News-Antique.com - Apr 03,2011 - One of the most important aspects of successful art investment is knowing what is happening in the cultural sphere. It is the cultural sphere that will, at the end of the day, dictate the desirability and rarity of a work of art in the long term, and thus dictate the long term value placed on a work of art. Prices can change rapidly and severely due to market trends and buying behaviours, but the cultural and art historical value assigned to a work of art is something that is far more stable and justifiable because it is not based on short term trends or fads that are usually completely unjustifiable.
While looking through the Sotheby’s London February 8 Impressionist and Modern Art Evening sale catalogue I noticed that the Marino Marini sculpture titled L’Idea Del Cavaliere is being sold having already received an irrevocable bid. For those of you who don’t know what an irrevocable bid is, Sotheby’s website describes it as:
“Lots with this symbol “” indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, they will be required to pay the full Buyer’s Premium and will not be otherwise compensated. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. (Effective for sales commencing October 20, 2008)”
To place an irrevocable bid on a work of art is a big commitment that usually indicates that the buyer who placed the irrevocable bid knows something that other buyers perhaps are not privy to. By placing an irrevocable bid the bidder is essentially announcing that they are very serious about purchasing the work – an act that is supposed to act as a deterrent to other buyers who were thinking of bidding on the work as well. An irrevocable bid is essentially a way of calling first dibs on a work of art and intimidating other potential buyers.
So what makes this Marini sculpture so special? Yes, it is considered one of his best works. Yes, it is a monumental work. But is this enough to justify placing an irrevocable bid? Probably not. But there is more to this story than the single sculpture being sold by Sotheby’s. You see, there has been quite a bit of action in the cultural sphere with regards to the work of Marino Marini. For starters, the Estorick Collection London is currently showing an exhibition titled “From Morandi to Guttso: Masterpieces from the Alberto Della Ragione Collection which, as the title suggests, includes works by Morandi – albeit paintings as opposed to