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Art and Antiques

Notable art auctions around the world in 2012

Andrea Divirgilio / March 22, 2012

For those looking to invest their money in rare historical art and those who simply have the love of them has a promising year ahead. This year, several artists from around the world including the likes of Pablo Picasso and Qi Baishi who have been known to be pioneers in their specialized genres, will have some of their more famous works exchange hands at different events around the world. However, this also indicated towards a pattern of behavior of buyers and collectors of vintage art. Other than just admiration and affinity for such works, it also establishes a new found desire to invest in them, with an aim to sell later with a premium on it. In other words, ancient art is also now a new-age investment medium leading to financial benefits in the long run.

Famous art auctions of 2012

1) Rhino horn Libation Cup

Rhino horn Chinese Libation Cup

Price: $270,000

Country: China

Artist: unknown

It is now common knowledge that rhino horn has become a specially monitored commodity in the international market, because of the embargoes against it in different countries. The reason for that is sighted as the high poaching rate of rhinos, rendering them to become endangered in some parts of the world. Also, if processed into a powder form, the horns are known to be very useful in oriental medicine. However, in the art world, several specimens made from rhino horn are coveted for the detailed artwork including this piece, which recently exchanged hands for $270,000. Dating back to the 17th and 18th century, this libation cup is known to have its origin in China, and detailing of the art-piece is known to have many takers.

2) Golden screens and ‘Dragon in the clouds’

Qi Baishi Paintings

Price: -

Country: China

Artist: Qi Baishi

Chinese artist Qi Baishi, who gained much fame in Japan for his artistry, was most fondly remembered for his works like the Golden Screens, and also the Dragon in the Clouds paintings. The Golden Screens created in 1922, were originally commissioned by Lt Gen. Mantaro Watanabe of the Imperial Japanese Army, who bought the screens to China from Japan, and asked Qi to paint on them. Based on 2 themes, one screen showed the Chinese landscape in general, whereas the other one showed detailed floral designs.

On the other hand, the Dragon in the Clouds (pictured right) is a masterpiece done on folding screens, with the help of ink, a signature medium used by Qi Baishi. Due to the rarity of ink being used by other artists, works such as these remain a highly sought after work of art. This particular painting however is famous for being dedicated to Cao Kun, who was also the President of the Republic of China 1923-1924.

3) Big Family: Family No. 2

Big Family: Family No. 2 by Zhang Xiaogang

Price: $3.2- 4.5 million

Country: Hong Kong (China)

Artist: Zhang Xiaogang

Created in the year 1993, the Big Family series was actually a part of a series that artist Zhang Xiaogang painted based on the particular theme. The painting shows a small family of 3 people, including their child, and is the kinds that one would see in the Chinese countryside areas. The use of the yellow marks on their respective faces actually uses it to depict the concept of bloodline. Also, this painting remains one of the icons of realism in Chinese art, and is one of the first in the series done by the artist, to go on auction.

4) ‘Celebration of holi’ painting and copper alloy statues

Rawat Gokal Das playing Holi

Price: $302,500 for painting, $482,500 (Syamatara statue), and $254,500 (Radha statue)

Country: India

Artist: Bagta

The painting which gained much attention during the Bonham’s auction sale, was created by Indian Artist Bagta, who has depicted Rawat Gokal Das celebrating the Indian festival of Holi along with his personal group of consorts. Created with water color and gold, the painting crossed its estimate barriers by as much as 6 times, which was unexpected for this work of Indian art. Along with that, went a 2 copper alloy statues; a 18th century Syamatara statue which bought $482,500, and also a 16th century mythical figure of Radha, which fetched $254,500, at the 2012 Asia Week event.

Copper Alloy statues

5) The Card Players painting

The Card Players by Paul Cezzane

Price: $250 million

Country: France

Artist: Paul Cezanne

In a clear indication of wealth, and also a strong desire for becoming an intellectual hub of the Middle East, a buyer in Qatar has managed to pay a record breaking $250 million for the Paul Cezanne painting titled ‘The card players’, making it the highest price paid for a single piece of artwork in the world. The French artist, most famous for being a specialist in the field of Cubism art, created this masterpiece which was later hailed by many as being the most apparent theme after Impressionism. The painting itself shows 2 peasants indulging a game of cards, and there are 3 other known versions of this work of art, with this one being the most revered among them all.

6) Portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto

Portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto

Price: $60.9 million (estimated)

Country: Spain

Artist: Pablo Picasso

One of the greatest artists of the Impressionist genre, Pablo Picasso remains one of the most famous artists even during today times, simply for his depiction of the theme in art works. One of them is the Portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto, which is now known to be the highest estimated work of art going on sale, within Europe. The auctioning which will be held in June 2012, will see this ‘blue canvas’ painting go under the hammer, and what specialists from the industry say, could land up in the hands of the Chinese who have shown a strong inclination towards collecting art works such as these. Currently owned by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, the portrait is known to have its origin in a time when Pablo Picasso hadn’t yet become the legendary figure that he is now known to be, hence adding to the nostalgic value. Proceeds from the sale will go towards the Lloyd Webber Foundation.

7) A bust of a man in a Gorget and Cap

A Bust of a Man in a Gorget and Cap painting and Rembrandt

Price: $19 million (estimated)

Country: Nederland

Artist: Rembrandt

Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (pictured right) remains one of the symbols of great European art, especially during the 17th century when some of his greatest works have been composed. This particular painting created within the span of the years 1626-1627, shows a noblemen dressed in a Gorget and Cap, which was a common form of dressing of that age. Currently in procession of Pieter and Olga Dreesman, it hasn’t changed hands in around 40 years, but in July 2012, Christie’s London shall see another successful bidder laying his/her hands on it.

8) Sleeping Girl

The Sleeping Girl by Roy Lichtenstein

Price: $30-40 million (estimate)

Fetched Price: $44.8 million (UPDATE)

Country: USA

Artist: Roy Lichtenstein

For an artist who left a very strong impression on modern art, especially popular comic art, the estimate for his most iconic work isn’t something totally shocking. The painting which shows a girl sleeping is known to a perfect example of comic art and fine art can actually come together on a common platform. In the realm of critics, this work of art is famous for being a perfect example of size, color, and harmony of composition, and also depicts the artist’s favorite form, the sleeping female. The current set of owners, Philip and Beatrice Gersh had acquired it in 1964 and will now be parting ways with this work of modern art.

We have earlier told you about the most expensive paintings sold at auctions in 2011 to give you an insight in the art market.

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