Black Power in the art market; Saatchi’s new dealer show; a $10 million Masterpiece sale

On the invitation card to Tate Modern’s Art in the Age of Black Power, which opens this week, is a 1966 self-portrait by Barkley L Hendricks, then aged 21, wearing just his shades and a Superman t-shirt. Like most African American artists, Hendricks had a completely marginal position in the market during the period covered by the exhibition (1963-1983), and for years after.

But when he began exhibiting with the trail-blazing Jack Shainman Gallery in New York in 2005, he began to attract attention, starring in the Nasher Museum’s The Birth of the Cool exhibition (2008), and at New York’s Swann Galleries’ auctions of African American art, where his top price rose from $10,000 in 2008 to $365,000 in 2015.

Then, just after he died earlier this year, his market shifted up another gear when three of his paintings broke the record at Sotheby’s selling for up to $960,500 (£741,500) for The Way You Look Tonight, a four-foot self-portrait inspired by Renaissance portraits he had seen at the Uffizi in Florence. 

Although he has only three works in this encyclopaedic show, the choice of Hendricks for the invitation card is significant because it acknowledges the tectonic shift that has been taking place in the market for black American artists.

Bram Bogart is all white at Saatchi

The Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea opens a new exhibition today where it collaborates with dealer Toby Clarke of the Vigo gallery to show and sell work by the Belgian painter Bram Bogart. The artist, who died in 2012, is best known for the thick licks of brightly coloured paint that comprised his canvases. This exhibition consists of the least-known of his works, pure white paintings; thus the title of the show, Witte de Witte. Prices will range from £37,000 to £105,000.

Masterpiece’s top lot?

Voiliers sur la Seine à Argenteuil, 1886
signed and dated lower left G. Caillebotte/1886

Voiliers sur la Seine à Argenteuil, 1886
signed and dated lower left G. Caillebotte/1886


Top price to come my way from the Masterpiece fair on London’s Chelsea Embankment, which closed last week, was something “in the region of” the $10 million asking price for a superbly atmospheric sailing scene on the river Seine at Argenteuil by the Impressionist painter Gustave Caillebotte on the stand of art agents, Dickinson.

The painting had been in the same private family collection in London for 44 years. The exciting thing for Dickinson was that the buyer had not been known to them before. “That’s why we do art fairs,” said managing director, Emma Ward.

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