Christie’s pulled off a very well managed sale yesterday showing that a down market need not be a spooked one. Even though the £58m total was substantially lower than Sotheby’s the previous night, the impression of an orderly, mid-price focused market did much to sustain confidence, especially as global markets dropped all during the sale.
The Wall Street Journal captured the mood:
Christie’s, which historically shines in contemporary sales, once again managed to pull off a brisk auction dominated by pieces in the $500,000 to $5 million range—a middle-market price point that feels solid to wary bidders. The major soft spot was its supposed masterwork, an Yves Klein painting that stalled at $10.9 million and went unsold. Christie’s contemporary specialist Francis Outred said the house prepared “with a cautious frame of mind” by focusing on realistic estimates and walking away from a few top lots.
Colin Gleadell seconded the thought:
“This sale was more about the strength of the middle market,” said Lock Kresler, a director of the Dominique Lévy gallery in London, who used to work at Christie’s.
Christie’s sale strength was based upon elements of several strong collections. For example, Gleadell points to the Hockney umbrella that out performed:
The surprise, though not to Christie’s Francis Outred, was the performance of David Hockney’s paintings from the Miles and Shirley Fiterman collection. A simmering Beach Umbrella, from 1971, sold to a staffer from the Gagosian Gallery, who was competing against New York dealer Nicholas Maclean, for £3.1 million ($4.5 million), double the estimate.
“Hockney is totally underrated in the market place,” Outred said after the sale. “This price will look cheap before too long.”
However, not everyone viewed the pieces as selective. The Journal also spoke to one collector who simply sat this one out:Continue Reading