Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Once round the block

August has come around again, the month when we get to see the art auction equivalent of Battle of the Bands. This year we can enjoy four houses stepping up offering a total of 289 lots. As a snapshot of the NZ art market, of these lots, 17.3 percent are works by women, 78 percent have figurative subjects, and there are too few sculptures to mention although Art + Object does feature a Neil Dawson on its catalogue cover (ok, there are 17 - a miserable 6 percent).

Mossgreen–Webb’s have pumped up the volume with their catalogue now looking more like an A+O effort at 780 square centimeters. For the record A+O comes in at 816 sq cm, Dunbar Sloane at 567sq cm and Bowerbank Ninow at 516 sq cm. M-W’s publication has 43 percent devoted to the catalogue, A+O has 78 percent, BN 53 percent and DS has 81 percent. To help support this publishing landslide, Bowerbank Ninow managed to get 12 pages of advertising, A+O landed 8 and the other two players pulled in just one page between them. 

In terms of lots, M-W has 53, BN 62, A+O has 86 and DS 88 (29 of them by regional painter Trevor Moffitt) in part one of a two day 281 lot auction. And when it comes to the dollars there are only 12 lots across the four with low estimates above $100,000 giving more weight to the chatter that it’s in the $40-50,000 bracket that all the business is being done. 

So contemporary art auctions on 3 (BN), 4 (A+O), 10 (DS) and 11 (M-W) August