Erik Paol's Thoughts on Art Basel 2017

Erik Paol is a Certified Appraiser 17th - 20th century Fine Art. Has held positions at auctioneers Van Ham, Cologne; Dorotheum, Vienna; Bonhams, London. Expertise in complex litigation & finance, public domain & cultural heritage, artists' estates. Specialization in corporate collections and large volumes appraisals. 

Not having been to the fair for a few years (perhaps a bit cooled-down), I was glad to enjoy the fair again thanks to some really inspiring exhibits and some good shows at Beyeler and Tinguely:

1.  Shame on me; haven’t noticed this lamp earlier. But it takes the satellite-fair Design Miami in hall #1 in order to find out that Dutch Studio Drift sells this object in the US for already over a decade now! Real dandelion-seeds filter the harsh LED-light, seen at Carpenters Workshop Gallery/ London.

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2.  A major sale at Design Miami was this impressive dining table and ten chairs (1960) by Brazilian designer Joaquim Tenreiro, sold by R & Company/New York to a Dutch buyer.  

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3.  Sorry, my chauvinism doesn’t stop here; I was particularly happy to see that 1960’s and 1970’s Conceptual Art from Holland was doing great; this is a still from the 4 minutes 16mm movie Nightfall (1971) by Bas Jan Ader, seen at Metro Pictures/New York (digital edition of three, €120k).  

4.  Yes, another example of Dutch Conceptual Art; a photo collage by Jan Dibbets titled Big Comet (1973), seen in hal #2 at Peter Freeman Inc./New York:

But here stops the Dutch promotion. As appraisers, I think, it is wise to ask as many prices as possible. A few years ago, my partners and I appraised a collection that also contained a nice series of Date Paintings by On Kawara.
Conclusion; that it’s about time to re-assess the old values for these two paintings.  
They were offered at €1,2m each, illustrating the strength of Conceptual Art.

What I perhaps missed in the past and absolutely enjoyed this year’s show were plenty of examples of timeless eclecticism:

5.  For instance Victoria Miro Gallery/London, that were best known for the Kusama shows, represents the Milton Avery Estate in Europe (and Alice Neel’s). It makes Art Basel a symphony, seeing these fine works from the 1940’s amidst cutting-edge contemporary art:

6.  More Art Basel versatility; a smashing work by Julian Schnabel (1990) at Almine Rech/Brussels and, yes, even sculptures (€200 to 400k) by American Outsider artist William Edmondson (ca. 1940) at Salon 94/Paris:


7.  Eclecticism also reached another satellite-fair; Liste, the art-fair for the less-established galleries. Peculiar enough, some southern-European galleries showed talent from the ‘70’s and ‘80s. Nogueras Blanchard/Barcelona, for example, showed exquisite Typings by American Autiste Savant Christopher Knowles from the mid-1970’s at prices between €7,5-€10k:


8.  Fondation Beyeler had an extremely well-hung Elsworth Kelly-room:

Beyeler’s first photo exhibition, the Wolfgang Tillmanns show was super-impressive:

Last but not least, the Tinguely Museum treated the art traveler with an exhibition by the controversial artist Wim Delvoye (the pig-tattooist, all about eclecticism and ornamentation):