Sunday, December 09, 2012

My Word - Christmas 2012

I gave you my word that this Christmas newsletter would assiduously avoid bad news, and unpleasant subjects. Considering all that we have been through in the past two months, sedating and gagging me might be the only sure way to avoiding my traditional candor. But I will try my best.

Last week we delivered the Foxworth Collection of Pre-Columbian art to Sothebys New York for an upcoming sale in the spring of 2013. Several major objects, including a Preclassic Maya tripod vessel, were on view at the Dallas Museum of Art before the family decided to offer them at auction. Carolyn Foxworth was the Christies representative in Dallas for many years before finally retiring and focusing on her family and the art collection she and Walter built over three decades through many trips to Mexico and Santa Fe. Carolyn was generous in lending her art to institutions for exhibitions and publications. Christies recently sold important works of contemporary art from the Foxworth collection which included a Motherwell.

Several weeks ago we attended a cocktail party here in Dallas co hosted by Gabriel and Ann Barbier and Sothebys to briefly exhibit highlights from the Barbier Pre-Columbian collection to be sold in Paris in March. I was immediately blown away by the size and quality of the iconic Chupicuaro figure that has to be consider one of the most important objects in the collection. It is, indeed, breathtaking. There is no doubt in my mind that this sale will set many records and may just attract the new international buyers that are desperately needed to sustain this market long term. Many of these works were acquired by John Paul Barbier's father-in-law Joseph Mueller who began collection in 1907. This early acquisition date will no  doubt attract many US private and institutional buyers that have been frustrated by the UNESCO cutoff date of 1970.

Finally, in future issues we will elaborate on our new association with, which is an online auction system based out of New York, We have signed a contract to work as an associate running our auctions on their system. We have a tremendous amount of respect for Lark Mason and his wife Erica and look forward in the coming years to work with them and their extraordinary staff. We feel that this presence online with their rapidly expanding customer base will give our clients options that are not currently available. In our spring issue we hope to have an in depth interview and profile of Lark who has been a colleague on Antqiues Roadshow for seventeen years and is an expert in Fine art, Asian art, and online systems which at one time he ran for Sothebys.

It has been a very frustrating year in knowing precisely how to advise clients in an erratic market. Life is easy if you are dealing with masterworks. The world where most of live a bit lower on the food chain is certainly less clear. I  still remain optimistic with the historic perspective that tough times for some create opportunities for others. And in fact when you look at past data, some collectors and dealers did very well investing wisely. Anybody with money can chase a masterpiece. Experience and maybe a little luck can be the difference in finding gems in the middle markets. So we look forward to the challenges and will do our best to keep you informed on where we think the markets are going. JB

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