Several Giants of Art Basel 2019

In this year Art Basel celebrated the 49th anniversary, they are hype at all. Art fairs are a good place to discover the best work of different artists. Precious artworks are decking the halls of Basel's Messeplatz. In this year fair attendance about 93 000 people. Art Basel presented works from the early 20th century in genre Modern Art, Pop Art, etc. Art fair brought together 290 galleries from all over the world.

With this fair, Art Basel successfully introduced a sliding-scale pricing model for its Basel show, designed to benefit galleries with smaller stands. For the second year, Art Basel curated a VIP Weekend program, which was attended by more than 120 collectors from over 25 countries across all regions. This is the most important art fair in the world. It is a precious opportunity to open new fronts, whether for exhibitions, special projects, and, of course, new clients.

Art Basel. The photo was used from www.news.cgtn.com.

Hauser & Wirth on an opening day reported selling 30 works. Sales from the gallery's booth included two never-before-seen sculptures by John Chamberlain - "COMEOVER" for $3 million and "PARISIANESCAPADE" for $750,000. Hauser & Wirth announced its worldwide representation of the Chamberlain estate, and other galleries seemed to be testing the Chamberlain waters, like Levy Gorvy, which had Iron Stone, a large Chamberlain from 1969, plopped in the center of its booth and priced at $2.9 million. Chamberlain's auction record remains $5.5 million.

John Chamberlain, COMEOVER, 2007 © 2019 John Chamberlain / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Genevieve Hanson. The photo was used from www.hauserwirth.com.

One more standout work is "Rum Run" by Robert Indiana. The sensational work of recently deceased artists strikes an interesting background. His sculpture "Rum Run" mixed aspects of his work and life. The gold boat belongs to the author and it represents his early work, which often contained the grand color. Begun in 1975 but only finished around 2005, it contains the hallmarks of the artist's controlled early sculptures made when he was living in New York's artist hub Coenties Slip: the wooden base, for instance, is stenciled with the words "Rum Run," stirrings of the textual play that would lead to Love. Sold at the fair for $600, 000, it is now headed to a museum in Asia.

Rum Run (c. 1975–c. 2005) by Robert Indiana. Galerie Gmurzynska – Zürich.

The fair's mega-dealers were certainly feeling good. Many used phrases like "best ever" and "record" to describe their opening days at Art Basel this year. Zwirner said he thought this year's fair was on track to be his best ever, and the numbers back him up. By day two, he had pulled in upwards of $40 million in sales. Highlights included Alberto Burri's "Sacco (Sack)" (1954) for over $10 million, Sigmar Polke's "Nachtkappe I" (Night Cap I) (1986) for €8 million. Sigmar Polke appropriated and developed at varying stages of his career. The present work brings together a variety of media on a stunning and impressive scale from the artist's trademark raster dots first explored in his visual investigations of German Pop-art in the 1960s to his explorations into abstraction in the 1980s.

Installation view of David Zwirner’s Burri and Polke at Art Basel, 2017. Photo by Benjamin Westoby for “Artsy”.

One more highlight of Art Basel is Alberto Giacometti "Caroline" (1963). A preeminent artist of the 20th century, his works were focused on the human condition and he continues to provoke and inspire new generations. This painting shows the softer side of the tormented, often unsparing Giacometti. One of only a dozen or so portraits that he made of his mistress and muse Caroline—a demimondaine whose full name is unknown—the canvas goes tender where the artist often goes tough. The face, not furiously scratched out in black but painted in glowing white, is serene, with the bridal hint of a veil framing it.

“Caroline” by Alberto Giacometti (1963). Oil on canvas. The photo was used from www.fondation-giacometti.fr.

As with most fairs, much of the action kicks off weeks in advance, when galleries alert their clients to what will be on offer. The enthusiasm extended to younger galleries, especially those in the Statements section devoted to solo presentations from emerging artists. Art Basel aims are connecting collectors, galleries, and artists, and is now considered a driving force in supporting the role galleries play in nurturing the careers of artists. It is very difficult to create a list of works, driving it's to certain frameworks. How can we compare the best minds in the creative flight?

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