting, of just one haystack with a conical top, at twilight, is part of the series of grainstacks painted by Monet during the winter of 1890-1891 from his house in Giverny, Normandy. It is one of the rare works in this series to still be in private hands, Christie’s said.

Most of the others are in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, or the Art Institute of Chicago. This painting was acquired in September 1891 by the Knoedler & Co. art gallery, which brought it to the United States.

In recent years, prices for works by Monet or other celebrated Impressionists have shot through the roof.

De Kooning Painting Sets Auction Record

Willem de Kooning’s “Untitled XXV” was sold late Tuesday at Christie’s in New York for $66.3 million, a record for a work by the abstract artist and for post-war contemporary art.

The imposing work, which measures 7 by 6.5 feet (2 x 2.2 meters), was painted by the Dutch-American artist in 1977 and is emblematic of the energetic, multicolor brush strokes he used in his work of the mid 1970s.

Christie’s auction house initially valued “Untitled XXV” at $40 million (37 million euros). When the same painting was auctioned ten years ago it went for $27.1 million, a record at the time.

The bid was placed in a phone call, and the buyer’s identity was not revealed.

New York’s fall auction season kicked off this week with an array of masterpieces, drawing bidders from around the world at Christie’s and Sotheby’s auction houses.

Late Monday Edvard Munch’s “Girls on the Bridge” sold for $54.5 million, the second-highest auction price paid for a work by the Norwegian painter, Sotheby’s said.

The 1902 painting depicting women in colorful dresses fetched a price higher than the auction house’s estimate of above $50 million.

There’s no shortage of bidders in the United States, Paris, London – and increasingly Asia, with growing Chinese fortunes spent on internationally recognized works at both major auction houses.

The sales will serve as a barometer of the global art market, which did well during this year’s spring auctions despite a slow 2015.

Pioneers: Christie’s Hong Kong Asian Art Auction

Auction house Christie’s will hold an autumn sale titled ‘The Pioneers’ on 26 November at Hong Kong. The sale will be the first to commemorate notable contemporary Asian artists while also celebrating Christie’s 250th anniversary. 

Avid collectors will be able to get their hands on works of influential, avant-garde Asian artists from the 20th and 21st century, including Sanyu, Zao Wou-ki, Zhang Daqian, Wu Guanzhong, Lin Fengmian and Kim Whan-ki.

CHU TEH-CHUN (ZHU DEQUN, France/China, 1920-2014) VERTIGE NEIGEUX (SNOWY VERTIGO) Oil on canvas Each: 200 x 200 cm. (78 ¾ x 78 ¾ in.) (2) Overall: 200 x 400 cm. (78 ¾ x 157 ½ in.)

CHU TEH-CHUN (ZHU DEQUN, France/China, 1920-2014)
VERTIGE NEIGEUX (SNOWY VERTIGO)
Oil on canvas
Each: 200 x 200 cm. (78 ¾ x 78 ¾ in.) (2)
Overall: 200 x 400 cm. (78 ¾ x 157 ½ in.)

A number of the artists have actually lived abroad for some time of their lives, allowing them to blend their Eastern heritage with Western art techniques and philosophies, thus shaping an innovative art style.  

The cultural fusion is also reflected through the chosen auction venue of Hong Kong, which Rebecca Wei, president of Christie’s Asia, described as “a point of confluence between Western and Eastern philosophies”.

RYUZABURO UMEHARA (Japanese, 1888-1986) CANNES oil on canvas 129 x 95 cm. (50 ¾ x 37 ⅜ in.) Painted in 1961-1963 HK$ 10,000,000 - 16,000,000 US$ 1,285,400 - 2,056,600

RYUZABURO UMEHARA (Japanese, 1888-1986)
CANNES
oil on canvas
129 x 95 cm. (50 ¾ x 37 ⅜ in.)
Painted in 1961-1963
HK$ 10,000,000 – 16,000,000
US$ 1,285,400 – 2,056,600

Jonathan Stone, chairman of Asian Art at Christie’s, adds: “Hosting the sale in Hong Kong stays true to our continued belief in championing innovation and presenting on the world stage artist of the highest cultural and artistic accomplishment.”

‘The Pioneers’ sale will be held on 26 November 2016, at the James Christie’s Room, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, No. 1 Expo Drive, Wanchai.’

Invest in These: 4 Most Expensive Homes

Forget those expensive cars that would turn heads on the road. The Palace team picks out four of the most expensive homes from around the world that you can add to your property portfolio. We’re be adding a little more depth to each item here now that we are no longer constrained by print pages.

