The LAMA Advantage: Sell with Confidence

March 4, 2016

We like to think of LAMA’s February auctions of modern art and design as bellwethers for the auction season ahead, forecasting the artists and schools of art emerging as uppermost in the minds of today’s collectors. LAMA’s February 21, 2016 auction was the most successful in its company history, realizing $5.3 million—123% by value on 419 lots—and setting five world auction records for artists and designers. On the heels of this success, Peter Loughrey, Director of Modern Design & Fine Art, shares his perspective on the current state of the market and offers his advice on what to sell now at LAMA.

Lot 189, Richard Prince, Bedtime Story (1988)
Richard Prince, Bedtime Story (1988)
Estimate: $1,000,000 – $2,000,000; Price Realized: $1,585,000
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Appropriation Is Ascendant

Artists of the Appropriation and Pictures Generation schools, who use borrowed imagery and themes as the basis for new creative expression, have solidified their positions as makers of some of the most important and relevant work in contemporary art. The blockbuster lot in the February 21st  2016 auction was Bedtime Story, a 1988 canvas by Richard Prince from his seminal “Monochromatic Joke” series, which brought a striking $1.58 million—a new benchmark for our auction house. Current and upcoming gallery and museum exhibitions will place many of Prince’s peers at the forefront of collectors’ minds. Sherrie Levine is the focus of a major exhibition that opened last week at David Zwirner in New York; Richard Pettibone is the subject of an upcoming show at Honor Fraser in Los Angeles and, reportedly, at Gagosian (location to be determined); and Cindy Sherman will be the focus of a major exhibition recently announced at the Broad Museum.

295, Richard Pettibone, Andy Warhol Pepper Pot (1962)
Richard Pettibone, Andy Warhol, “Pepper Pot,” 1962 (1965)
Estimate: $20,000 – $25,000; Price Realized: $36,250
October 11, 2015 Modern Art & Design Auction

California Heavy-Hitters

Los Angeles artists have clearly established themselves in the top echelon of the art market, and seem poised to burn only brighter. Look for paintings and works on paper by John Baldessari to rise in value, as a great deal of local attention has lately been paid to this Southern Californian artist: A major showcase of his paintings at Spruth Magers in Los Angeles, now on view, serves as the London- and Berlin-based gallery’s inaugural exhibition in its new U.S. location. Within thirty minutes of the doors opening, a line of more than 100 people had formed, all awaiting entry.

Lot 435, John Baldessari, Three Moments (1996)

John Baldessari, Three Moments (1996)
Estimate: $6,000 – $9,000; Price Realized: $53,125
October 12, 2014 Modern Art & Design Auction

Ed Ruscha will be the honoree at The Museum of Contemporary Art gala in Los Angeles this year, and is center stage in a stellar room that has just opened at The Broad, featuring paintings and works on paper by the artist, contrasted against paintings by Andy Warhol. And there’s Ken Price, whose ceramics are the focus of a critically-celebrated career survey at the new Los Angeles location of the New York-based Parrasch Heijnen gallery.

Lot 75, Ed Ruscha, Double Standard (1969)
Ed Ruscha, Double Standard (1969)
Estimate: $50,000 – $70,000; Price Realized: $206,250
A world auction record for a print by Ed Ruscha

October 12, 2014 Modern Art & Design Auction

Ken Price: “Up Back” 2000
Ken Price, Up Back (2000)
Estimate: $150,000 – $200,000; Price Realized: $168,750
October 11, 2015 Modern Art & Design Auction

Their Day in the Sun

As someone who is both a participant in and an observer of the art world, I’ve found some of the greatest satisfaction in seeing artists who have steadily produced work of considerable skill getting the broader recognition they deserve. Two of the world auction records set by LAMA on February 21st 2016 were for works by Mary Corse and Fred Eversley.

Lot 25, Mary Corse, Copper-Four Crosses (1979)
Mary Corse, Copper-Four Crosses (1979)
Estimate: $40,000 – $60,000; Price Realized: $100,000
A world auction record for the artist

February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Like Robert Irwin and James Turrell, both Corse and Eversley are members of the Los Angeles Light & Space movement, their art dealing in sensory experience. Corse has been a noted figure in the Los Angeles art scene since the late 1960s; Eversley—an East Coast transplant—has been making radiant sculptures in his Venice Beach studio for more than 40 years. Their sales of late should be noted by longtime collectors of their work who are interested not so much in getting the biggest profits, but in ensuring the continued safekeeping of such work, which has the timely opportunity to reach new collectors who will cherish it with continued devotion. Clearly, a new love is blooming for Mary and Fred.

Lot 210, Fred Eversley, Cathedral (1972)
Fred Eversley, Cathedral (1969)
Estimate: $30,000 – $50,000; Price Realized: $50,000
A world auction record for the artist
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

If there is a common thread that runs through the three trends I’ve outlined, it’s the maturing of the art market. Appropriation has been recognized as one of the key movements of late 20th century art; Los Angeles is now on par with New York as a focal point of the art world, for connoisseurs and even more so for artists. Those of them who recognized the merits of Southern California as a place to be inspired and make art are, like Mary Corse and Fred Eversley, at last getting their due. And for visionary collectors who saw the brilliance of these artists early on, it is also time to shine.

To consign to LAMA’s Modern Art & Design Auction, please email images and/or descriptions to a LAMA representative.

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