The Financial Times and Reuters Try to Explain the Meaning of the Auctions of Russian Art in London
Reuters sees the sales as evidence of the end of the Russian buying spree:
Gone are the days of 2005 to 2007, when salerooms buzzed with anticipation as Russian buyers fought for precious pieces of their heritage. This week both Sotheby’s and Christie’s failed to make their low pre-sale estimates, an increasingly common phenomenon as the global financial crisis catches up with the art market. [ . . . ]
Underlining how a weaker art market throws up opportunities for bargains, lot number 333 on Wednesday went under the hammer for 13 pounds including buyer’s premium. The ink-on-paper image of three horses speeding through the countryside dragging a sled had been expected by Christie’s to fetch up to 3,000 pounds.
The Financial Times, however, sees some silver lining in the volume of sales considering Russia’s severe economic straits:
We are relieved it wasn’t a meltdown,” said Mark Poltimore, the chairman of Sotheby’s Russia. “In fact, if you take into consideration the economy and particularly the situation in Russia, we were thrilled that some parts of the sale did so well.” Lord Poltimore said there had been fears that the market would “die” following events of the past couple of months but many top-quality pieces had sold well.
Russians No Longer Rush to Buying Art (Reuters)
Sotheby’s Russians Sales Signal Duller Art Market (Financial Times)