Le Palais Bulles, France $456 million (Main Picture)
Located in Théoule-sur-Mer, South-eastern France, this ‘Bubble Palace’ by Hungarian architect Antti Lovag features a 13,000 sq. ft. main residence with 10 bedroom suites, three swimming pools, a 500-seat auditorium, and views of the Mediterranean. If you must ask, even after taking a good long look at the place, the bubble palace is like a tribute to round shapes and is owned by Pierre Cardin. Fashion legend Cardin is of course famous for the bubble dress so there is a correlation to his choice of design for his home, and indeed his choice of architect in Lovag. A man who famously believed that the straight line was “an aggression against nature,” Lovag was just to guy to hire if you wanted a home or building that was mainly round. Built in 1979 and owned by Cardin since then, this six-level property has hosted many star-studded events, including the 2016 Dior Resort Show, and is available through Christie’s.

Sky Penthouse, Monaco $400 millionSky Penthouse, Monaco

Providing stunning views of the Mediterranean, this massive 35,500 sq. ft. Sky Penthouse crowns the Tour Odéon, a 170-meter twin-skyscraper residence that is the first high-rise to be built in Monaco since the 1980s. High-rises were deemed architecturally undesirable in the 1980s and this new effort has encountered some of the same obstacles. Nevertheless, Prince Albert appears quite prepared to see it through so it will indeed become a major landmark in the famously land-scarce city-state. The Tour Odéon or Odeon Tower will be the tallest building in Monaco and the second highest on the Mediterranean. Located near the Place du Casino, Hôtel de Paris and Hôtel Hermitage, the home includes a cinema, library, gym and a infinity pool with a waterslide. Scheduled for 2018 completion, the home – the Daily Mail called it the world’s most expensive apartment – is available through Knight Frank.

Great Island, U.S.A $175 million001_greatisland

Tucked in the affluent Darien suburb of the Long Island Sound, this 63-acre estate, owned by the family of industrialist William Ziegler, is one of the most expensive properties in the US. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, if sold for its list price of $175 million, it will officially be the most expensive home sold in the USA. This stunning opportunity is apparently now available for the first time in more than a century. Built in the 1900s, the property includes a main residence with six bedrooms, staff and guest quarters, a private beach and dock, small waterfront cottages, and equestrian facilities. An hour from Manhattan, the property provides superb waterfront views and is available through Christie’s.

Palazzo di Amore, U.S.A $149 millionpalazzo-di-amore

Designed by developer Mohamed Hadid (father of supermodel Gigi Hadid), this 25-acre property in Beverly Hills features a 35,000 sq. ft. main residence and a guest home. This one was originally listed for $195 million in 2014 by current owner, real estate investor Jeff Greene so the current price might be considered a steal. The main residence features 12 bedrooms – including the 5,000 sqf master – and a whopping 23 bathrooms. The estate also includes a 15,000 sq. ft. entertainment complex with a ballroom, revolving dance floor, a 50-seat theatre, and a bowling alley. There is also a 27-car garage, a working vineyard producing six types of wine, and even an organic farm. Available through Coldwell Banker Previews International.

This article first appeared in Palace Magazine.

Christie’s Forecasts Realistic Auction Prices

Christie’s Forecasts Realistic Auction Prices

The world has gotten used to ever increasing values for virtually all categories of so-called investments of passion over the last few years. Nevertheless, Christie’s is cautioning that “selective demand” and the global slump in demand is pushing the auction house to seek more “realistic estimates” on their offerings in the coming auction season.

“This year the market is not at the same level as it was one year or two years ago. We are facing a more challenging market,” Guillaume Cerruti, Christie’s president for Europe, the Middle East, Russia and India, told journalists in Dubai.

“To face this situation, the key word for us is selectivity,” he said, announcing two auctions this week in the glitzy Gulf emirate, one on Modern and Contemporary Art and another showcasing Important Watches.

“We want to have sales that are well curated, sales with maybe less objects but of high quality at… realistic estimates,” he said.

Displaying a distinct preference for finding an upside, he did not provide specific figures on the fall in overall sales. Instead, he said that online-only sales “have been a real success.”

“For the first six months of the year, we have sold through our online-only sales of 20 million pounds ($24.4 million) around the world,” a 100-percent over the same period of 2015, he added.

“We’re making sure that we find good quality of works that are well priced to ride through this more challenging period,” said Christie’s Middle East managing director, Michael Jeha.

In an auction on Tuesday of 113 artworks, the highest estimated price has been set at $180,000, far below the $400,000 price tag on paintings sold in March this year. Around 150 watches go up for auction on Wednesday, with estimated prices reaching $250,000.

