Online art fairs are proving their renewed value to smaller galleries

Online art fairs may have been relegated to memory from the post-Covid boom to in-person events, but they can still play a significant role — especially for galleries further down the food chain.

Data from the winter edition of Artsy's Foundations fair, which closed Feb. 14, offered works ranging from $300 to $6,300 to some of its 135 small and emerging galleries. At these levels, “I can imagine it's very difficult to participate in a major [in-person] exhibitions,” says Alex Forbes, vice president of galleries and exhibitions at Artsy.

Artsy provides an online channel for dozens of physical fairs each year, but it reports that this month's fairs saw the most traffic, with 136,281 visitors (next in the rankings was the Chicago Expo). Foundations Galleries recorded an average growth of one-third in ecommerce sales compared to the equivalent two-week period last year (before the show), with a dramatic rise in inquiries for some artists.

These include Savannah Marie Harris, who showed London's Harleston High Street; Harris won the first Artsy Foundations prize, which means her work is on display on a digital billboard in New York's Times Square until February 25.

Artsy doesn't charge its galleries extra to participate in the trusts — they already pay a monthly membership to the marketplace and pay Artsy a 3-19 percent commission on e-commerce sales, depending on their plan, Forbes confirms.


Francis Bacon's 1970 'Study of George Dyer' (value: £5mn-£7mn at Sotheby's) © Sotheby's

Christie's is set to break the auction record For American painter Bryce Morton, who died last year, his two-part „Event” (2004-07) was estimated at $30mn-$50mn when it went on sale in New York in May. Morton's current public record is $30.9mn, made in 2020 for a work from the same series, which consists of only three diptychs (the third is at the Center Pompidou in Paris).

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The „event,” which is guaranteed by the auction house, remains in the same private collection after it's finished and is never seen in public, says Sarah Friedlander, vice president of Christie's. The work will have its first exhibition in Dubai from February 26 to March 8 to coincide with the Art Dubai exhibition.

Inventory is still coming in for the London sales season, which opens at Sotheby's on March 6. For this evening's sale, the auction house will offer three works from its collection of 20th-century art, estimated at between £6.8mn and £9.4mn. Francis Bacon's „Study of George Dyer” (1970, £5mn-£7mn, guaranteed by Sotheby's) dominated. Eight more works from the same collection will be offered at its one-day sale on March 7.


A charcoal and chalk drawing of a hand on a sepia background
'Study of a Hand (Study on the Prayer of Saint Genevieve)' by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, 1877-78 © Pierre Puvis de Chavannes Estate | Courtesy Michael Werner Gallery

Gallery Michael Werner opens new spaces In May it added locations in Los Angeles and Athens, Berlin, New York and London. The Los Angeles gallery will be housed in a former nail salon on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, and will come with a „beautiful courtyard garden,” says gallery co-owner Gordon Wen Klassen.

Courtney Truitt, most recently at Sean Kelly in LA, has been hired as director, while LA gallerist Hannah Hoffman will curate shows for the yard.

The LA gallery opened with recent works by German painter Markus Lüpertz in collaboration with 19th-century French artist Pierre Puvis de Chavannes. As VeneKlasen says, „It's an unusual show for L.A.,” especially since Puvis de Chavannes is so little known.

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In Athens, the gallery opens with three exhibition rooms in an apartment near the Museum of Cycladic Art. The initial program is „semi-private” with two programs a year and appointment otherwise.


Abstract painting of brown and bright green shapes on light green rectangular field
Joan Snyder's 'Even a Melon Field' (2020-23) to sell at Frieze LA for $210,000 © Courtesy Thaddaeus Ropac

Taddaeus Ropac now represents Joan Snyder A recent work by Fries for its booth in Los Angeles marks the signing of “Even a Melon Field” (2020-23, $210,000).

Ropac will work with New York's Canada Gallery in its representation and is planning a large-scale exhibition at its London location in November focusing on new works. The American artist incorporates materials such as flowers, straw and thread into her typically abstract works, and the 83-year-old has recently seen a surge in public prices. His auction record of $478,800 was set last year for „The Stripper” (1973), estimated at $80,000-$120,000.

Separately, Mexico City and New York gallery Guerrimansuto will represent the estate of John Giorno (1936-2019) in the United States, working with three other galleries. Artist, poet and activist Gurimansutto is planning a solo exhibition at a New York gallery starting March 7. The gallery confirms that it focuses on Giorno's lesser-known Buddhist practice and includes guided meditation. The show was organized by Anthony Huberman, who took over as artistic director of the estate — now called Giorno Poetry Systems — last year.


Portrait of a woman with an afro hairstyle, wearing matching striped trousers and top, against a floral background
'One Finger She Catches Loose' (2024) by Yawatni Davis. © Yvadney Davis

Artists have donated Together we growAn exhibition of 26 works to raise funds for the Cultural Leaders Project, a collaboration between Sotheby's Institute of Art and the charity Culture&.

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Their program was created in 2022 to diversify leadership through education in an artistic world that still supports kinship and good fortune. The institution has waived tuition fees for up to three UK-based students per year to join its MA programs in London – which cost up to £28,900 each, including field study stipends. In addition, Culture& offers living-wage support set at £25,000 per student.

The exhibition, which runs until Sunday at Cromwell Place, is curated by Gallery OCA, with works by artists including Peter Liversidge, Boo Saville and Harwin Anderson. Errol Francis, Chief Executive and Cultural Director and Artistic Director, presents one of his own photographs of himself as a curator at the museum. Works are not priced individually, but donations start at £25 and are available as raffle prizes. All creations can be viewed galleryca.com And the raffle will be open beyond the fair until March 4 coutureand.org.

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