The Art Newspaper‘s John Varoli did a little reporting on the Russian art market after last month’s sales. He found a universal sigh of relief and a little finger-pointing aimed at Sotheby’s for making the sales seem weaker than they might have been:
- “After the Sotheby’s evening sale, we noticed that potential buyers became nervous, and some people interested in our sales suddenly withdrew their bids,” said Catherine MacDougall, co-director of rival auction house MacDougall’s. “Sotheby’s made the mistake of having a three-hour imperial heirlooms sale followed immediately by the paintings evening sale. By the time the paintings started, it was midnight in Moscow, and rich Russians aren’t the type of people who like to be kept waiting,” she said, adding: “Had Sotheby’s sale been the next day, then results would’ve been much better for them, and for the other auction houses.”
- Now, said London-based Russian art dealer James Butterwick, “consolidation, improvement and optimism are the best way to describe the situation on the market.”
- “Ukrainian buyers often take home top lots, those with excellent provenance and quality, but are more cautious about the mid-market,” said Sergei Tabalov, owner of the Kiev auction house, Art Kapital, adding that he bought some imperial heirlooms, icons and paintings for clients.
- “The worse is definitely behind us,” said Ivan Samarine, a London-based Russian art dealer. “The problem in the first half of this year was not that the market collapsed; rather it froze as sellers didn’t want to sell at lower prices, and buyers didn’t want to buy until prices stabilised.”
Russian sales in London show increasing market confidence (The Art Newspaper)