Among them are two Patek Philippe 18K white gold automatic wristwatches with the Iraqi coat of arms and the name “Saddam”, after executed Iraqi president Saddam Hussein who ordered the watches in 1974 and 1980 as gifts. Their prices are estimated at $10,000 and $18,000 each.

London-based Christie’s, which celebrates its 250th anniversary on December 5, says its sales at Dubai auctions have exceeded $300 million since it opened a branch in the emirate 10 years ago.

Monet Haystack Painting Set for Christie’s Auction

Monet Haystack Painting Set for Christie’s Auction

One of Claude Monet’s celebrated “Haystack” paintings – estimated at $45 million – is coming up for sale at the Christie’s auction house in New York City. If it achieves or exceeds the estimate, it will confirm that Impressionist art still moves collectors.

With wealthy Chinese collectors expressing keen interest in such works, the painting – part of a series of haystack pictures painted by Monet during the winter of 1890-91 from his French home in Giverny – will first be presented next week in Hong Kong. It will then be shown in London before returning to New York in early November.

This canvas, representing a simple cone-shaped haystack at dusk, is one of the rare works in this series to still be in private hands, Christie’s said.

Most of the others are in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, or the Art Institute of Chicago. This painting, to be auctioned on November 16, was acquired in September 1891 by the Knoedler & Co. art gallery, which brought it to the United States.

In recent years, prices for works by Monet or other celebrated Impressionists have shot through the roof.

The record for a Monet was set in June 2008, when a work from his “Water Lilies” series – “Le Bassin aux Nympheas” – was sold by Christie’s in London for GBP40.9 million ($80.1 million).

Comics & Illustrations Auction By Christie’s

On Saturday, November 19, Christie’s Paris, in partnership with specialized gallerist and publisher Galerie Daniel Maghen, will host the second ‘Comics & Illustrations’ auction of the year. One month prior, a medley of these auction items will be on view in London (October 4-12) and Amsterdam (October 19-24) as a free public showcase before landing in Paris.

The selection of European comics on display spotlights beloved adventurers and heroes such as the unvanquishable Gaul Astérix; the scientist/captain duo Blake & Mortimer; the intrepid sailor Corto Maltese, the boyish, perpetually red-clad Spirou, and the forest-dwelling blue-hued community of Smurfs.

Albert Uderzo, ASTÉRIX, 'Astérix In Spain.' Original page n°16. Estimate: €170.000-190.000 © 2016 Goscinny - Uderzo Use only Galerie Daniel Maghen with Christie's

Albert Uderzo, ASTÉRIX, ‘Astérix In Spain.’ Original page n°16. Estimate: €170.000-190.000

Hergé — born Georges Remi — has been part of the popular imagination for over half a century with his ‘ligne claire’ style, and is currently the subject of a major retrospective at the Grand Palais in Paris. His work is represented in the showcase here by a double-page spread from his first published series, “Quick and Flupke,” dated from 1930 (estimate: €90,000-100,000). In addition, an Hergé sketch for the 1957 calendar in ‘Le Journal de Tintin’ spotlights the 12 main characters from ‘The Adventures of Tintin’, seen dancing like mad (estimate: €110,000-120,000).

Edgar P. Jacobs, 'Blake et Mortimer, La Marque Jaune' (The Yellow M). Original page n°6. Estimate: €120.000-140.000 © © Studio Jacobs / Editions Blake & Mortimer, 2016 Use only Galerie Daniel Maghen with Christie's

Edgar P. Jacobs, ‘Blake et Mortimer, La Marque Jaune’ (The Yellow M). Original page n°6. Estimate: €120.000-140.000

“I believe that the subject of comics and graphic novels is no longer a niche. Over the last ten years, the demand has considerably grown and many galleries and institutions have organised exhibitions in response,” noted Daniel Maghen of the medium’s new wave of relevance. Moreover, he notes the changing regard is also affected by the nostalgia factor of a grown-up generations of young readers. “I think that when one buys an original page from his [or her] favorite adventure, it is above all motivated by the feeling of a nice memory that is materialized by a piece.”

There will be a special focus — for both the sale and the exhibition tour — on French graphic novelist Jean-Pierre Gibrat. This marks the first time that Christie’s Paris will devote an auction catalog to a contemporary artist. The tome features 17 full-page comics and original drawings, as well as a Q&A with the author, who noted that “the detail is what drives the composition.”

Jean-Pierre Gibrat, 'Le Sursis,' Original page n°24. Estimate: 35.000-40.000 © Gibrat Use only Galerie Daniel Maghen with Christie's

Jean-Pierre Gibrat, ‘Le Sursis,’ Original page n°24. Estimate: 35.000-40.000

Gibrat will attend the London and Amsterdam exhibitions and present his work to the public. They will draw from the seven volumes that constitute his celebrated publications: “Le Sursis” (1999), “Le vol du Corbeau” (2002 and 2005), “Mattéo” (2008, 2010, and 2014).

