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summer 2011

Art Market Report Grace Hartigan (1922–2008) American, 1960. Oil on canvas, 82 x 95 inches. Signed and dated lower right: “Hartigan ‘60”

by blue chip artists such as Hassam, Sargent, Cropsey, Inness, and others did sell, but usually at the low or middle range of the estimates, versus previous years when such works would sail past expectations. There must be more than a few disappointed sellers who had higher hopes. Going forward, we expect that valuations will be tempered a bit to reflect this trend we are observing of a softening market in this market segment. Why is this happening, and is this a buying opportunity?

From Hollis Taggart

Auction Sellers Feel the Blues?

The 2011 spring auction sales are now in the books, and we will assess the results and take the pulse of the art market. In the art world, we have “May Madness,” a succession of auction sales compressed into a 3-week period covering nineteenth-century European, Impressionist and Modern sales, Latin American, Contemporary and Post-War, and finally ending with the American Painting sales comprised of nineteenth- and early twentiethcentury American art. When the dust settled, who won, who lost? The winners: Contemporary and Post-War. The laggards: traditional and historical American paintings. What is happening and why?

From our observations, there appears to be a significant shift in collector interest that has gradually evolved over the past 8–10 years. The former leadership in the market of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American art seems to be receding. This spring’s auctions resulted in prices for some works comparable to those realized 10–15 years ago. The featured cover lots at both Sotheby’s and Christie’s, a Luminist Bierstadt landscape and an outdoor Frank Benson respectively, both failed to sell (did not reach their reserves). Previously coveted works

The two main differences we see relate to supply and demand. As we have chronicled in this newsletter before, the supply of quality American art has been dwindling for years. This lower supply leads to less quality works to buy, which leads to less demand from collectors and museums. It is not that the market is dying; it is more that it is falling asleep. Masterpieces of historical American art will still fetch record prices. The problem is, very few such works are coming onto the market. So, less supply equals less demand equals a “tired” and slowing market. The other difference is this: new buyers entering the market, especially international buyers from China, Russia, India, etc., are entering the Post-War and contemporary market, focusing on Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, Color Field, and other schools of art from the 1940–80 period. So there is a shift in demand from traditional American art to the more “edgy” works of the Post-War era. Many collectors of historical American art have mature collections, have few holes to fill, and over time have become less active. New buyers are gravitating towards more modern and abstract works as they build these new collections. Is this a buying opportunity for American art of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries? Yes, it probably is. Certainly better opportunities exist today than in the past many years. As for the 1940– 80 modern art period, we see ample supply and rising demand, which in our opinion will sustain continued market strength and growth for many years, especially considering the globalization of the art market. We will report again in the fall. We wish everyone a glorious summer.

Idelle Weber

(b. 1932)


Jump Rope Lady,

1966 Collage with Color-aid paper, 12L x 12 inches Signed and dated lower left: “i. weber ‘66” Titled, inscribed, and dated verso: “jump rope lady / cutout / coloraid paper / EW 19.66 12L x 12 in” Below, left:

Lever Building II,

1970 Collage and gouache on Color-aid paper, 24H x 18 inches Signed and dated lower left: “i weber ‘70” Below, right:

Thoughts on Alhambra,

1964 Watercolor and tempera on paper, 14K x 12 inches Titled, inscribed, and dated lower left: “ ’EW—THOUGHTS ON ALHAMBRA EW ‘64” Inscribed, signed, and dated lower right: “© i weber 64” Opposite:

Pink Lining,

1961 Acrylic on linen, 45G x 49G inches Signed and dated upper right: “i weber ‘61” Signed on stretcher verso: “IDELLE WEBER ”


Hollis Taggart Galleries |

Idelle Weber Hollis Taggart Galleries is pleased to present an outstanding selection of Idelle Weber’s graphically striking paintings and innovative constructions from the 1960s and 70s. In the late 1950s, Weber created the first iteration of the silhouette paintings that would become central to her work of the next decade. The archetypal quality of the forms—silhouettes of businessmen, office workers, couples, brides, families—suggests standardization or commercialization. This implication is underscored by the crisp outlines and broad forms that resemble advertisements. Whether critique or celebration of American culture, they offer a graphic appeal that reflects the artist’s Pop milieu.

Robert Motherwell Untitled,


1971 Acrylic and paper on panel, 44 x 29 inches Initialed lower right: “RM”


Hollis Taggart Galleries |

Robert Motherwell


Dublin Collage, 1975 Acrylic and collage on canvas mounted on Masonite, 72 x 36 inches Initialed and dated upper left: “RM 75” Titled and dated verso: “ ’DUBLIN COLLAGE ’ 1975”

Michael Goldberg



1957 Oil on canvas, 46 x 39H inches Signed and dated verso: “goldberg ‘57”


Hollis Taggart Galleries |

Giorgio Cavallon Untitled,


1974 Oil on canvas, 44H x 54J inches Signed and dated lower right: “GIORGIO CAVALLON 1974” Signed, dated, and inscribed verso: “GIORGIO CAVALLON 1974 / 44" X 56" ”

