[intro]Howard L. Rehs on the New York Imp/Mod Sales[/intro]
The action started during the first week of November with the major fall Impressionist and Modern Art sales in New York City and the results for the good works were rather impressive … I might even use the word ‘hot’. After viewing both sales it was obvious that one room had the upper hand when it came to the Evening Sales’ offerings and the results proved this with one bringing in almost 3 times the other. What I did find very interesting was the lack of quality mid-range works – the Day Sales were filled with a lot of ‘stuff’ (much of which found buyers).
Taking top honors from these sales was Alberto Giacometti’s sculpture L’Homme qui Chavire which brought an impressive $19.35M (est. $8-$12M); coming in second was André Derain’s Barques au port de Coillioure, a beautiful Fauve period work, that made $14.1M (an auction record, est. $6-$8M – it was last on the public market in 1993 when it sold for $2.64M); and in third was Kees van Dongen’s wonderful Jeune Arabe at $13.8M (also an auction record, est. $7-$10M). Rounding out the top five were Degas’ Danseuses at $10.7M (a pastel, est. $7-$9M) and Wassily Kandinsky’s Dramatic and Mild at $10.6M (est. $6-$8M).
The Evening Sales also included other interesting works … some of which I liked and others I could have done without (but that is a personal thing). Among the more interesting were Picasso’s Buste d’Homme at $10.38M ($8-$12M est.); Pissarro’s Le Pont Boieldieu… that made $7.02M (est. $2-$3M); Sisley’s Chemin de veneux… at $2.2M (est. $1.25-$1.75M); Salvador Dalí’s Girafe en feu at $1.87M (est. $150-$200,000); and two very nice paintings of Ville d’Avray by Corot (interesting that he is now being featured in the Impressionist sales) — one bringing $482,500 (est. $300-$500,000) and the other commanding $866,500 (est. $500-$700,000) — Go Corot!
The Day Sales, which overall left a lot to be desired, also did fairly well … especially when you take into account that there was very little ‘meat’ in them. The top three works here were de Chirico’s Trovatore at $1.73M (est. $400-$600,000); Grosz’s watercolor Der neun Mensch at $1.3M (est. $300-$500,000) and Camille Claudel’s La Valse at $932,500 (est. $300-$500,000).
In the end, the two Evening Sales brought in a combined total of $247.5M ($181.8M for one room and $65.7M for the other) with 106 lots offered and 84 sold for a sell-through rate of 79%. The Day Sales brought in a combined total of $53.6M with 451 works offered and 341 sold for a sell-through rate of 75.6%. Now let’s compare the overall totals to 2008 and 2007:
2009 – 557 lots offered, 425 lots sold, sell-through rate of 76% and a grand total of $301.1M
2008 – 941 lots offered, 506 lots sold, sell-through rate of 54% and a grand total of $417.6M
2007 – 750 lots offered, 565 lots sold, sell-through rate of 75% and a grand total of $804M
Here are some additional ‘fun facts’ to consider – the most expensive works & their percentage of the sale:
2009 – Giacometti – $19.35M (6.4% of combined total)
2008 – Malevich – $60M (14.4% of combined total)
2007 – Gauguin – $39.2M (4.8% of combined total)
With strong prices for the great works and better sell-through rates, the Impressionist market is making a nice recovery. As I have been saying, smaller and stronger sales are the way to go!