Additional contemporary figures like Moebius, Bilal, Vance, Rosinski, Guarnido, and Loisel are being shown as well.

Christie’s Auctions 108 Rare Michelin Guides

International auction house Christie’s is set to auction off 108 rare Michelin Guides on December 5 in Paris. The guides, some dating as far back as 1900, are set to attract collectors and perhaps food historians as they go under the hammer. The oldest of the lot (and all the guides will be sold as a single lot) was printed at the turn of the 20th century and was published with the intention of providing motorists with as much information as possible. The original guides included information on motoring services such as mechanics and gas stations as well as places to stay and eat.

One edition set to attract a lot of attention from collectors and history buffs is the rare 1939 Guide that was reprinted in 1943 by the American Army. The reprinted guide was used to help soldiers find their way around Normandy beaches after the Allied landings! That is a true story, as far as we can tell. Lovers of gastronomy will be more curious to take a closer look at the 1923 Guide. That marked the beginning of Michelin attributing stars to the establishments listed in its “Recommended Hotels and Restaurants” section.

Nearly a decade later, it developed into a ranking system with the introduction of two and three star categories before being finalized two years later. The rare collection will be up for auction as a single lot with an estimated value of $22,476 to $33,711. Before the collection goes under the hammer, it will be on public display at Christie’s Paris until December 4.

Christie's Auction Sells 19th-Century Wine

Christie’s Auction Sells 19th-Century Wine

Christie’s Hong Kong’s latest vintage wine auction last Saturday saw some 2,000 bottles of vintage French burgundy wine from the storied Maison Bouchard Pere et Fils go under the hammer, its oldest bottle dating all the way from 1864.

From the Meursault-Charmes region, the 1864 vintage sold for HKD134,750 ($17,451) to an undisclosed bidder, far exceeding a top-ranged estimate of HKD80,000. As the oldest bottle in the Bouchard cellars, the wine boasts a pale golden color and a honeyed character.

“Early examples of Burgundy like those presented in the sale are extremely rare, with 16 bottles in our sale dating from the 19th century. The strong results from today’s sale, reflect how Burgundy wines continue to be avidly collected in the (Asian) region,” said Tim Triptree, senior specialist and head of sales for Christie’s wine department.

Another notable vintage, a 1865 Montrachet, also sold for HKD196,000, a price tag much more than the top range estimate of HKD60,000. The remarkable results come after Hong Kong’s abolishment of duties on wine imports in 2008, which made it a gateway to a prosperous wine market in mainland China. An austerity drive in China initially caused wariness in bagging high-end bottles amongst officials, but the market has since picked up.

Gilles de Larouziere, president of the Henriot wine group, which owns Maison Bouchard, had previously said the sale was taking place in Hong Kong because of “extraordinary enthusiasm for great French wines”.

Maison Bouchard Pere et Fils’ vineyards cover grounds spanning 130 hectares, of which 12 produce grand cru wines and 74 grow second-ranking premier crus. Currently helmed by the Henriot family of Champagne since 1995, the French wine producer was originally founded in 1731 and has a collection of around 150,000 bottles to date.

Find out more about the wines on auction via an interview with Christian Albouy, CEO of Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils.

 

Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils

Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils: Vintage Wine Auction

Care for a vintage bottle for the cellars of Bouchard Père & Fils? Well, the good news is that come September 3, Christie’s Hong Kong will be offering 220 lots of rare vintage wines from Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils. However, should the wines and vintages from the largest vineyard in Burgundy not be of interest, then you may still look forward to several lots from an esteemed connoisseur’s private collection. Joining these lots is a selection of Burgundy wines from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.

According to Christie’s Hong Kong, several of the vintages date back to 1846 and remained “undisturbed in their cellars in the Château de Beaune until they were shipped to Hong Kong specifically for this sale.” The bottles had been left unlabelled in the naturally cool and humid environment found in the cellars of Château de Beaune — an ideal climate to mature a vintage wine. The selected wines and vintages that will go under the hammer next month, have been reconditioned and re-corked before being re-labelled and housed in new wooden presentation cases.

Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Cellar

Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Cellar

Some lots to look out for, include the 1865 Montrachet, 1865 Chambertin and 1846 & 1858 Meursault-Charmes. From the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, comes a Vertical Collection of La Tâche from 1951 to 2008. While wine enthusiasts would be happy to learn about the sale, it comes as no surprise that some would be less confident in sampling the wines that have been stored for close to two centuries. To help determine if the wines are more collectibles for the trophy case or consumable spirits, we picked up an AFP interview with Christian Albouy, CEO of Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils.

