Sotheby’s Auction House: Female Power Players Achieve Record Breaking Prices in 2014

In 2014, women artists played a prominent role in the Sotheby’s Auction House Art Market. There was a surge in appreciation of works done by female artists achieving prices that were record breaking.

Jimson Weed of 1932, an iconic flower painting done by Georgia O’Keeffe, more than tripled the former world auction record for any female artist. The piece drew in an outstanding $44.4M in New York this past November. This landed O’Keeffe 8th overall in the top 10 highest sold pieces at the Sotheby’s Auction House for all of 2014.


Jimson Weed of 1932 by Georgia O’Keeffee

The top ten highest sold pieces at the Sotheby’s Auction House in 2014 included:
• Alberto Giacometti, Chariot sold for $100,965,000
• Amedeo Modigliani, Tête sold for an artist’s record of $70,725,000
• Vincent Van Gogh, Still life, Vase with Daisies and Poppies sold or $61,765,000
• Claude Monet, Nymphéas sold for $54,071,001
• JWM Turner, Rome, from Mount Aventine sold for $47,430,454
• Francis Bacon, Three Studies for Portrait of George Dyer sold for $45,400,274
• Mark Rothko, No. 21 (Red, Brown, Black and Orange) sold for $44,965,000
Georgia O’Keeffe, Jimson Weed sold for $44,405,000
• Mark Rothko Untitled sold for $39,925,000
• Mark Rothko, Untitled (Yellow, Orange, Yellow, Light Orange) sold for $36,565,000

Other notable female artist figures in 2014 include Kay Sage, Vija Celmins, Artemisia Gentileschi, and Julia Margaret Cameron. American artist Kay Sage, emerged from the shadow of her husband’s reputation with her suggestive painting Le Passage of 1956. The piece immensely exceeded predicted sales when it sold for $7.1M.

The time and effort put into pieces by Vija Celmins is a scarcity seen by collectors. Her labor-intensive and meticulously detailed work is hard to come by which leads to furious competition when it appears at auction. Burning Plane from 1965 doubled the high estimate of $1.2M selling for $3.4M.

The Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi set a new record for herself taking in a remarkable sum of $1.2M exceeding predicted sale prices by almost $100,000. Lastly, Julia Margaret Cameron doubled her previous record auctioning No. 5 of a series of twelve life-sized heads for $461,000.

Closing out the year with record prices, this outstanding growth in appreciation for women artists demonstrates that the best is yet to come for the Sotheby’s Auction House.

More Information: Artlyst

Sotheby’s International Realty News: Luxury Brand Expands Presence in Switzerland

800px-St_Moritz_MuottasThe white glove services offered by the Sotheby’s brand continues to make its presence known globally as Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC has announced the opening of St. Moritz Sotheby’s International Realty in Switzerland. The services will be available throughout the canton of Grison widening exposure and expanding referral opportunities.

This new firm will be owned and operated by Gianluca Righetti who currently owns Fontana Sotheby’s International Realty which dominates the Tessin, Lugano, Locarno, and Ascona markets. Righetti is overwhelmed with the opportunities presented to him in St. Moritz which he believes is a world-renowned mountain resort. “Since the early 1950s St. Moritz has been an important destination for many personalities from the world of entertainment, sports and politics,” he said. “It is the perfect location for owners of chalets and apartments coming from all over the world to benefit from 300 days of sunshine, long summers and sporty winters. The St. Moritz luxury real estate market is one of the highest priced in the world, with the percentage of secondary residences very high and no existing major international real estate agency in the marketplace. Therefore, we believe this presents a great opportunity that will give us a strong position in the market.”

Philip White, president and chief executive officer of Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LCC stated, “The Sotheby’s International Realty brand’s expansion across Switzerland continues our commitment to providing access to the brand’s network and exclusive real estate services in key countries around the world. This affiliation, which strengthens our presence in Europe, offers entrance into this famous and attractive lifestyle-focused Swiss market. We are very pleased that our global clientele now will have access to the brand’s services in this beautiful part of the world. St. Moritz is one of only three locations to host the Winter Olympics twice, in 1928 and 1948, and remains a destination for world ski championships.”

The Sotheby’s International Realty network continues to grow and prosper as we are now present in 56 countries and territories worldwide with roughly 730 offices. Having over 16,400 devoted and independent sales associates, we pride our success on each being readily willing and able to provide outstanding services to all clients. We at Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty would like to congratulate Gianluca Righetti on this great endeavor and look forward to collaborating with him and his team in the near future.

More information: Sotheby’s International Realty

Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty Donates over 100 Teddy Bears to Boston Children’s Hospital

IMG_3475On December 18th Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty donated over 100 teddy bears to Boston Children’s Hospital to benefit the patients and their families during this holiday season.