Allan D’Arcangelo


#77 (Untitled) , 1964 Acrylic on canvas, 70G x 60 inches Signed and dated on stretcher verso: “D’ARCANGELO ‘64”


Hollis Taggart Galleries |

Allan D’Arcangelo Destiny


(with detail), 1963 Mixed media and paint on plywood 64L (h) 24I (w) x 38M (d) inches (including base) Signed, inscribed, dated, and titled on bottom: “Allan D’Arcangelo / nyc 1963 / ‘Destiny’ / 16" x 20G" x 31H"”


(detail), 1963


Julie Mehretu

(b. 1970)

Untitled (Module),

1999 Acrylic, ink, and watercolor on vellum sheets, mounted between Plexiglass, in painted wood light box 54H (h) x 72 (w) x 8H (d) inches

Julie Mehretu executed Untitled (Module) for a collaborative project with Amy Block, in which the two artists explored the concept of community in Houston’s Third Ward, a working class African-American community. The Module installation was set in a local arts complex called Project Row House, a group of restored shotgun shacks from the 1930s used to exhibit artwork and house visiting artists. Inside a one-room row house, two light-box paintings by Mehretu, including this one, played off three videos by Block. Block’s videos documented both the physical layout of the Third Ward and the thoughts and memories of individual residents about their neighborhood. To create the videos, Block and Mehretu attached a camera to the side of a car and drove in a spiral from the outer boundaries of the Third Ward to its center and back out again, reversing the spiral trajectory. While Block’s videos perform a documentary function, Mehretu’s paintings are abstract maps of the Third Ward. Instead of charting the physical landscape, Mehretu used layered images to describe its demographic changes. Untitled (Module) contains at least three marking schemes: shaded geometric blocks, clusters of ink-drawn symbols, and sweeping lines that span the composition and resolve “the juxtaposition of large hard-edged objects with diminutive codes into a coherent, mesmerizing whole.” Mehretu worked on Module while she was in Texas for a two-year Core Fellowship with the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (1997–1999). Mehretu has credited her time there with her first experiments with projecting and tracing architectural plans into her paintings and her initial efforts to work at a larger scale. During the same period, Mehretu learned and adopted new techniques for spraying thin layers of paint, a technique that would become important as Mehretu increased the size of her multilayered compositions. Born in 1970 in Addis Ababa, to an Ethopian father, a geography professor, and an American mother, Mehretu immigrated to Michigan with her family in 1977. She received a B.A. from Kalamazoo College in 1992 and spent a year abroad at University Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Senegal, before completing an M.F.A. with honors at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1997. The recipient of numerous grants and awards, Mehretu was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2005. She has participated in artist residencies at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (1998–99), the Studio Museum in Harlem (2001), and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2002). Her work was included in the 2004 Whitney Biennial and has been exhibited internationally in solo and group shows.


Hollis Taggart Galleries |

My initial impulse and investigation was to try and develop, through drawing, a language that could communicate different types of narratives and build a cityscape, each mark having a character, a modus operandi of social behavior. As they continued to grow and develop in the drawing I wanted to see them layered; to build a different kind of dimension of space and time into the narratives. –Julie Mehretu

Lee Krasner



1958 Ink on paper, 11 x 8K inches Signed and dated lower left: “Lee Krasner ‘58”


Hollis Taggart Galleries |

Julie Mehretu Untitled,

(b. 1970)

2007 Watercolor on paper, 22 x 15 inches

Joseph Cornell


Untitled (How to Grow a Rainbow / Penny Arcade Series), Collage on board, 13 x 10 inches Signed twice on verso (one as mirror image): “Joseph Cornell” Inscribed verso: “Viennese juke-box / Penny arcade”


Hollis Taggart Galleries |


Richard Pousette-Dart Serpentine Saffron,


circa 1960s Acrylic on paper, 9 x 11G inches Signed verso: “R. Pousette-Dart” Inscribed verso: “s/w/p-25 #1381 1960’s”

Richard Pousette-Dart Manifestations of Abstract,


circa 1960s Oil on d’Arches paper, 8I x 11G inches

Larry Rivers


4 of Hearts,

1961 Oil on board, 26 x 20 inches Signed and dated lower right: “Larry Rivers / ‘61” Inscribed, titled, signed, and dated verso: “For Bill Dean / ‘4 of Hearts’ / Larry Rivers / 1961”


Hollis Taggart Galleries |

Alexander Calder Untitled,


1967 Ink on paper (gouache), 23 x 30I inches Signed and dated lower right: “Calder 67”

Alexander Calder


Thorn Flower,

1970 Gouache on paper, 22H x 30G inches Signed and dated lower right: “Calder 70”


Hollis Taggart Galleries |

Sam Francis


Blue Sky Painting,

1960 Gouache on paper, 12H x 12 inches Signed verso: “Sam Francis”

Henry Moore


Seated Figure (Study for The Queen),


Bronze with green patina on marble base 8M (h) x 5 (w) x 6 (d) inches Cast: Gaskin

958 Madison Avenue

New York, New York 10021

Tel 212 628 4000

Fax 212 570 5786

Art Market Report Summer 2011  

Our quarterly newsletter, "Art Market Report," features strong examples of our current inventory and a recurring essay by president Hollis T...