The oldest vintage in your auction is 1846. Even with the best possible storage conditions, what impact do all those years have on wine quality?

All the bottles are of remarkable quality, and that includes the 1846 Meursault Charmes. We store our entire collection in cellars (built in the 15th century) protected from light, at a natural temperature range of 10-14°C. The humidity level is a natural 50-75%, which prevents the corks from drying out and becoming porous which would lead to oxidation. We also check our bottles regularly and replace the corks every 25-30 years, which gives us an opportunity to monitor the quality of the wine.

Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils: Bouchard Volnay Caillerets 1889

Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils: Bouchard Volnay Caillerets 1889

Can the quality of an 1846 or 1865 wine still increase if a buyer decided to continue the aging process, or has it reached its peak at that age?

That’s a very difficult question to answer, but it does seem possible in optimal storage conditions. It’s the oxygen dissolved in the wine which will slowly and steadily change and possibly improve the wine. The main threats to wine conservation are oxidation and the effect of ultraviolet rays from daylight. Red wines are easier to preserve because of their anthocyanin and tannin content. A wine’s vintage is also a very important factor. The content of sugar can play a part, as can the level of alcohol which protects the wine against micro-organisms.

Which appellations hold up best against the passing of time?

In terms of the appellations that can be found in the upcoming sale, it could be argued that the red wines from the southern part of the Côte de Beaune area (Beaune Grève Vigne de l’Enfant Jésus, Volnay, Pommard, and Corton) are in a slightly stronger position than the wines from the Côte de Nuits area. But Chambertin, Romanée and Vosne-Romanée wines also have exceptionally good aging potential. The vinification and bottling processes have a very significant impact on aging potential.

Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils: Bouchard Musigny 1945

Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils: Bouchard Musigny 1945

The auction, which has been organized in partnership with Christie’s, will comprise 220 lots, including 2,000 bottles of vintage wine ranging from 1846 to 2009. Bouchard Père & Fils is a highly renowned domaine in Burgundy, eastern France, and one of the oldest wine businesses in Beaune, the capital of Burgundy wine. It produces a variety of appellations, including the top Burgundy wines Corton-Charlemagne and Meursault Perrières. The vineyard covers a total of 130 hectares, including 12 hectares of Grands Crus and 74 hectares of Premiers Crus.

This information from this article, was provided by Christie’s Hong Kong Wine Department and AFPRelaxnews. To learn more about the upcoming auction, visit Christie’s.

Top Auction Sales 2015 vs 2016

Stellar auction results from last year and this year continue to inspire confidence in luxury goods as an investment class but a slowdown is definitely underway. The 2016 Knight Frank Report released earlier this year observes that its own Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index (KFLII) rose by 7% in 2015 compared with a 5% drop in the FTSE 100 equities index (Brexit will make the FTSE a less-than-useful gauge next year). The report also notes that classic cars are the strongest performer (+17%) while furniture is in the red (-6%); these figures represent price changes over the course of 12 months to Q4 2015.

This year has been confusing for us to report on so we thought we would bring you the Knight Frank selection of top lots at auction in 2015 (scroll to the bottom), while noting some strangeness and a string of disappointments. The strangeness here is the record-breaking sale of the 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti, which auction house Artcurial moved for $35 million (pictured top). At the time, various sources (ourselves included) reported that it was the most expensive car ever sold at auction but, due to currency volatility, this has been thrown into doubt.

As the Knight Frank report notes, the 2014 Bonhams sale of the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta sold for $38 million so retains the USD record; the 1957 Scag holds the Euro record at 32.075 million. At 2014 exchange rates, the Scag would have beaten the Berlinetta but not so today. We are now in the position of having two Ferrari claimants to the throne of most expensive car ever sold at auction! The failure of the Ferrari 275 NART Spider to sell in May brought some clarity to the current situation, with experts from every auction house anticipating and warning of a slowdown in Ferrari auction prices and, consequently, in the entire classic car segment.

Look no further than the top lots sold to date for some context. All-time highs were recorded in 2015 for Jaguar ($13.2 million), Porsche ($10.1 million) and McLaren ($13.75 million). The best result we have for this year to-date is the aforementioned Scag, with everything else failing to even register on the newsworthiness scale. This explains why you may not have read anything about impressive auction sales recently.

