An 1892 Paul Gauguin painting, called Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry) was sold from a private Swiss collection to a Qatari buyer for almost $300 million, the New York Times reported this week. Though the Times’ sources wished to remain anonymous, it would mark the highest ever sale price on record for a single piece of art — besting by about $50 million the headlining sale of Cézanne’s “The Card Players” in 2012. It’s worth noting that both of these significant purchases originated in Qatar, a country whose purchasing power, interest, and influence in the art market is undeniable.
But the heat goes on! A recent Sotheby’s art auction was dominated by a huge and richly chromatic Gerhard Richter abstract painting, Sotheby’s lead-off contemporary evening sale this week signaled another green light for the global art market and brought in, all told, in $188,200,186.
The stand-out performance of the evening was the guns blazing, telephone bidding battle for Gerhard Richter’s commanding “Abstraktes Bild,” a huge and early example of his more advanced technique, that hit a record $46,303,719. No living European artist commands bigger prices than Richter. Another Richter, the photo-realist styled and blue sky dominated “Wolken (Clouds)” from 1970 sold within estimate to another telephone bidder for a mild $6,199,935.
A Vegas Valentine’s Day: Speed Dating And Violet Cocktails
This Valentine’s Day, the D Date-A-Thon will return to Las Vegas, inviting singles to break the world record for speed dating while enjoying a party complete with a live DJ, drink specials, and more. With space for up to 5,000 singles at the new Downtown Las Vegas Events Center, the D Date-A-Thon is set to welcome a record-breaking number of singles and beat Calgary Alberta’s current world record title of 651 participants. So far more than 1,000 participants have registered for the event. Entry is free.
Near the Convention Center, those who choose a little more peace and quiet can go to the miX Lounge on the 65th floor of Mandalay Bay and imbibe the special Violet Valentine cocktail, consisting of Blue Curacao and Chambord.
Where are they going? Latest On Chinese Luxury Travelers
With Chinese New Year a little over one week away, Chinese travelers are gearing up for the first of two annual Golden Week vacation periods. Although most of these vacationers will stay in Mainland China, a significant and growing number will venture abroad to sightsee and shop.
According to a new report by Jing Daily, 76 % of all Chinese luxury spending now takes place outside China. Where are they going? Much of the majority of travelers will go to neighboring Asian countries, Hong Kong and Macau.
But for those Chinese tourists going farther, the US still remains on the top of the list. Mainland travelers go to California, which reported over 800,000 Chinese visitors in 2013; and New York recently announced that Chinese arrivals grew 500 percent between 2009 and 2014.
Fashion vs. Football: Who Wins?
According to a study by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, New York Fashion Week brings in almost $900 million in revenue for the city. Quoted in WWD, Representative Carolyn Maloney pointed out that the biannual Fashion Week has more economic impact than the U.S. Open ($700 million), last year’s Super Bowl ($500 million), and the New York City Marathon ($340 million). The question is, could this be a trend? Are more watching a runway than a run downfield? We’ll see what happens in 2015.
At The Moment, In The Moment: Wearable Tech, UnderArmour and Michael Kors
Wearable Technology is projected to gross over 70 billion in 2024. It is a major emerging growth field, as Wearables make the world faster and more accessible, by reducing the time elapsed between the desire to do something and actually completing the task. Wearables basically keep its wearers in the moment. There are now LED dresses, Solar Collector necklaces, and Wearable Tech shoes.
The most recent example, UnderArmour’s Armour39, its next generation wearable technology. The Armour39 employs its own “WILLpower” measurement, a proprietary system that monitors the various aspects of a workout such as heart rate, intensity, calories burned, speed, and past performance history. The Armour39 does this by utilizing a chest strap that contains an Under Armour “bug” and heart monitor that collects all the data. This technology, embedded in a shirt, can become the ultimate, wearable coach, and/or personal trainer.
And finally, Michael Kors announced to shareholders this week that the company is focusing on wearable tech in 2015-2016. Details TBA.
The UHNW Secondary Residence: Latest Wealth-X/Sotheby’s Trends
With an average combined value of $13.7 million, according to estimates in a report by data firm Wealth-X and Sotheby’s International Realty,
U.S. mega-rich households have an average of 2.9 properties that are together worth an average of $12.9 million, Wealth-X says.
Wealth-X defines those 211,000 ultra-high-net-worth people (UHNW) as those who have at least $30 million of assets including their homes.
On a global basis, UHNWs are increasingly buying real estate outside their home countries. Half own overseas properties, the report says, with the U.S., the U.K., Switzerland and France as the most common locations.
By contrast, fewer than one-third of U.S. UHNW households own residences abroad. Among those that do, the most popular markets are the U.K., Switzerland, Australia and France, according to Wealth-X.
The report says secondary residences on average are 45% more valuable than primary residences and twice as large, and they sit on an average of 10 acres of land. They are often tied to hobbies and holidays— as a winter destination for skiing or a beach house on an island.
However, New York, with its consistent construction of luxury high-rises, is the city with the highest number of homes owned by the ultra-rich.