The Artmark Spring Auction, the biggest event of the Romanian art market this season, hosted by one of the famous art galleries in Bucharest, recorded impressive results and confirmed a substantial interest in influential Romanian art: approximately 1 million euros and an award rate of over 85%.
At the anniversary event – Auction no. 500, organized by the A10 by Artmark Auction House in the physical auction room, at the InterContinental Athenee Palace, for the first time after three years of almost exclusively online auctions, 341 art lovers participated, of which 80 in the room and by telephone. Although from a numerical point of view, the limits of the physical hall required that most of the participants take place online, for the first time after a long time, the majority of the value was awarded by the hall – 53.42% of the adjudicators being present in the hall or by phone.
The anniversary event, with no. 500 – The Spring Auction, as it does with quarterly regularity, reset the hierarchies of appreciation and importance in Romanian art. Some artists have held their own; some have advanced, and some have been overcome. Thus, the top of last night’s awards is led by Nicolae Tonitza and Nicolae Grigorescu. The work „Girl with a pink bow” was awarded for 110,000 euros. Likewise, another significant work, signed by Nicolae Tonitza, was „Three Brothers”, awarded for 75,000 euros.
One of the most anticipated works of the evening was the miniature painting „Lady Elisabeth in her office”, signed by the national painter Nicolae Grigorescu. The work, which comes from the historical collection of the diplomat Viorel Tilea and represents a smaller version of the final one in the collection of the royal family of Romania, was awarded for 77,500 euros.
In the postmodern and contemporary art section, a rare work by Horia Bernea, from the „Gardens” cycle, was awarded for 16,000 euros, placing in the top 3 best-selling works by Bernea (led by another „Gardin”, prominent, awarded by Artmark in 2019, for 26,000 euros).
In the sculpture section, the bronze „After the bath” by Oscar Han was awarded the best, for 16,500 euros, also representing an absolute record for the sculptor. His previous record was set in 2014 with the work „Elegy” (awarded for €15,000).
Other Romanian heritage artists have also set absolute records, some museums and publicly known, others rarer and admired only by skilled collectors. Thus, a pleasant surprise of the Spring Auction was Alexandru Romano, whose work „Girl with a turban” was awarded for 4,000 euros, starting from a starting price of 800 euros. The previous record for this little-known, highly talented artist, who died at 29 years old, was set in 2020 with the painting „The Wise Man”, sold for 2,250 euros. Jean Alexandru Steriadi set a partial record last night with the painting „Boats in the port of Deauville”, which sold for 19,000 euros, his best-selling work, at least in the last ten years.
The results of the Spring Auction prove the solidity of the Romanian art market during the recessionary period – many participants, the return of the appetite for indoor events, many adjudicators, a high rate of adjudication (over 85%), the rejuvenation of the age of the participants (15.3% of the adjudicators belong to the generation millennials, i.e. only 38.8% of participants belong to the generation of collectors formed before 1989), as well as the pronounced interest of collectors and investors in the critical heritage art segment.