Claes Oldeburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Leaning Clarinet Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Leaning Clarinet


BASEL, SWITZERLAND — On Tuesday afternoon thousands of VIP guests entered through the doors of Art Basel, itching to get their hands on the best pieces. The scene was not unlike the carnal rampage described by Tom Wolfe in his novel Back to Blood(2012) as millionaires, billionaires and their art advisors rush into Art Basel Miami.




The most discussed piece was offered by the Swedish dealer Skarstedt, with galleries in New York and London. An enormous self-portrait by Andy Warhol from 1986 with a price tag of USD 32 million. Collectors such as financier Steven A. Cohen and the jewellery entrepreneur Laurence Gaff prowed the fair for top work whilst others knew exactly what they wanted. "We gave him 15 minutes" said Per Skarstedt to Bloomberg about the sale of the "fright wig" silk screen Warhol.  In addition to the Warhol Skarstedt had a successful afternoon, selling five works including a 1982 Baselitz painting for USD 3 million and Y no tell-I no tell a Richard Prince for USD 2.2 million.


Jeff Koons Dolphin Jeff Koons Dolphin


David Zwirner sold a blue Jeff Koons blow-up dolphin for USD 5 million within the first hour, Steven A. Cohen wanted to buy it but he was a minute too late," says Zwirner to Bloomberg. All galleries did not manage to unlaod their masterpieces during the first afternoon, Pace Gallery brought an array of Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen sculptures and Leaning Clarinet for 3.5 million remained unsold as the fair doors closed.

/Carl Larsson

Carl Larsson is a third generation art dealer from the prestigious Larssons Konsthandel and a regular blogger on He specializes modern art, photography, design, contemporary art and international art market. Read his blog here, if you don't read Swedish use Google Translate!

See more Andy Warhol on Barnebys here.