This is one of many philanthropic endeavors that the firm has orchestrated this holiday season. CEO Larry Rideout stated, “The community plays such a vital role in our day to day operation. We are lucky to do business in such an amazing community and it is important to give back in any way we can, especially this time of year.”

Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty found the staff at Boston Children’s Hospital to be wonderful. The coordination of the collection and drop off was made simple by the Child Services Department’s friendly staff. For more information on how to donate to Boston Children’s Hospital click here. 

About Boston Children’s Hospital
Founded in 1869 as a 20-bed hospital for children, Boston Children’s Hospital is the primary pediatric teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School and the largest provider of health care to Massachusetts children. In addition to 395 pediatric and adolescent inpatient beds and
228 outpatient programs, Boston Children’s houses the world’s largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries benefit both children and adults. More than 1,100 scientists, including seven members of the National Academy of Sciences,
13 members of the Institute of Medicine and 14 members of the Howard Hughes Medical
Institute comprise Boston Children’s research community. For more information about the
hospital visit: Boston Children’s Hospital.

Real Estate News: Boston Ranked the Number 1 Market to Watch in 2015

aWith 2014 quickly coming to an end Trulia, an online residential real estate site that lists properties for sale and rent, has announced what they believe to be the top 10 housing markets to watch in the New Year. Boston came in strong ranking number one ahead of Dallas, Fresno, Middlesex County MA, Nashville, New York NY, Raleigh, Salt Lake City, San Diego and Seattle. Each of the ten markets demonstrate strong fundamentals for housing activity with Boston being hard to beat.

Currently Boston is thriving in home sales, especially in the up and coming luxury condo market. With a solid economy to go along with these home sales there is no question that Boston is at the top for quality housing markets. Distressed sales are practically nonexistent and all-cash sales remain below the national average.

The three main factors that led to Boston’s superiority include recent job growth, low vacancies, and the strong presence of the millennial generations.

Job growth is projected to be at 1.7 percent this year and since June of last year, the unemployment rate in Boston has fallen a dramatic 19 percent to just 6.3 percent of the work force. Low vacancy rates can be seen throughout each market in Boston, the multifamily vacancy rate is at a low of 4.2 percent and the single-family vacancy rate is at an even lower 3.5 percent. These numbers show such a high level of demand going along with Boston’s recent construction boom. Lastly, Boston has been a main area for the Millennial generation. This young and educated cluster comprise 31 percent of Boston’s population.

To go along with these three factors Boston is rich in history, quaint and luxury living, top notch hospitals, and prodigious schools making it clearly inevitable that such a great city be overlooked in 2015.

More Information: Boston Agent Magazine

Jamaica Plain Real Estate: $90M Housing Development Begins Demolition

JP BlogA project that began planning nearly three years ago has begun demolition on the Commons at Forest Hills Station in Jamaica Plain. This $90M, 283-unit midmarket apartment complex is scheduled for occupancy in spring 2016.

The complex is set to include 35 studios, 108 one-bedroom units, 86 two-bedroom units, 14 three-bedroom units, and 40 affordable units. There will also be 180 parking spots and 250 bike parking spots located on the property, as well as 5,000 square feet of retail space and a marketing office.

A partnership between a Braintree and Boston-based lobbyist, Forest Hills Arborway LLC, will develop this $90M project. The permits for this development were obtained last fall from the Boston Redevelopment Authority and so using the past year to finalize all construction plans.
With total development expecting almost $300,000 to $310,000 per unit, the average rent for a two-bedroom unit will be $2,650.

The Commons at Forest Hills Station is conveniently located on a 2.8 –acre site at 3593-3615 Washington Street, minutes away from the Forest Hills public transit stop and across from a bus lot owned by the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority.

The project site was thoroughly cleaned and treated for years before demolition as it was once a petroleum distribution facility for nearly a century. Approximately 1.5 million gallons of contaminated groundwater was treated by Forest Hills Arborway LLC enabling the location to be a safe site for a housing development.

Richard High, president of one of the partnering developers, stated, “We’re all very aware of so much of the housing getting built at the top end of the market. This appeared to be an opportunity to scale down the height to try to bring the housing in at a price point that would meet more of a middle-income market.” Over the next two decades Mayor Martin Walsh is strongly advocating that 53,000 new housing units be built with this new development.

More Information: Boston Business Journal

Robin Kramer, Award-Winning Garden Designer, Encourages Use of Outdoor Space

Screenshot (50)One may not believe that putting too much time and effort into utilizing outdoor space when buying a home is worth your while, but Robin Kramer an award winning New England-based garden designer may make you think otherwise. Kramer presents the opportunities to be had when landscaping the exterior of your home.

