Dealers Report Robust Sales for Top-Dollar Works at Virtual Art Basel Fair as Art World Migrates Online

By Maximilíano Durón, Angelica Villa
Cecilia Vicuña, Camilo Torres, 1978, which depicts the Colombian socialist and Roman Catholic priest who was killed in 1966 and became a martyr for the country’s guerrilla movement, sold within the first hour to a Korean collector for $375,000.
In early February, when the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancelation of Art Basel Hong Kong, it still seemed likely that the fair would be able to mount its 50th-anniversary Swiss edition, which was due to open this month. Then, as the severity of the pandemic became clear, Art Basel postponed the Swiss fair to September and ultimately canceled it altogether. Its replacement was a digital fair, which opened this morning for the first of two VIP preview days. Following the virtual iterations staged with Art Basel Hong Kong and Frieze New York, the art market has largely acclimated to the swift move online, especially when it comes to offering high-value works to remote buyers. During the first day, dealers reported numerous big sales at the virtual Art Basel fair, which runs through June 26, indicating that galleries’ investments in building out their online offerings have paid off. [More]