Colin Gleadell Totes Up the Imp/Mod Sales
Covering last week’s sales in the Telegraph, Colin Gleadell finds positive and negative news:
Overall, prices had gone back two years, suggested the dealer David Nash, and some losses were experienced. A Degas bronze sold for $125,000 less than the $717,000 it had fetched nine years ago. A Fantin-Latour flower painting made $422,500, compared to $680,000 three years ago.
But there were still profits being made. Degas’s sumptuous pastel of a dancer, which fetched a record $37 million, had been bought in 1999 for $28 million by the financier Henry Kravis. A Giacometti sculpture of three walking figures disappointed, selling below its $14 million estimate for $11.4 million to Toronto dealer Robert Landau, but this was still double the price it had made in 1999. And Picasso’s painted terracotta, The Grey Owl, fetched $1 million – five times more than it had sold for in 1997. [ . . . ]
But whether or not the works that sold below estimate could be considered bargains depends where things are going next. Inevitably the size of the sales, as well as their estimates, will be reduced to meet the reduction in demand. Having attained asset-class status, art must suffer the fate of other assets that decline in value for lack of cash investment. And certainly those with cash who believe the market will return to its former strength will see this as an opportunity to buy.
Art Sales: Prices Finally Plunge (Daily Telegraph)