Picasso's $179 Million 'Les Femmes d'Algers'

Picasso’s $179 Million ‘Les Femmes d’Algers’

In the world of art, Picasso’s Women of Algiers remains the best performer at auction to date, selling for $179.3 million in May, 2015. Records thus far in this year include personal-bests for Jean Michel Basquiat (57.3 million) and Frida Kahlo ($17.2 million), far below last year’s stars Modigliani ($170 million) and Twombly ($70.5 million).

Diamonds also lost their sparkle in 2016, with the Lesedi la Rona failing to sell this year. Given that this is second largest diamond ever mined, its failure to find a buyer (Sotheby’s estimated $70 million but the final bid was $61 million) is lamentable. Nevertheless, the success of blue diamonds at auction last year continues to fuel hope for the colored diamonds subset. As long as Hong Kong tycoon Joseph Lau keeps buying these, prices look to stay rock-steady.

The Lesedi la Rona diamond from Botswana.

The Lesedi la Rona diamond from Botswana.

Knight Frank 2015 Auction Stand Out Sales

Picasso: Women of Algiers ($179,300,000 – sold by Christie’s, May 2015)

Marc Newson: Lockheed Lounge ($3,700,400 – sold by Phillips, April 2015)

Jaguar C-Type Works Lightweight ($13,200,000 – sold by Sotheby’s, August 2015)

Patek Philippe Doctor’s Chronograph ($4,987,383 – sold by Phillips, May 2015)

Blue Moon of Josephine 12 carat blue diamond ($48,400,000 – sold by Sotheby’s, November 2015)

Britain Buys $13.6 million Elizabeth I Portrait.

Britain Buys $13.6 million Elizabeth I Portrait

A defining portrait of England’s queen Elizabeth I has been bought for the nation, auctioneers said Friday, after thousands of donations to a fundraising campaign to keep the painting in Britain.

The life-sized portrait, which celebrates the 1588 defeat of the Spanish Armada, was being sold by the descendants of Francis Drake — the vice-admiral who co-led England’s defence against the attempted invasion.

Royal Museums Greenwich — a group of four London museums — bought the oil painting from the Tyrwhitt-Drake family in a private sale, Christie’s auctioneers said, after £10.3 million ($13.6 million, 12.2 million euros) was raised.

The “Armada Portrait”, painted around 1590 by an unknown artist, is the defining image of queen Elizabeth in her pomp.

It shows the monarch wearing a gold embroidered and jeweled dress with her hand resting on a globe, while the English fleet enjoys calm waters and the approaching Spanish fleet is wrecked in a storm.

Now part of the national collection, it will hang in the Queen’s House, built in 1616 on the site of the original Greenwich Palace in southeast London, which was queen Elizabeth’s birthplace.

Public Funding

£1.5 million for the painting came from more than 8,000 public donations raised since May, with the museum group putting up £400,000.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) gave £7.4 million raised through national lottery ticket sales, with the remaining £1 million coming from the Art Fund, a charity.

“The ‘Armada Portrait’ is a compelling historic icon, illustrating as it does a decisive conflict, inspiring female leadership, maritime power and the emergence of the Elizabethan ‘Golden Age’,” said HLF chairman Peter Luff.

“This image has shaped our understanding of ‘Gloriana’, the Virgin Queen, for over four hundred years and I am delighted that it will now have such an appropriate permanent home in Greenwich.”

The painting was first recorded as being owned by the Drake family in 1775 and it is the first time it has been sold.

Safeguarding the Future

Drake conducted the second circumnavigation of the world in a single expedition between 1577 and 1580 and led the famous 1587 “Singeing of the King of Spain’s Beard” raid on Cadiz.

A representative of the Tyrwhitt-Drake family said the painting had been “safeguarded for future generations” and could now be seen “in the context of our nation’s great history”.

Two other surviving versions of the painting exist: one at the National Portrait Gallery in London and the other at Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire, southeast England, though the one connected to Drake is considered the most significant.

Johnny Depp Basquiats Net $11.5 million at Auction

Actor Johnny Depp sold two Basquiat pieces from his art collection at Christie’s June 29, with six more going under the hammer June 30 as part of the auction house’s two-day “Postwar and Contemporary Art Evening Sale.”

Basquiat’s work has been surpassing price estimates for years, and 2016 has seen yet another record broken for the late artist. In May 2016, his Untitled” was auctioned for $57,285,000: the most expensive Basquiat piece to date.

The works under the hammer Wednesday, “Pork” and “Self Portrait,” were both produced in 1981, a pivotal year in the development of the young American artist, who was brought to the attention of the art world via René Ricard’s “The Radiant Child” publication in ArtForum magazine.

At the auction, Basquiat’s “Self Portrait” was sold for $4.7 million to Acquavella Galleries, well above the estimated price of $1.9 million, after heated bidding saw eight buyers compete for the painting. “Pork”, the highest-selling piece of the evening, went for $6.8 million to an unidentified telephone bidder.

