Colin Gleadell goes over the Impressionist and Modern sales data and comes to these conclusions:
By the end of the sales the statistics told two different but compatible stories. Lot numbers were down by one third from last spring and the series’ total by nearly two thirds, from $598 million to $208 million – a figure not seen since 2003. Losses were taken on a number of works. A Miró sculpture, bought two years ago for nearly $1 million, sold for only half a million, and a Man Ray sculpture, bought two years ago for $42,000, sold for $5,000.
However, there were also gains. Jerome Fisher’s $14.6 million Picasso had been bought in 2004 for $7.2 million. An 1892 Pissarro view of the Seine was bought in 2006 for $1.76 million, and, returning with attractive $1 million to $1.5 million estimate, sold for $2.54 million. The de Lempicka portrait of Marjorie Ferry had cost Joop $552,500 in 1995.
What is more, after a tricky start and the negative headlines surrounding the unsold Picasso and Giacometti, the next three auctions all met their estimated targets. On average, only 15 per cent of lots went unsold during the week, which was a remarkable achievement, not seen for a decade.
The main question mark hangs over the saleability of $10 million-plus works of art. Last November there were 14 works on sale for $10 million or more and half of them found buyers. This spring there were three, and only one sold.
New York Sales Hold Their Own (Telegraph)