It’s not Just the Blockbusters–or Why a $30 million Picture Doesn’t Seem Like a Big Deal Anymore
The Master, Judd Tully, comes in with the first report on the Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern sale. Still hunkering down for the soft landing, Sotheby’s exceeds its pre-sale estimate. Though, to be accurate because the final sale includes 12+% of premium and more, the sale came in at the upper end of the pre-sale estimates. In Tully’s words:
Overall, the evening realized the house’s highest result in the category in Europe, with a total of £102,246,500 ($201,210,887), exceeding the presale high estimate of £95 million.
Scott Reyburn catches a comment from Nick MacLean:
“The market is remarkably strong at the moment,” said the New York-based art adviser Nick Maclean, who attended the auction. “There’s a lot of depth to it, and it’s not just the Arabs and Russians who are providing it.”
Souren Melikian raves about the sale and homes in on Sotheby’s very different strategy:
So bullish was the mood of the room that the first 22 lots sold without a hitch. Sotheby’s specialists had made it known that they had tailored their sale to suit the aesthetic trends currently in favor. They emphasized Fauvism, together with other avant-garde movements of the early 20th century, Picasso’s oversimplified cartoon-like portraits from his later period, and Surrealism. Interestingly, however, works that did not match this definition also fared well.
Reuters adds this observation that is at the back of everyone’s mind:
The results at the start of 10 days of auctions in London underline the ongoing strength of the art market, despite broader economic gloom caused by falling stocks, rising oil prizes and the mortgage meltdown.
Dancer on the Block (New York Times)
A Severini Climbs to 15.04 Million in a Dazzling Impressionist and Modern Sale (International Herald Tribune)
Fresh Records at Sotehby’s Art Sale (Reuters)