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Beyond the Majors: Looking to Regional Auction Houses

From my latest article on MutualArt:

Scenes from Im Kinsky. Courtesy of the auction house.
Collectors flock to Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips each auction season to take their chances bidding on some of the world’s most coveted works, but many equally exciting deals can be found at smaller auction houses around the globe. From historic to newly established, collectors should also consider the many regional auction houses to help build their growing collections. Beyond the major houses, collectors can score deals on masterworks, decorative objects, works on paper and editions by big name artists. Our round up of regional auction houses will give collectors the resources needed for building up any kind of specialized collection.
Istanbul, Turkey
Husamettin Kocan, Composition, 2009. Courtesy of Antik A.S.
In 1981, Antik established itself as the first professional fine art auction house in Turkey, introducing both an exhibition salesroom and library for the public to enjoy. The auctions showcase antiques and Turkish calligraphy as well as contemporary innovative Turkish artists.
Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil
Exhibition of Contemporary Brazilian Art, 2013. Courtesy of Bolsa de Arte.
Originally held in the Copacabana Palace Hotel, the Bolsa de Arte auction house has focused on bringing modern and contemporary Brazilian art to market since 1971, recently expanding to meet market needs to include Photography, Contemporary Art and Street Art. The auction house has also offered works by international artists.
Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, China; Taiwan
Chinese Oil Paintings and Sculptures catalog, 2007. Courtesy of Chengxuan Auction House.
Almost ten years old, Cheng Xuan Auctions specialize in Chinese artists – from painting and calligraphy to sculpture and ceramics. The auction house offers both contemporary pieces, as well as ancient and historic art works and coins.
Paris, France
Contemporary and Modern Art Catalogue cover art, 2013. Courtesy of Cornette de Saint Cyr.
The celebrated Parisian auction house may be considered small, but their offerings span fine art and design, including Contemporary and Modern Art, Impressionism, comics and illustration, furniture, natural history, automobiles, prints and multiples, Asian Art, books and manuscripts, jewelry, antiques and wine. Cornette de Saint Cyr has attracted consignors offering mostly smaller works, drawings and prints with big names such as Warhol, Basquiat, Man RayAntony GormleyRon EnglishKiki Smith, as well as Dali, Lempicka, Miro and Picasso.
Cincinnati, OH
American Art Auction. Courtesy of Cowan’s.
Boasting specialists featured on Antiques Roadshow, Cowan’s sells fine art, folk art, decorative art, Western Art and Native American art and artifacts. Americana like Civil War paraphernalia, vintage firearms, and historical ephemera are also a big focus of the Ohio-based auction house.
Miami, FL
Modern Art exhibition, 2013. Courtesy of Fine Art Auctions Miami.
Miami’s FAAM brings important Russian, Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary works to the Miami market, as well as catering to international buyers. FAAM’s auctions included a recent Major Street Art auction with works by Banksy and Jean-Michel Basquiat, and an upcoming Important Painting and Sculptures auction on April 23rd which will include pieces by Matta, drawings by Andy Warhol, Picasso and Matisse, works on paper by Diego Rivera and even photographs by Helmut Newton.
Philadelphia, PA
Marc Chagall, L’arc-En-Ciel, 1969. Courtesy of Freeman Auctions.
The historic Philadelphia auction house has remained in the Freeman family for over 200 years, having expanded in recent years to incorporate the growing demands of the art market. Their alliance with Scotland’s Lyon & Turnbull has extended their reach to the international market. Freeman’s auctions range from decorative arts, objects and furniture to fine art such as European and American Art, with special auctions highlighting Pennsylvania artists and Scottish Artists to reflect their Lyon & Turnbull alliance. Upcoming offerings include works on paper by Picasso, Miro, Chagall, Matisse and Braque.
Vienna, Austria
Scenes from Im Kinsky. Courtesy of the auction house.
Founded in 1992 by five dealers with its first auction just one year later, Austria’s im Kinsky takes residence in the first floor of the gorgeous Baroque Palais Daun-Kinsky. Set amongst the historic rooms of the 1713 mansion, the auction house specializes in antiques and fine art, including Classical Modern, Old Masters, 19th Century paintings, Art Nouveau and even Contemporary Art, with many German and Austrian artist offerings. Holding six catalogued auctions a year, recent lots have included Gottfriend Heinwein, Roy LichtensteinFranz West,Keith Haring and Victor Vasarely.
Los Angeles, CA
Scenes from a live auction, 2013. Courtesy of Los Angeles Modern Auctions.
