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Art Basel 2024 mega sales, but less crowded corridors are two main points that characterize this year's edition

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This Sunday 16th of June, the most important fair of the year has closed its doors with impressive sales even though gallerists were uncertain about the outcome of the fair. Among galleries there was a sense of positivity and satisfaction. Art Basel, founded by three gallerists more than 50 years ago, is still an unmissable appointment, which will have its sister taking place in the Grand Palais in Paris this upcoming October. The fair has confirmed its important position as one of the most important hubs for global art commerce. This year has been very successful also thanks to the important number of initiatives both inside and outside from the fair, taking place around the whole city of Basel. 

Art Basel in Basel 2024. Courtesy of Art Basel.

This 2024 edition has seen more than 91.000 visitors, 250 being representative of museums and institutions. The crowd was mostly European, whilst American collectors were missing. “In spite of the ‘doom porn’ currently in the art press and along gossip grapevines, we were very confident in the art market’s resilience and the first days of the Art Basel confirmed this perspective. We sold more works on the opening day of the fair than we did on the first day of Art Basel last year. We were also very active on day two, as busy as the first day would be at any other fair. The moral of the story: true quality and great relationships always prevail.” says Iwan Wirth, President of Houser & Wirth. After these long first weeks, the big galleries are positive about the outcome of the fair. The market has become a bit more dynamic, taking into consideration the unknown times the art world is facing. The international collectors were committed to purchase the best of the best in terms of what the fair was offering. Just after the first VIP day, Houser and Wirth closed its booth with sales for more than 40 million dollars. Among the sales there are: “Untitled (gray Drawing (Pastoral), by Arshile Gorky, from 1946-47 for 16 million dollars and a work by Blinky Palermo for around 4 million dollars. “Woman with Packages”, a sculpture of Louise Bourgeois was sold for 3,5 million dollars.

Art Basel in Basel 2024. Courtesy of Art Basel.

The most important sale during VIP day was made by the gallery David Zwirner, which sold a piece by Joan Mitchel, “Sunflowers” (1990-91) for 20 million dollars. Another sale has been a work signed by Gerard Richter from 2016, “Abstraktes Bild”. Two works from Josef Albers “Study for Homage to the Square” (1966) for 1,6 million dollars and “On the Other Side” (1952) were also sold, alongside another work “Untitled” by Joan Mitchel from 1973. Pace Gallery sold a painting by Agnes Martin, “Untitled #20” (1974), for an undisclosed amount, but it may be among the most valuable sales of the 2024 edition. Several transactions for more than 1 million dollars have been made according to the art dealers around the fair. Sprüth Magers sold a work by George Condo, “Rosemary’s Baby” (2024) for 1,95 millions. Thaddeus Ropac sold “Welten, die es nicht gab, mit Filzhut” (2023) by Georg Baselitz for 1 Million Dollar. Galleria Continua announced the sale of “Prussian Blue” by Anish Kapoor for $ 750.000 and “Color and Light” (2021) by Michelangelo Pistoletto for $320.000. The piece from Adrian Ghenie “Museum Scene” was sold for 900.000 euro by Plan B Gallery. “We received very positive feedback and sold numerous pieces by artists we newly introduced to the fair for the first time. The overall atmosphere was a pleasant mix of interest in acclaimed artists and curiosity about discovering the new talents”, stated Mihaela Lutea, Founder of Plan B Gallery based in Berlin.

Kamel Mennour, owner of Mennour Paris, said “we’ve witnessed a dynamic market reception, with collectors eagerly acquiring masterpieces. We are particularly thrilled with Petrit Halilaj’s installation taking center stage at the façade of the former Merian Hotel during the fair, thanks to Art Basel and UBS. This edition of Art Basel is notable not just for the volume of the transactions but also for the palpable joy and enthusiasm among the world’s foremost collectors”. UBS was celebrating its 30 years of partnership with Basel and it was happy to be part and to support the international artistic community having many ongoing projects also around the city of Basel. The power of art has united and inspired people. There are hopes for the market to take a turn as the sales have been many this edition, the general crowd, however, was more quiet after the VIP days ended. Predictions are difficult to make about the future of the artworld, but a positive note can mark this 2024 edition.

See you next year!

Cover Image: Art Basel in Basel 2024. Courtesy of Art Basel.

Written by Asia Artom