High-Octane Sales During the VIP Preview of Art Basel’s Second Online Fair Solidify the ‘New Normal’ of the Socially Distanced Art Market – artnet News

June 17 was supposed to be slated for trawling the Messeplatz’s meticulously assembled art-fair booths, nibbling white asparagus at exclusive Swiss dinner spots, and sipping champagne at the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois.

But on Wednesday, many of the world’s top dealers, collectors, curators, and advisors instead fired up their home computers and smartphones to web browse the latest iteration of Art Basel’s online viewing rooms.

While the atmosphere left several participants pining for the IRL experience, respected galleries ended the opening day of the virtual fair with a slew of five- and six-figure sales on their books. By Thursday morning, however, deals struck for more than $1 million were rare, further reinforcing that online sales platforms remain something of a glass-half-empty versus glass-half-full proposition: yes, a price ceiling still seems to exist for most galleries—but the ceiling is higher, and the space below it is wider and more welcoming than many would have expected just a few years ago.

Familiar faces abounded at the upper levels of the market. Gladstone Gallery scored one of the day’s biggest wins by placing an untitled dayglo painting by Keith Haring for $4.75 million. The gallery also found success one rung lower on the price ladder, selling an untitled 1991 painting by Carroll Dunham for $475,000.

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