Commercial galleries Fairs Switzerland

Warhol tops fair’s big-ticket sales

Despite some dealers playing the waiting game, works have made seven and even eight figures at the fair

One early deal was Jeff Koons’s Dolphin, 2007-13, which sold for $5m at David Zwirner

Basel. Sales seem to be going swimmingly for some galleries at Art Basel—one early deal was for Jeff Koons’s Dolphin, 2007-13, which sold for $5m at David Zwirner (2.0/F5). Midway through the fair, however, others were waiting to close sales on the bigger-ticket items; Picasso’s Femme assise dans un fauteuil, 1941, remained unsold at Marlborough Fine Art (2.0/D8) on Thursday, but the gallery’s Alexander Platon said that “people are making the right noises”. Despite some dealers playing the waiting game, and the challenge of wresting the top-end works away from auction, there were other sales in the seven- and even eight-figure range:

• Warhol, Self-Portrait (Fright Wig), 1986, around $35m (Skarstedt, 2.0/E14)

• Ad Reinhardt, Blue Painting, 1951-53, trade sources say for around $10m (David Zwirner, 2.0/F5; the gallery would not confirm the price)

• Damien Hirst, Nothing is a Problem for Me, 1992, around $6m (White Cube, 2.0/C18)

• Günther Uecker, Weisse Bilder (White Pictures), 1989-92, more than $5m (Domnique Lévy, 2.0/F4)

• Lucio Fontana, Concetto Spaziale, 1960, $4.7m (Galerie Karsten Greve, 2.0/E1)

• Fernand Léger, Les Deux Soeurs, 1932, $3m (Van de Weghe Fine Art, 2.0/D7)

• Jean-Paul Riopelle, Ombre d’Espace, 1954, $2m (Edward Tyler Nahem, 2.0/F8)

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