The Miller Monet goes for $80 million in London; Goncharova hits $10 million; Degas Surprises
Two big records set at Christie’s in London. The Monet Water lilies, which have not been seen in public for 80 years, doubled Monet’s record of just a few weeks ago in New York. Goncharova bests her record by a small margin. But reports of the death of the Impressionist market seem to be mistaken.
“So much for the Impressionist market being dead,” said James Roundell, a London art dealer. “If you can get good pictures and price them low, people will buy.”
On the other hand, the never-optimistic Carol Vogel observes:
The Miller collection was the highlight of an otherwise bumpy auction. After the collection sold, the energy in the salesroom dissipated, with some of the lower-priced works selling below their estimates or not at all.
Here’s what the winning bidder said Judd Tully’s brief report:
“I’m delighted,” said Buckrell Pos moments after the sale, “My client is a true connoisseur. It’s a truly exceptional piece, and the market continues to prove itself.And people will pay for quality.
Though Souren Melikian tartly questions the taste of the buyers of the Havemeyer Degas of which Melikian thinks the Christie’s experts were too effusive in their praise:
Christie’s eagerness to satisfy rising demand by offering a large number of works in a market where supplies are inexorably shrinking accounts for the inclusion of several third-raters that came up during the second half of the sale.
So it was that 15 of the 81 lots crashed unwanted, and several others only sold by the skin of their teeth. This is a problem to which there is no solution other than to reduce the number of offerings. Including mediocrities or praising to high heaven works of modest merit not only has its limits, but could prove counterproductive now that the days of starry-eyed buying are over.
A Monet Sets a Record, Fetching $80.4 million (The New York Times)
A Monet Sets Record at 40.92 million in Christie’s Sale (International Herald Tribune)
Monet and Christie’s Smash Records in London (Art + Auction)
Claude Monet water lily painting fetches record of nearly £41m (Daily Telegraph)