LAMA is the first auction house to specialize in selling 20th century Modern Art & Design over the course of its four auctions per year. Paintings, prints, furniture and decorative objects by artists and designers such as Charles and Ray Eames, Warhol, Lichtenstein, R.M. Schindler, Picasso and Calder are regularly featured in their consignments. Along with featuring the works of prominent California estates, LAMA has carved itself a niche, making it the go-to auction house on the West Coast for Modern Art and Design.
Sydney and Melbourne, Australia
Sydney showroom featuring contemporary Australian Art. Courtesy of Menzies Art Brands.
A strong leader in the Australian art market since 2006, Menzies showcases Australian fine art and sculpture in their Sydney and Melbourne showrooms. Four major auctions annually offer traditional, modern and contemporary Australian art both online and in live auction.
Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico City showroom. Courtesy of Morton Auction House.
Originally an antiques dealer, Morton expanded to an antiques and fine art auctioneer in 1988, focused to bringing works to private collections and museums in Mexico. With locations in Mexico and in Houston, Morton also hosts pop-up exhibitions of important Latin American artists as well as local Houston historical design, celebrating artists and artisans from both regions.
Galleries in Mumbai, New York, London, Delhi
Mumbai exhibition space, 2013. Courtesy of Saffronart.
With showrooms in New York, Mumbai and Delhi, Saffronart is an online auction house for Indian art, antiques and objects. Pushing Indian art into the global market, the auction house regularly hosts exhibitions in its three galleries to give the public access and information to fine Indian art, often showcasing specific artists, such as S.H. Raza. Saffronart also scales pop-up exhibitions of modern and contemporary Indian art around the world to further exposure of these artists.
Tokyo, Japan
In the auction room. Courtesy of Shinwa Art Auction House.
Japan has only entered into the auction house world in the last 20 years, and Shinwa has established itself as a resource since their inception, becoming the country’s largest. Shinwa’s mission is to offer a fair and reliable auction market in Japan, inviting the general public to participate freely. The auction house specializes in Japanese paintings, oil paintings and ceramics, but also dabbles in impressionist, post-impressionist and European decorative art.
Boston, MA
Pablo Picasso, Femme retenant son peignoir, 1923. Courtesy of Skinner Auctions.
Skinner auction house specializes in fine objects of value, offering 60 auctions annually including fine and decorative arts and modern design. Skinner experts are also regularly on Antiques Roadshow, the popular television show about appraisal. Their upcoming American & European Works of Art auction on May 16 features drawings by modern masters Joan Miro and Pablo Picasso.
Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa
Jane Alexander, Untitled, 1982. Courtesy of Strauss & Co.
The thriving Strauss & Co. auction house bolsters important South African Art, which encompasses paintings, drawings, watercolors, prints and sculpture, as well as decorative arts, jewelry and furniture. Strauss is the leader of the local market, and has made a name for itself amongst South African artists by attaining auction records for Wolf Kibel, Gwelo Goodman, Jane Alexander and Penny Siopis in 2013.
Berlin, Germany
Wassily Kandinsky, Ringsum, 1924. Courtesy of Villa Grisebach Auktionen.
In 1986, five German art dealers formed Villa Grisebach in Berlin.  It was a feat for the time as the city was still divided by the Berlin Wall. Helping to reestablish Berlin as an art center, the auction house is known for offering better conditions and higher warranties, as well as providing lengthy art-historical research, striving for a more “transparent, fair and market-realistic” approach. The auction house focuses largely on German works from the 19th, 20th and 21st Centuries, and has a separate division specializing in photography. Recent offerings have included Josef Albers, Georg Baselitz, Neo Rauch, Helmut Newton and Irving Penn.
Moscow, Russia
Boris Orlov, Bust in Style of Rastrelli, 1996 and Alexander Pavlovich Lobanov, Untitled, 1970. Courtesy of Vladey Auction House.
Based in Moscow, Vladey’s mission is to be both an auction house, and a place to educate the public on Russian art. It is the first Russian auction house to focus solely on Russian artists, from masters to contemporary, to young emerging artists working today. Vladey’s auctions include works from artists living all over Russia, as well as Russian artists living abroad.
Toronto, Cobourg and Collingwood, Canada
Toronto exhibition space, 2013. Courtesy of Waddingtons Toronto.
Established in 1850, Waddington’s conducts both live and online auctions in fine art, estate management, fine furniture and rugs. Although the auction house offers works from international artists, they also uniquely offer auctions in both historic Continental Paintings from the 17th-19th Century, and modern Inuit Art, as well as estate collections from private individuals and Contemporary Canadian artists like Gary Taxali.


One Response to “Beyond the Majors: Looking to Regional Auction Houses”
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