Basquiat Pork Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp, art enthusiast

The actor and art lover Johnny Depp originally bought Basquiat’s “Pork” from Blum and Poe in 1998, and picked up “Self Portrait” in 2000 for almost three times over estimate. Over a 25-year period, Depp has built up a collection of eight Basquiat pieces which, along with his entire art collection, are all going under the hammer.

While Basquiat’s prices may seem elevated, they remain relatively low compared to some of his contemporaries of the time (the 1980s and 1990s). Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol (who collaborated with Basquiat) achieve far higher sales, with the former’s “Nurse” selling for $95.4 million in 2015. Warhol’s most expensive pieces are the iconic “Silver Car Crash [Double Disaster]” and “Eight Elvises” which sold for $107 and $109 million respectively.

Post-War and Contemporary Art market

Almost all of the pieces in the first of the two-day “Post-War and Contemporary Art” auction were sold, with a total sale figure of over $50 million. Edmond Francey, Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, explained that “Tonight’s results offer real assurance and continued strength to the globalized art market[…]. The response to Johnny Depp’s Basquiats electrified the sale room and we continue to see that for the top works collectors will stretch themselves to the highest levels.”

Utamaro Woodblock Print Sets Auction Record

The Japanese art of woodblock printing has a very long history, with its fair share of masters whose work is in high demand from collectors . One of these masters was Kitagawa Utamaro, an artist nonpareil at the time for his beautiful depictions of women. At a Paris auction, held by the Beaussant Lefevre auction house in association with Christie’s, Utamaro’s sensual skill was brought to the forefront again with an auction of his ‘Deeply Hidden Love’ (Fukaku Shinobu Koi) print. It fetched around 745,000 euros, and went way beyond the initial estimate of 100,000 euros – setting a record for both prints of the Ukiyo-e genre, as well as prints by the artist of course.

Auction of the Portier Collection

The auction held in Paris was focused on Asian art and objects from a collection held by the Portier family – mainly consisting of Japanese earthenware including chawan (tea bowls) and kogo incense boxes. All 90 lots put up were sold after intense bidding, which is an extraordinary result. Some of the other major lots sold included a portrait of actor Tanimura Torazo created by artist Toshusai Sharaku (101,000 euros), and a bust of comedian Iwai Hanshiro by Utagawa Kunimasa (78,680 euros).

“(The Portiers’) expertise has been a reference for the Asian art market for the past four generations,” said the auction house in a statement.

There was also a set of eight exceptional Edo stamps that mainly depicted portraits of actors done by leading artists at the time. Each stamp was acquired by Henri Portier and his son Andre, major figures in the Asian art market in France, in sales at the Drouot auction house over the past century.

Utamaro, Master of Japanese Woodblock Prints

Compared with more popular forms of art like painting, the techniques behind woodblock printing are less known. It was a complicated process that involved three people working in tandem with one another. The artist himself usually only made the initial sketch of the final product, before sending it over to a carver to carve out the block, and a printer to apply inks to the block. Especially troublesome was the fact that each block could only be used for a single color (although some used blocks repeatedly to get special effects). Multiple woodblocks had to be prepared for a single print.

When the whole process worked out, under the conception of a skilled artist, you get the masterful combinations of color and form that characterize the best works in the medium. The powerful contrasts of blues and whites, for example, that blends together, for example, in Hokusai’s ‘The Great Wave Off Kamigawa’. Utamaro, on the other hand, was more focused on using those colors to create a light and idealized form of femininity – and captured subjects like courtesans and Geisha from the Yoshiwara district – or bustling scenes of human life.

The methodology of Japanese woodblock printing has fallen out of favor, especially in view of newer mediums like linocut and lithography (and not to mention digital printing today). Still, the effects and techniques achieved by the Ukiyo-e artists have inspired countless others in the East and West – including great painters such as Van Gogh, most famously. The prints are being perpetuated all over the globe and can gather up new fans over the years. Hopefully, that’ll continue.

Christie’s Sells Cullinan Dream, Sets New Record

Back in May, the auction house Christie’s announced the sale of the fancy intense blue diamond called the Cullinan Dream. At 24.18 carats, the diamond was regarded as a rare find. Now, the diamond holds the title as the most expensive fancy intense blue diamond to be sold.

Fetching more than $25 million, the diamond was auctioned at Christie’s on Thursday in New York. Classified as a Type llb diamond, the Cullinan Dream comes from the 122.52-carat rough blue diamond found in the Cullinan Mines of South Africa. The largest of four diamonds to be found, the diamond falls into a rare category that accounts for less than one-half of the 1% of all diamonds found.

