The Master, Judd Tully, is in London for ArtInfo.com covering the sale at Christie’s where$122m worth of art was sold.
Of 85 lots on offer in the sale, which also included a section titled “The Art of the Surreal,” 69 found buyers, which translates to svelte unsold rates of 19 percent by lot and only 7 percent unsold by value. Twenty-one works sold for more than £1 million ($1.6 million), and of those, four topped the £5 million ($8 million) mark.
Scott Reyburn on Bloomberg was paying attention to the bidders, especially on the star lot:
“They want flashy, colorful pictures by the big names,” Thomas Seydoux, Christie’s international head of Impressionist and modern art, said in an interview. “We were surprised by the amount of bidding from Russian and former Eastern Bloc buyers.” At least six Christie’s staff members — including Matthew Stephenson, managing director of Christie’s Russia, and Sandra Nedvetskaia, of the company’s London-based Russian art department — took telephone bids on Picasso’s 1963 painting “Tete de Femme (Jacqueline).”
It had been entered by descendants of the Chicago collectors, the late Kenneth and Bernice Newberger, who were guaranteed a minimum price by an unidentified third party. After several minutes of competition, the portrait was sold to a telephone bidder represented by Isabelle de La Bruyere, a Christie’s director, based in Dubai. […]
Forty-eight percent of the lots sold to European buyers (including Russians), 25 percent to the U.K., 25 percent to the U.S. and 2 percent to bidders based in Asia, said London-based Christie’s.
London Auction Kicks Off with a Bang (Artinfo.com)