Carol Vogel complains about thin bidding at Christie’s then describes the sale of Peter Doig’s Night Playground as having five bidders and a price well above either the high estimate or another work by the same artist at Sotheby’s last week. Vogel does get this nice little bit of scene setting:
As François Pinault, the luxury-goods magnate who owns Christie’s, slipped through the crowd at the end of the sale, he muttered two words: serious and solid.
Judd Tully makes this estimation of the market:
It’s safe to say that price fluctuations have probably found a foundation to build on, and if sellers are willing to put desirable property back on the market, more progress can be made.
Call it 2006 and climbing.
Bloomberg‘s Scott Reyburn offered this dealer commentary before explaining that the withdrawn lot–Basquiat’s Red Skull–was sold privately at a price above the high estimate. (Christie’s was the owner of the lot, according to Josh Baer of the Baer Faxt.)
“There was a little bit of buyer fatigue out there,” Ben Brown, a London-based dealer, said in an interview. “Maybe it’s not so good to have the last auction any more. People were a bit tired. Everything is price-sensitive at the moment. It only takes 5 percent too much on the estimate to tip it against bidders.”
Tully has some fun with Frank Auerbach:
This market is producing all sorts of new price levels, best evidenced, at least tonight, by the Frank Auerbach landscape Tree in Mornington Crescent (1991–92), which sold to London private dealer Ivor Braka for £881,250 (est. £500–700,000).
“It was up last year and bought in,” said Braka, who outbid Gilbert Lloyd of London’s Marlborough Fine Art and several other bidders, “so it was quite a bit cheaper, about half of what was expected back then. There’s now plenty of room for Auerbach’s prices to move up again.” In fact, the painting was bought in at Christie’s London in June 2007 at £950,000 (est. £1–1.5 million).
Lloyd had better luck with the second Auerbach, Head of Debbie Ratcliff II (1983–84), nabbing it for £343,250 (est. £200–300,000).