Record art sales for 2013

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Rockwell's "Saving Grace," one of several works of art that exceeded auction house sale estimates by millions in 2013.
  • Rockwell's "Saving Grace," one of several works of art that exceeded auction house sale estimates by millions in 2013.


Mutual Art, an online art magazine, takes a look at the record-breaking art auction sales of 2013, including the sale of Norman Rockwell's "Saving Grace," which went for $46 million, three times the previous record sales price for a Rockwell. There was much speculation that Alice Walton may have purchased the piece for Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, but no confirmation yet.

Mutual Art observes how the concentration of wealth has affected the art market:

Despite the headlines these grandiose auction house victories do not necessarily represent the art world as a whole, but instead show the rise of big spenders who want a sure thing, buying big names as if they were AAA rated stocks. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the rich are getting richer, rising $422.2 billion in net worth amongst the leading 200 billionaires around the world. And with this rise, especially in places like China, Russia, and the Middle East, comes a taste for very expensive art, which doesn’t mean it will bring the mid-sized faction of the art world with it. Mega-galleries like Gagosian, David Zwirner, Hauser & Wirth and Pace are growing their empires with name brand artists and super-sized price-tags while mid-sized galleries, like Nicole Klagsbrun, are closing their brick and mortar spaces and opting for temporary pop-ups.

The article also notes the record sale of Jackson Pollock's "Number 19," which went for $58.4 million in May at Christie's in New York. Maybe Walton bought that as well, and could exhibit them side by side as an example of the range of 20th century American art. (By the way, check out the article's cutlines under the Pollock and the Rockwell.)

Pollock's "No. 19," sold for $58.4 million at Christie's in May 2013.
  • Pollock's "No. 19," sold for $58.4 million at Christie's in May 2013.


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