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Art Market News: a Rossetti on the back back stairs

We were recently featured in the Telegraph. The article details an important chalk drawing our director Guy Schwinge found during his tours. 'Is there ever a dull moment in the life of Guy Schwinge, the director of Duke’s Auctioneers in Dorchester, who appears to be on a perpetual merry-go-round of discovery in the gardens and attics of western England? One thinks of the pair of Fra Angelico panels he found in a retired librarian’s house in 2007, and sold for £1.7 million, or the Roman sarcophagus found buried beneath plants and weeds in a garden last year that sold for £96,000. The latest gem to spark a gleam in his eye is a chalk drawing by the pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti, found on the back stairs of a country house. The owners were descendants of one of Rossetti’s patrons, but had no idea who the drawing was by or of. Schwinge, however, has established that the drawing is a portrait of one Rossetti’s favourite models, Alexa Wilding. Comparable works have sold for between £50,000 and £100,000, though this one, apparently unfinished, is estimated at £25,000 to £40,000 when it goes under the hammer on September 26.

Late September has become a focus for art and artists’ book events, with fairs at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, Berlin and New York. The one item that stands out, among the many sent my way, is a book of doodles made by the co-director of the Serpentine Gallery in London, Hans-Ulrich Obrist. Obrist was once rated as the most powerful figure in the international art world because of his ubiquitous presence at art conferences the world over, and his ability, as a curator, to further an artist or a group of artists’ recognition. Over the past 22 years, he has kept the pages of his notebooks in which he draws and scribbles obsessively during meetings and conversations not just as an aide memoire, but also as a creative impulse. The loose bits of information bound together with wavering lines and undulating scribbles remind me a little of the eccentric Swedish painter/poet Oyvind Fahlstrom. In any case, the book, entitled Think Like Clouds, promises to be an intriguing insight into the workings of his mind. It, and the original drawings, will be shown and for sale through publisher Badlands, at the New York Art Book Fair held at the Museum of Modern Art’s PS1 gallery from Friday. Prices range from $750 to $2,000.

While most auction rooms are gearing up their online activity, one of the original online-only auction houses has been testing the water for live sales – and found it surprisingly warm and pleasant. Saffron Art is a specialised platform for selling Indian modern and contemporary art. Formed in 2000, it has been as important to market watchers as the regular live auctions at Sotheby’s or Christie’s. Last week, however, it changed tack and offered a collection of works by the progressive artist Francis Newton Souza, belonging to a member of his family, in a live auction in Mumbai. Every lot was sold as the sale total reached $1.3 million (£800,000), nearly three times the estimate.'