The Artist Pension Trust, a mutual assurance fund that provides long-term financial security for artists, withdrew eighteen lots from an upcoming auction at Sotheby’s London after several artists decided that the sale “was not in their best interests,” Colin Gleadell of The Telegraph reports.
Works by David Shrigley, Jeremy Deller, Richard Wright, Jane and Louise Wilson, Liam Gillick, Martin Boyce, and Douglas Gordon, among others, were featured in a catalogue that was released a month ago. The lots were estimated to bring in more than $250,000.
This year marks the first time APT chose to put works up for auction. The London sale was to follow a successful Sotheby’s New York auction last month. Only two out of fifteen works from APT failed to sell. A work by Chilean artist Iván Navarro was one of the highest priced pieces of the group, netting $26,000. The sale raised a total of $231,000, which exceeded the original $160,000 estimate.
Al Brenner, CEO of the MutualArt Group, which merged with the artist trust in December 2016, said that the mass withdrawal of works was a result of the artists’ fears that their works would be undersold or not sold, affecting future sales. For now, Brenner said he is not planning any more auctions.
Founded by businessman Moti Shniberg in 2004, APT invites artists to participate and then asks them to contribute more than twenty works over the course of two decades. The works will eventually be sold and the profits split between all artists in the trust. The model allows emerging artists to benefit from the reputation of more established artists whose works might sell for more. APT promotes the work of its members by organizing shows or loaning works to exhibitions. APT currently has more than thirteen thousand works from two thousand artists.