A former children’s book illustrator and stay-at-home mother, Kramer now successfully owns a garden design firm that also offers an exterior design division that includes furniture, umbrellas, planters, landscape lighting, fabrics and outdoor pieces from all over the world. She believes that the same amount of time spent interior designing should be spent on exterior designing.

Kramer and her husband built a home in Greenwich, Connecticut where they currently live and English garden designer Simon Johnson assisted in landscaping the property. The home was featured in a garden education tour which sparked the start of her career where she met her first client out of the blue. This past summer, Kramer hosted a wedding on her property which may sound like an unusual venue until you find that it was hosted in her parking court. Unlike most circular driveways, Kramer has a large square courtyard with extra wide paths. Also, her parking courtyard leads to a raised area that doubles as a badminton court, an area that was perfect placement for a tent do dance the night away with wedding guests.

“Our parking court is such a special place; you would never know you were basically sitting in our driveway,” says Kramer. “What I try to do — I don’t think of a front yard or a backyard — I think, ‘What can the experience be here?’ A lot of what I do is rooted in European garden design philosophies. People there live outdoors more, sit around and have more conversations.”

Kramer has seen European garden design first hand having lived in England and Germany for many years. Also, due to her husband working as a global investment banker, she has moved nearly a dozen times not realizing as she dragged her children to every public garden and historic location in Europe that she was really nurturing her new career.

To Kramer, landscape is more about life than just a collection of plants, shrubs and trees. “Every lesson in life could be learned in the garden. There are setbacks and disappointments, triumphs and successes, and all the good stuff is fleeting. But people who garden are never deterred. Every season has something to offer. Every season is an opportunity to do something differently. It’s magical to watch these things happen. It’s so part of who we are. To me, it’s inspiring,” says Kramer, showing her passion for garden design.

What Kramer finds most challenging is convincing her clients to understand the importance of utilizing their outdoor space to its full potential. “I want to change the way they experience their homes and create something they’re going to want to have other people experience with them. It’s going to bring not only a deeper connection to nature, but to their family experience as a whole.”

Not only does Kramer spend time outside the home, but she also equally observes the inside of the home. She notes decorations, colors, patterns used, and the view to the outside. She likes to not only enhance the exterior but the home as a whole. “You have this structure, which is organizing your outdoor spaces, and it speaks to the architecture. Near the house, most of my work is quite linear. As you move away from the home, it is in a more naturalistic way,” says Kramer. “I think there’s a connection where you slowly move from the building back into the physical landscape. Houses here in the states are very big and I’m trying to anchor them back to the landscape.”

One then may ask about the role that weather plays into outdoor landscaping, unlike Europe, winters are much longer and unforgiving here in New England. This does not pose a problem in Kramer’s eyes, “We use boxwood endlessly. Perennial beds go to dirt in winter and you still want to see green in winter. I tend to use a lot of hedges to create more order in the landscape.”

The spaces that Kramer works with have a destination feel somewhat like an interior room. Home buyers use each room in a home for a specific purpose as should be done the same with outdoor space. Interiorly you go to specific areas at a certain time of day to trigger or create a certain mood. Ultimately, the same should be done exteriorly.

More Information: Previews

Real Estate News: Boston’s Luxury Market Ranks 9th Overall in the Nation

Boston has proven to be a top performer in the luxury housing market having 204 million-dollar home sales in this year’s third quarter. In terms of sales, Boston is ranked No. 9 in the United States of all luxury housing markets, with not many cities being able to compare to this rampant activity. Million dollar home sales are predicted to remain strong for the remainder of 2014 and continue into next year.


Nation’s top 10 cities in 2014’s third quarter for million-dollar home sales.

Although million-dollar home sales are only up 2.5 percent on year-over-year measures, they are up an outstanding 64.5 percent since 2011 Quarter 3 showing substantial growth in the market over the past few years.


Percentage growth of million-dollar sales since 2011 third quarter.

Breaking down some of the higher-end luxury home sales further, some of the top neighborhood sales include the Back Bay with an average luxury price of $4,451,000, Beacon Hill with an average of $3,878,000, and West Cambridge/Huron Village coming in with an average of $3,227,000.

More Information: Boston Agent Magazine

Real Estate News: Home Prices Rise with Green Line Extension

greenlineHome prices of neighborhoods in Somerville and Medford that have once been overlooked are expected to soar in the next few years as the Green Line adds a multi-billion-dollar extension.

