Today, Art Basel Switzerland opened with a VIP preview boasting strong sales, including the purchase of a number of notable works. A 1990 sculpture by Sol LeWitt sold at Paula Cooper Gallery for just under $1 million, Perrotin and Simon Lee Gallery sold its entire presentation of 18 paintings by Bernard Frize, and Robert Longo’s installation in Unlimited co-presented by Metro Pictures and Galerie Thaddeus Ropac sold for $1.5 million to a European museum. Perhaps most notable, however, is the sale of abstract painter Joan Mitchell’s 1969 piece “Composition” for $14 million.
The sale of Mitchell’s piece points to increased interest—and pricing—when it comes to female artists. “It was obviously a time for a correction in perception, and in price, for her—as with a lot of women,” Hauser & Wirth co-owner Iwan Wirth told Artsy. The proof is in the sales: Carmen Herrera’s painting, “Arco,” sold at Lisson for $550,000; the same gallery sold a new Mary Corse work for $375,000; David Zwirner sold Carol Bove’s “Egg” for $1.5 million, more than quadruple the artist’s auction record of $329,000.
Notable attendees of this year’s Art Basel’s VIP preview included fashion designer Raf Simons, British artist Tracey Emin, New Museum director Lisa Phillips, collector Alan Lo and curator and art historian Sir Norman Rosenthal.