Tobias Meyer Names Names

Let’s talk about specific artists. What would your advice to collectors be today?

Buy Warhol and buy Picasso. There are cheap Picasso and cheap Warhols, and a lot are very good. We have a Picasso drawing in our day sale for $150,000. It’s a lot of money, but not compared to what it will be. I also think Calder is underpriced. If a Richard Prince Nurse is $8 million, there’s no reason Calder shouldn’t be.

Anybody else?

Sigmar Polke. He’s a great buy. When you compare his prices to Gerhard Richter, he’s still underpriced. There’s no complete catalogue raisonné of the artist, and when there will be, people will realize how little there is, so it’s an opportunity. That’s what happened with Warhol, and it happens with catalogue raisonnés.

Should collectors be buying Beuys?

Beuys doesn’t perform well at auction. They’re very hard to place. He’s really a museum artist. Plus, there’s nothing to get. I tried very hard to get one but it went to a museum.

‘The market is not as sensational as it was. There’s not this feeding frenzy for Hirst, for Prince.’

There are Rudolf Stingels in these sales, after a dearth of them. Why?


He was an artist that we’ve all known for all time. François Pinualt started to buy Stingel and then everybody else stated to buy Stingel, and then said, ‘Where am I going to hang this?” And then started to sell them again. But his exhibition at the Whitney was wonderful.

What other museum shows have influenced today’s market?

The Kandinsky show at the Guggenheim really did something for the artist. It was a fantastic show that really got people interested in him again. The Urs Fischer show at the New Museum made people aware of who he is internationally.

What young artists do you like?

I don’t like to talk about that, they’re still alive. Urs Fischer is someone I know, and we have one at home. Phillips de Pury [is selling one], and they used a picture of ours [Tobias’ longtime partner is art adviser Mark Fletcher] as a comparable in the auction catalog.

Is it good for a young artist to be at auction?

It’s a part of the landscape that artists sell their work, and it comes up for auction quite quickly now. You just hope that by the time it comes up, the market is developed enough by the dealers so that there’s international demand. It’s not always good for a dealer who wants to develop the artist, but it is the way it is now.

There are relatively few young artists in the Sotheby’s and Christie’s contemporary art auctions this season. Why?

There is a market for younger artists, it always is there, but that market cools and heats to quite a different beat. We know that high quality and established art sells.

Matthew Day Jackson is one of the very few 30-something artists in the evening sales. How did you hear of him?

From the young people in my office. This is a generations game, too. They say to me, ‘This is a hot thing,’ so I say, ‘O.K., it’s in.’ I’m not going to stand at the young fashion show; I have to rely on people. I have an instinct on how to make money, but I need scouts.


Tobias Meyer Names Names