Colin Gleadell does a little price comparison on last week’s Impressionist and Modern works and finds some unexpected winners and losers:
The sellers of these two sculptures [the $11.8m Rodin Thinker and the $4.2m Noguchi] did well, having bought the Rodin last year at a Paris sale $3.6 million, and the Noguchi in Philadelphia three years ago for $153,000.
Going from $153,000 to $4.2m in three years is an impressive return.
But such rewards are the result of opportunistic buying, not a reflection of general price movements, which vary. Some works, such as a Giacometti bronze cat that was unsold last year with a $16 million estimate, have gone up. A cat from the same edition sold for $20.8 million last week. But a dull Monet street scene, which had fetched $2.8 million 10 years ago, now sold for just $2.3 million. A Chagall still life, costing $3.6 million two years ago, returned for just $2.4 million. Still, most works bought between three and 10 years ago that sold last week saw a reasonable return.