A-List Attends Art Basel Fair

Basel, Switzerland - Leonardo DiCaprio, Kanye West (pictured here performing at Design Miami), and Roman Abramovich were among the VIPs at a bullish preview to the Art Basel fair in Switzerland, where a $12 million Alexander Calder mobile was among the rush of early sales.

Art collectors of ArtKabinett social media network are seeing lots of high-end art transactions, along with A-list celebrities.

The Hollywood stars and Russian billionaire, browsing separately, had more than $2 billion of art to choose from. The world’s biggest fair devoted to 20th and 21st century works is seen by many international collectors as the one must-attend event in an increasingly crowded calendar.

The London-based dealer Helly Nahmad sold Calder’s 1961 red mobile “Sumac,” priced at $12 million, to an unidentified client. Two white slashed canvases by Lucio Fontana, both marked at $2.5 million, were also among the gallery’s early sales. The dealer’s New York-based namesake, who has been charged with racketeering and money laundering, didn’t attend the fair.

The New York dealer Dominique Levy sold the 1966 Robert Ryman canvas, “Untitled, or The Painting of the Mysterious Shadow,” for more than $7 million.

Levy, exhibiting at Basel for the first time under her own name, also attracted a reserve on a blue and orange 1992 “Abstraktes Bild” by Gerhard Richter, priced at $20 million.

Higher Prices

Expectations were great among the 304 exhibitors at this year’s 44th edition. Dealers make an effort to hold back their best pieces for Art Basel.

Three works by U.S artist Rudolf Stingel priced at $2 million sold -- at Massimo De Carlo, Sadie Coles and at Gagosian: a larger abstract bought by Montreal collector Francois Odermatt.

The multi-gallery dealership Hauser & Wirth and New York-based Cheim & Read were among the exhibitors reporting their best-ever start to Art Basel.

Hauser sold the 2013 work “Hairy Bottom,” priced at $725,000, by the U.S. painter Mark Bradford; Cheim found a Swiss buyer for a 1956 “Untitled” canvas by the France-based Abstract Expressionist Joan Mitchell, marked at $6 million.

Other big sales included Zurich-based Galerie Gmurzynska’s Yves Klein “F 38,” with the asking price of $2.8 million, and Joan Miro’s “Composition,” with an asking price of $1.6 million. Paris- and Salzburg-based Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac sold the 1977 painting “Terrarium” by James Rosenquist for $2 million.

Art Basel began yesterday and the fair closes on June 16. Information: https://www.artbasel.com/