DH: Tell us about myths/common misconceptions that you come across when working with new collectors.
MS: The notion that good contemporary art has become unattainable. In fact, I would argue that in today’s market there is an abundance of work available. What is more challenging though is to make sure to distinguish between what you really like and what you think you should like. Oh yes, and it is a myth that if you are in an auction salesroom and you accidentally touch your hair that you are at risk of having placed a bid. A good auctioneer will always confirm and ensure that you are actually bidding through making eye contact or asking you whether you are bidding. DH: What is an auction estimate and how do you price a work of art for auction?
MS: An auction estimate is based on a number of factors including recent auction prices for similar works, market comparables, the artist’s current market, provenance like exhibition history or previous owners and specifics of the work including the age, size, condition and quality of the piece. The estimate is a guideline, the auctioneer will generally start the bidding a few steps below the low estimate and provided there is active bidding the price tends to go up from there. DH: Why would I buy at an auction?
MS: Generally, buying at auction is fun and exciting. There are the previews and exhibitions ahead of the sales where you can look and engage with the art which is then followed by the actual sale. You can leave a bid, be in the room and raise your paddle, be on the telephone with an auction representative or be online and participate from a remote location. DH: What are some featured pieces from your November sale?
MS: One of the highlights of Bonhams’ November 13 Post-War & Contemporary Art is Keith Haring’s Untitled (The Church of the Ascension Grace House Mural), the first Haring mural ever to come to auction. The monumental 85 foot mural was painted circa 1983/1984 in the stairwell of Grace House, a former convent and home of the Catholic Youth Organization in Upper Manhattan. The sale included works by celebrated artists such as Helen Frankenthaler, Wifredo Lam, George Condo, Sam Francis, Louise Nevelson, among others. The sale also håighlighted works from the Estate of Arnold Kopelson, which includes five works from artists such as Hans Hofmann, Eric Fischl, Willem de Kooning, and Larry Rivers.