The most valuable artists at SP-Arte 2024

The most valuable artists at SP-Arte 2024

Up to R$12 million per work: who are the most valuable artists at SP-Arte 2024
In its 20th edition, the largest art fair in Latin America presents a selection of the most valuable works on the national market, with highlights such as Ismael Nery, Lygia Clark and Milton Dacosta

SP-Arte, the largest contemporary art fair in Latin America, completes 20 years of shaking up the market. Since its creation, on April 28, 2004, by businesswoman Fernanda Feitosa, it has brought together more than 5 thousand works and 2 thousand artists from Brazil and the world in the historic Biennial Pavilion. The fair has been a platform that boosts the sector.

In 2004, it started with 41 exhibitors, since then, its growth has been admirable: this year's edition (from April 3 to 7) has more than 190 exhibitors, including art galleries, design studios, publishers and cultural institutions, and expects to receive 34 thousand visitors. Over the years, the event has participated in the creation of collections from large museums, as well as relevant private collections.
Denise Andrade
Denise Andrade

Businesswoman Fernanda Feitosa, creator of SP-Arte, on the first day of the fair

In a market that moves billions and is full of variables like the arts, we spoke to some of the biggest galleries in the country to find out which are the most valuable works exhibited at the fair and how sales are going. Check it out below.

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Almeida and Dale

On the opening day of SP-Arte, last Wednesday (April 3), at 3pm, the Almeida e Dale gallery had already sold half of its powerful stand (the fair opened to the public at 11am). The most valuable work on display at the gallery's stand was a Milton Dacosta, on sale for the low price of R$12 million. Keeping company, tied for second place, come the works of Sérgio Camargo and Ismael Nery, both for R$10 million.

“These are the most valuable works, but our stand as a whole is very valuable,” said Antonio Almeida, one of the gallery's partners, referring to the works of Beatriz Milhazes (R$7 and a half million), Adriana Varejão (R$ $5 million) and Anish Kapoor (R$7 and a half million).

Antonio did not want to reveal which of these works had already been sold at the time of our conversation, but he recalled: “the fair is one of the best times to make good sales and contacts that will be worked on throughout the year”.
Gomide & Co

The highest priced work at the Gomide & Co stand this year was a column from the 1970s by Argentine artist León Ferrari, which is on sale for R$4 and a half million. “The Pompidou has a work like this, MoMA too”, said Thiago Gomide, gallerist at the front of the house. “We also have a work by Lygia Clark (the most valued Brazilian artist at the fair) for R$3 and a half million.”

Thiago had not yet sold any of the most valuable works from his stand at the time we spoke, but he was optimistic. “The fair is unpredictable, there are years when we sell ten works at these prices, others when we sell none,” he said. “There are many factors that need to come together for a work of this value to be sold.” Last year, Thiago was one of the gallerists with the best sales balance at the fair.

“Sometimes we sell the work even before the fair opens. This happened last year, when we sold a work worth R$10 million before the doors opened. But there are no rules, it's a very volatile market, a gallery can sell nothing one month and sell millions the next. You need to be very objective to work in the art market, because you can’t plan.”
Nara Roesler

The gallerist and Forbes contributor's stand featured important works by artists such as Daniel Buren, Julio Le Parc, Sheila Hicks and Isaac Julien. “Isaac’s work is not the most valuable in our stand, but it is very important,” said America Cavalieri Pires, responsible for the gallery’s sales and special projects sector.

“He did in-depth work based on the work of Lina Bo Bardi and one of the most important exhibitions last year at Tate Modern in London, as well as being awarded the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for his contribution in the field of the arts”, added América. The work “Encruzilhadas / Crossroads (Lina Bo Bardi – A marvelous entanglement)”, from 2019, is for sale for £53,000 (R$338,000).
Dan Gallery

“The gallery works with historical and contemporary artists, with the historical ones being the most valued, and within our curation for the fair, the work that stands out in terms of value is by Ismael Nery due to the rarity of the works”, said Flávio Cohn, responsible by Dan. “He is one of the most valued modern artists, as he produced only 100 canvases in his entire career.”

Ismael's work in question was being sold for R$12 million. “Tarsila, Di Cavalcanti, Brecheret, Lygia Clark and Anita Malfatti are also highly valued”, continued the gallerist, who highlighted the importance of having the work of artists of this caliber for the fair and the market.

“These works function as a market reference to guide the prices of artists from top to bottom. For a work to be a reference for investment and heritage, we need to consider the historical value, rarity and longevity of the work”.