A man eyeballs Yves Klein’s “Untitled Blue Sponge Sculpture,” 1959, and Picasso’s “Nature morte au crane et au pot,” 1943.
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"When did so many people start caring about contemporary art?" wondered Marc Glimcher, head of the Pace gallery empire, as he busied himself making deals at this week's VIP preview at Art Basel. With 291 galleries from 35 countries presenting 4,000 artists' works, the world's biggest art fair franchise – the Art Basel brand is also stamped on fairs in Miami and Hong Kong – is as much a place to hobnob as it is to buy and sell an estimated $2.8 billion to $3.4 billion of art.With "mid-market" prices ranging from $50,000 to $1 million, art deals represent "large and infrequent purchases" even among the world's growing population of millionaires, art economist Clare McAndrew said.In the first market report commissioned by UBS and Art Basel, she estimated art sales hit $56.6 billion last year, with the rich eager to place cash at a time of low financial returns.
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