Marc Chagall, Dos à dos, 1984

Marc Chagall, Dos à dos, 1984

Marc Chagall’s star still shines bright today: the Russian-French Modernist is coveted by collectors and connoisseurs alike. Our columnist explains why JEAN-DAVID MALAT

opera1Personally, Marc Chagall is by far my favourite Modern artist. His paintings are somewhat like dreams and they remind me of my childhood: indeed, my grandfather was Polish and my grandmother’s family originally from Russia. Growing up, I listened to their stories and traditional tales and, in my mind, these resembled the colourful and oneiric scenes depicted by Chagall.

I think that up to today, he has influenced a lot of Israeli and Russian contemporary artist. He stayed true to his own style all his life. And even Picasso – who is known for being very critical of fellow artists – was a lover of Chagall’s works. I believe it is all down to the combination of colours, and the love and family values he put into his paintings. These are unique.

And the market seems to have picked up on this too. The presence of artworks by the late Master Painter in every major Modern Art auction around the world since the mid-2000s illustrates the recognition that his art has gained on the art market and with art collectors alike. An example of how this artist’s value on the art market has been reinforced since 2005 can be observed in the results of “La Femme du Peintre” (1970). In 1996, this 100 x 65 cm oil on canvas was auctioned at Sotheby’s New York for USD 650,000 (within the estimated USD 600,000 – 800,000). In 2012, the exact same painting was auctioned again at Sotheby’s New York. It was then sold for a hammer price of USD 1,800,000. That’s almost three times more than in 1996, the kind of trend more usually seen by living artists these days. This tendency is due to the fact that the demand for quality paintings by the Master Chagall keeps getting higher, while fewer and fewer pieces are available on the market.

Marc Chagall,Le coq sur fond Noir, 1968

Marc Chagall,Le coq sur fond Noir, 1968

To this day, the record price for a Chagall artwork to sell at an auction was at the August 2013 Christie’s New York sale, when “Les trois acrobates” (1926) sold for USD 11,500,000; well above the estimate between USD 6,000,000 – 9,000,000.

Considering all of the above, it is no surprise that the art market statistics website has evaluated that USD 100 invested in 1999 in a Marc Chagall work will have an average value of 178 USD in September 2013.

But beyond that, the world’s most respected art institutions are constantly paying tribute to his great heritage: In 2013, two major UK institutions hosted Chagall exhibitions – Tate Liverpool and Manchester Jewish Museum – that looked into the Jewish heritage and modernist influences that shaped his career; while the Grand Palais in Paris hosted an exhibition of self-portraits at the Musée National Marc Chagall in Nice.

As for 2014, the first major retrospective in Spain devoted to Chagall will take place at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, curated by President of the Comité Chagall, Jean-Louis Prat.

At Opera Gallery, we have been sourcing artworks by Chagall for our collectors since around 2003-2004. And thanks to our international network, we have access to numerous Chagalls, via international collectors.

Marc Chagall,Maries au village,1969

Marc Chagall,Maries au village,1969

In 2006, we hosted our first Chagall solo exhibition in London, which was extremely well-received by our public and collectors. Later, in 2011, we had a Chagall exhibition in Opera Gallery Monaco, then in Geneva. And in May 2013, we decided to bring our collection to Asia and hosted a large retrospective exhibition in Opera Gallery Hong Kong.

It is with great pride that we will also be hosting a retrospective in London, opening on the 15 May 2014 and with which we aim to highlight the prominent role the Russian painter played within the history of art; and also to reinforce even further his value and recognition on the current art market.

Jean-David Malat is Director of the international Opera Gallery group. The Opera Gallery’s Chagall retrospective shows in London in May 2014 and in Singapore in autumn 2014.

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formula-one1Ahead of the new Formula 1 season, CAROLINE DAVIES caught up with two of its stars, Mercedes AMG Petronas driver Lewis Hamilton and team boss Ross Brawn, at an IWC exhibit. Brawn has since announced his retirement, but we’re running the interview anyway

LUX Regarding the tyre controversies, why would a company produce tyres that don’t grip? Isn’t that like producing watches that aren’t on time?

Ross Brawn That is a delicate topic. When you only have one supplier as we do in Formula 1 then the tyre supplier can work on one end of the scale or the other. If they only supply tyres that don’t deteriorate then they run the risk of the tyres becoming too predictable. It’s about finding the balance between a tyre that is extremely durable and never wears out and the other end, which is very soft, very fast but only has a limited life.

Just finding that right point is quite a challenge for Pirelli as they have some elements of Formula 1 pushing them in one direction and some pushing them in the other. They will never do a tyre that suits every team because each team looks for a particular thing. I think Pirelli can do whatever is required and Formula 1 needs to decide which they need. Perhaps we have gone a little too much towards the entertainment with all the pit stops, which can confuse the fans, and it needs to come back a little bit, but not go all the way.

LUX Lewis, you’ve recently joined IWC. How’s the watch collection coming?

Lewis Hamilton I’ve collected watches for a while, but I’m only just beginning my IWC watches collection…

LUX Are there any similarities in the details of watchmaking and a Formula 1 driver?

LH Timing is everything for a Formula 1 driver. We are constantly developing and improving, chasing time throughout the year. Time means points so that’s what we are working towards. All the different materials we use – carbon fibre, aluminium, titanium – and the processes we use are now used to make brilliant watches.

LUX Engines are changing in the coming season. How’s this going to affect Formula 1?

RB I think for a number of years the engine has not been a strong factor. Sometime ago the engines were frozen so there hasn’t been any development on them. Formula 1 tends to be thought of as a competition between the cars and not so much between the engines. This year we have a fresh start. It is a very important change. At the moment we have V8 engines, but next season we are having some small capacity turbocharged hybrid engines. These are becoming more common in the automotive industry and we get a lot of ‘energy recovering’ from them. We will have the same power and performance for 100 kilos of fuel as we had for 150 kilos before. The efficiency improvement is enormous and that is going to feed back into our daily lives in terms of the types of cars we drive and the sort of engines we have. Formula 1 is getting relevant again. I think we are going to see a discussion about the drivers, the cars and the engines, which is a good thing. It is also bringing in new companies as they see that relevance. In 2015, Honda will be returning to Formula 1 and certainly they wouldn’t have done that before with the previous engines. It is a good step.


LUX We have seen materials used in car manufacturing cross into watchmaking. Which materials will move next and why do they work well in watches?

RB I think it is an interesting area of synergy. We are using them because of physical properties, which may not be totally relevant for a watch, but are very interesting in terms of the technology and the aesthetics. One of the obvious areas is carbon fibre. A huge percentage of cars are carbon fibre and that is now becoming similar in watches. I think that the synergy is developing. It is at an early stage presently, but there are a lot of interesting materials. It adds another aspect to the watch as well as pure design.

LUX How do you know when the chemistry is right in a dream team?

RB I think sharing the same goals, when everybody works together. At Mercedes we had a very strong principle in our team that we didn’t have a blame culture. If something went wrong it went wrong for everybody and when things went well they went well for everybody. We worked together as a team. It is a combination of everyone working with attention to detail at every level of the company. It is a reason it succeeds. We had two fantastic drivers who worked well together with the right spirit, which translated through the whole team.

LUX Lewis, would you rather have a vintage IWC or a vintage Mercedes?

LH I like driving, but I would rather both. A vintage Mercedes would be a Gullwing. I’ll have to wait and see which vintage classic IWC watch I should get.

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