Its unique color is the result of small amounts of boron being trapped in the crystal carbon structure during the formation of the diamond. The Cullinan Dream is now set as a cut-cornered rectangular mixed-cut fancy intense blue diamond and is flanked on either side by a tapered baguette-cut diamond. Other well-known diamonds that have been mined from the Cullinan mine include the 3,106-carat rough diamond that is known as the Cullinan Diamond. This rough diamond was then cut into two magnificent gems that now sit on the Imperial State Crown and Sceptre of the British Crown Jewels.

To learn more about the Cullinan Dream, click here.

Johnny Depp Sells 9 Basquiats with Christie’s

Nine works from Jean-Michel Basquiat are to be auctioned by Christie’s London, in a sale from the art collection of Johnny Depp. Although this seems timed to take advantage of a recent major auction success of Basquiat and renewed interest in Depp, thanks to the spectacularly ugly and public breakdown of his marriage to actress Amber Heard, the auction was apparently long-planned, according to Christie’s.

Nevertheless, it looks set to capitalize on the record-breaking sale of “Untitled” (1982), which fetched $57.3m at the auction house’s New York event in May.

Artnet observes that Depp’s “Pork Sans” (1981) is estimated to sell for between $3.6m and $5m.

The pieces were collected over a 25-year period, starting after Depp shot to fame as the title character in Edward Scissorhands, and almost exclusively focus on Basquat’s 1981 output, Christie’s notes, that being the time in which the artist started having a global impact on the art world.

The two-day Post-War and Contemporary Art auction takes place on June 29 and 30, 2016, and also includes works from Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

US actress Amber Heard filed for divorce from actor husband Johnny Depp in May.

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Christie’s: Joan Rivers Private Collection Auction

Fans of the late host and television personality Joan Rivers, will soon have the chance to own several personal pieces from her Manhattan Penthouse. On June 22, Christies will be holding an auction featuring an assortment of 200 items from the woman whose personality was larger than life.

Proceeds of the auction will go towards “God’s Love We Deliver” and “Guide Dogs For The Blind” — both charities that Rivers held close to her heart. A connoisseur of decorative arts, paintings and fine French furniture, Rivers’ personal items are expected to go under the hammer where prices will range from $500 to $200,000. One such piece, is the Edouard Vuillard painting Dans L’Atelier, circa 1915 ($120,000 – $180,000). Other items to look out for include a jewelled Nephrite study of a Lily of the Valley leaf by Fabergé ($200,000 – $300,000) and a silver water bowl from Tiffany & Co., engraved with “for Spike” ($500 – $ 800) that she had bought for her beloved dog.

Before the auction at Christie’s however, the auction house will also be hosting an online auction from June 16 – 23. During the online sale, unique costumes made by Bob Mackie, couture and personal jewelry from jewelers such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels as well as Harry Winston will be available. For someone as opinionated as Rivers, with a taste for the finer things in life, this sale will certainly not disappoint.

“My mother’s legacy as a much loved comedienne and philanthropist will be commemorated in this collaboration with Christie’s and her generosity to charitable causes is something I will continue in her honor” said her daughter Melissa Rivers.

Tuscany Wine Villa For Sale By Christie’s

Located in the lush and serene countryside of Tuscany, Italy, this traditional wine estate offered by Christie’s International Real Estate boasts more than 37 hectares of land, with two large residences hosting a variety of features and rooms. Should you have a desire for privacy and gentle comfort, you could certainly do far worse than this.

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The villa is located just 5km away from the beautiful town of Lucca, and, slightly further afield, you can even reach coastal retreats such as Forte dei Marmi and Viareggio. This, at least, ensures you’re still within the capacity to enjoy company and the latest buzz should you desire it. In a contemporary twist, the villa is also fitted with modern technology. There are three bedrooms in the renovated stone villa, and six in the restored farmhouse. One of the notable amenities is a whole mosaic tile infinity edge pool with a spa underneath – featuring a hammam, two dressing rooms, and a whirlpool bath.

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On the agricultural front, there are five hectares of functioning vineyards for you to make use of, as well as three hectares hosting almost 4,000 olive trees. With wine cellar, wine making area, and oil mill, you’ll definitely be able to produce your own high quality crop either for personal use or to place on the market.

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And, finally, there’s the helipad. This is only one of four properties in the whole of Italy to boast such a thing. It’s a private LIQE helipad, and there’s also a hangar and a night landing certificate to go with it.

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So, if you want the perfect property infused with an idyllic Italian air, and a terrific view, you can check out the villa over at the Christie’s website.