This Week in the Art Market – Friday, 15th September: From the lifting of a 30-year photography ban on Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ to record-breaking sales at Frieze Seoul and the Armory Show, the global art scene is buzzing. Also, don’t miss Pace Gallery’s big move into Tokyo and the heartwarming efforts of the 1-54 African Art Fair to support Moroccan earthquake relief.

Ban on Photography Finally Lifted for Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ 

Housed in the Reina Sofia Museum in Spain, Picasso’s historic painting had been placed under a strict photography ban for the last 30 years. The work was finally liberated by the Museum’s new Director, Manuel Segade, in the hopes of improving visitor records and reach a younger, more tech-savvy audience. The painting is significant for its anti-war message, recording the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War that Picasso himself had witnessed as a young man. 

Pablo Picasso – Guernica, 1937. via Creative Commons 

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What Happened at Seoul Frieze and the Armory Show

Two major art shows capped off an exciting summer in the art world: the Armory Show (September 8th-10th) in New York and Frieze Seoul (September 6th-9th) in Seoul. Both shows enjoyed strong turnout from its audience of collectors, critics and artists, with optimistic sale figures. In particular, Frieze Seoul reported a higher number of sales in the top range of artworks, while numbers from the The Armory Show seem to suggest greater activity among the mid-tier prices. Check out the article below to find more information on the top sales of both shows. 

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Pace Gallery’s Marc Glimcher Shares Insights on an “Increasingly Competitive” Asian art scene 

The CEO of world-famous Pace Gallery has formally announced the opening of a new gallery in Tokyo in 2024, the decision coming as a response to growing interest in Chinese, Korean and Japanese art markets. Glimcher noted that South Korea has become the second-biggest market by value, serving as a crucial destination for Asian collectors in recent years. He also shared that Japan market has experienced a slowdown during the pandemic but has since set a new record for auction sales in 2022, implying renewed interest among Japanese buyers. 

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1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair launches Moroccan earthquake relief project

In response to the earthquake that devastated the Moroccan city of Marrakesh last week, the 1-54 African Art Fair has begun collaborating with art groups to raise funds for disaster relief, with the ultimate goal of “support[ing] longer term reconstruction”. Currently, the fair has initiated conversations with several Moroccan artists to produce a series of limited-edition prints, with proceeds going directly to relief organisations working to provide aid in the city. 

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First Banksy Exhibition in 14 Years

The exhibition, wittily titled Banksy: Cut and Run – 25 Years Card Labour, was hosted in the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow, Scotland. The exhibition was been deliberately created as an unexpected surprise, but has since attracted 180,000 guests during its ten week run, with hundreds waiting at the doors for walk-in tickets. Among the many well-known images on show was a detailed model of the mechanism involved in shredding Banksy’s Girl with Balloon, the stunt that stunned the world in 2008. 

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Stolen Van Gogh Painting Returned in an Ikea Bag

Vincent Van Gogh’s The Parsonage garden at Nuenen in Spring (1884) was stolen from an Amsterdam museum three years ago, and though a suspect had been arrested and sentenced, the painting remained lost. The cold case was finally solved by Dutch art detective Arthur Brand, who received the painting, wrapped in an old pillowcase and placed in an Ikea bag, from an anonymous contact. The painting has since been returned to its rightful owners.

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