David Norman looks at the results of the March 2017 auctions of Impressionist and Modern art at Sotheby’s and Christie’s. The surprisingly strong sales came in the context of a nervous art market wondering what the future might hold.
In part because of that uncertainty, few of the works on offer were considered the kinds of trophies that would motivate bidders to aggressively pursue these works. Nonetheless, they did. Buyers, especially from Asia, were out in force.
Although, as Norman points out, the bidding was tactical and sober. Buyers are keen on acquiring works of art but not at any price.
With that in mind, Norman follows up on the previous sales of many of the works and points out that very few of the works auctioned in this March cycle lacked market exposure. Some did well against previous prices; others fared poorly. But the market showed that it could distribute familiar material efficiently and with strong prices even if the sales lacked an estate or other fresh material that might excite “animal spirits.”