With years of planning and construction still ahead, the long anticipated extension of the Green Line from Lechmere to Union Square in Somerville and College Avenue in Medford will be running sometime in 2017. Stops will be open in Ball Square and Lowell Street of Somerville’s Magoun Square, Gilman Square and a connection up to Union Square.

Desire for real estate along these new routes has grown significantly. It has been noted that real estate investors and homebuyers have been hungry to have access to some of the neighborhoods along the new route like Magoun Square and Winter Hill of Somerville. Long time real estate agents of Somerville have noted that prices seen in these areas have been outstanding. Although Magoun Square and Winter Hill do have bus services, benefits of T services cannot be compared.

Recently, homes in Somerville have sold for far more than $600,000, thus showing how much progression is occurring in this market.

David Begelfer, chief executive of NAIOP Massachusetts, a company that represents developers across the state, noted that the neighborhoods around this planned route of extension have become a main focus for developers. They are looking to build new apartment and condo buildings as soon as possible.

Real estate booms have been known to follow T line construction and expansion in the past as well. For example, the transformation of neighborhoods caused by the Red Line extension in the mid-1980s was spectacular, and we can expect to see the same positive results in the Somerville and Medford areas. Mass transit is a key element of economic growth and will add incredible value to the surrounding communities.

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Boston Real Estate News: 2014 Building Boom by the Numbers

legends-during-600xx1278-852-1-0Boston has “hit the ground running” according to Mayor Marty Walsh on the recent building boom taken place throughout the city in 2014. During a speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Walsh highlighted the sheer volume of work underway in the city. He stated that by December 31, $4 billion worth of new construction will have broken ground; a number that is up an outstanding 16.4 percent from the year before.

Also, a total of 7.5 million square feet of space will have been added. Housing units are on track to meet a target of 53,000 units by 2030 with 3,859 currently under construction. These developments supported an outstanding 12,000 construction jobs this year.

Walsh also stated that the Boston Redevelopment Authority approved an additional $3.7 billion worth of development this year which is expected to add 10 million square feet of space, 4,700 housing units and 11,000 construction jobs. Mayor Walsh is satisfied with these numbers but does not plan to see a break in building, “We’re proud of these results…we are going to reach even higher next year.” It looks as though the future of Boston real estate will continue to evolve and improve for years to come.

More Information: Boston Business Journal

Boston Real Estate: Effects the Summer Olympic Games Could Have on Boston

Copy of bostonsykylinedayBoston 2024, the local organizing committee, has submitted a bid to the United States Olympic Committee to make Boston the host of the 2024 Summer Olympics. In January, the Olympic Committee will select one city in the United States out of all the bids to be the country’s nominee. The final choice of where the games will be held will not be announced until 2017 by the International Olympic Committee. 

Some cities that Boston is up against include Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. Each of these cities offer different strengths and experts’ believe that Boston would not benefit from the Olympics as much as other cities due to the fact that it is significantly developed already in terms of its economy. Erin Murphy Rafferty, Boston 2024 Executive Vice President said otherwise, “We believe Boston would benefit in the form of new housing, improved infrastructure, smart urban planning, new green space and much-needed transportation upgrades.” 

There is a list of key features that makes a city stand out to the Olympic Committee. Land is extremely valuable, and location is crucial. The host city is required to have big stadiums, one with at least 100 acres of property, an abundance of playing fields approximately of 30-35 acres, a large Olympic Village of no less than 100 acres to accommodate all athletes and trainers, and multiple media facilities. 

There have been no finalized plans for facilities and venues yet in Boston, but according to John Fish, the CEO of Suffolk Construction and chairman of the Boston 2024 committee, there has been talk about the TD Garden, Gillette Stadium, the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, and Boston Common as venues. There has also been talk of building a temporary Olympic Stadium in South Boston. 

“White elephants”, a term used to describe venues that fall out of use after the games but are still costly to maintain, can be eliminated by the building of these temporary stadiums. The last time the Summer Olympics were held in the United States was 18 years ago in Atlanta, Georgia, where temporary buildings were utilized copiously resulting in a growing population for the first time in decades. 

Hosting the Olympics is also known to put cities on the map and can be extremely beneficial to the local real estate market. A study done on the 2011 Olympics held in London displayed that residential property prices adjacent to the main stadium went up about $300 a week just from the time the games were announced that they would be hosted there. Prices that people were paying to rent for one night was equivalent to what you would pay on average for a whole month. Homeowners near the main Olympic stadium also saw the value of their properties increase by an average of $94,000 during the short time-span of the Olympic games. 

The long-term effects that hosting the Olympics in Boston is unpredictable but in the past has proven to be beneficial in the United States.  Property values rise, neighborhoods are improved, and people rediscover areas, thus finding city life far more appealing.

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