Art Basel Switzerland

Ana B. Remos

This year's event was defined by the excellence of the artwork displayed and very strong sales.

The 44th edition of Art Basel Switzerland 2013 showcased a magnificent cross section of the international art market at its highest level. This year’s iteration of the world’s most important art fair was defined by the excellent quality of the works on view and by very strong sales. Abstract art prevailed as the collectors’ favorite, with some impressive works by old masters as well as from emerging artists.

Most of the 304 participating galleries claimed a considerable number of purchases on the first day of the fair. Many of the dealers said these were not impulsive, investment acquisitions, which made the transactions even more interesting.

JOAN MITCHELL. Untitled, 1956. / Cheim & Read Gallery.

New York’s Cheim & Read Gallery’s first reported sale was a large-format work by Joan Mitchell (1925-1992, United States), which sold for $6 million.

Not surprisingly a piece by Gerhard Richter (1932 Germany), one of the most expensive artists alive, reached the considerable sum of $6.5 million. His work has been selling for the past two years at auction in London and New York for upwards of $30 million, breaking many established records.

GERHARD RICHTER. August 5th, 1998, 1998. / Galerie Thomas.

Event organizers mentioned a total of 86,000 visitors during the six-day event, including the presence of the world´s major private collectors, who visit the fair year after year to test the market and enrich their collections. As a side note, it was estimated that between 100 and 150 private jets landed at Basel-Mulhouse EuroAirport just for the event.

IDRIS KHAN. Eternal Movement, 2012. / Thomas Schulte Gallery.

Worthy of mention, among the more than 4,000 artists in attendance, are: Kader Attia, Tom Burr, Thomas Demand, Meschac Gaba, Theaster Gates, Isa Genzken, Dominique González-Foerster, Joana Hadjithomas, Khalil Joreige, Noriyuki Haraguchi, Roni Horn, Christian Jankowski, Idris Khan, Jorge Macchi, Steve McQueen, Matt Mullican, Sean Scully, Jim Shaw, John Stezaker, Eduardo Terrazas, Mickalene Thomas, Tunga and Danh Vo.

There was also a strong presence of more established artists like Ai Weiwei, Martin Creed, Thomas Demand, Theaster Gates, Antony Gormley, Susan Hiller, Walid Raad and Thomas Schütte.

CHRISTIAN JANKOWSKI. Monument to the Bourgeois Working Class, 2012. / Klosterfelde Gallery.

This year’s fair featured the greatest number of galleries from Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Philippines, Republic of Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and United States.

Art Basel also brought together some of the most prominent voices in the international art scene, including Thomas Schütte, Massimiliano Gioni, Agustín Pérez Rubio, Suzanne Cotter, Marina Fokidis, Dan Graham, Massimo Minini, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Steven Sacos, Carl Thoma, Alice Gray Stites, Gianfranco Baruchello, Fritz Haeg, Agnès Varda, Adrian Villar Riojas and Zheng Guogu.

THOMAS SCHÜTTE. United Enemies IV: A Play in Ten Scenes, 1994. / Carolina Nitsch Gallery.

The 2013 Baloise Art Award was bestowed upon Jenni Tischer from Germany, and Kemang Wa Lehulere from South Africa. Each artist received 30,000 Swiss francs; their works were acquired by the Baloise Group and donated to the Hamburger Kunsthalle Museum, and MUMOK, the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig in Vienna.

1. JENNI TISCHER. Emblem (Figure of Three), 2013. / Krobath Wien Gallery.
2. KEMANG WA LEHULERE. Some Deleted Scenes, 2012. / Stevenson Gallery.

The next edition of Art Basel Switzerland will take place from June 19 to 22, 2014.


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