Georgina Adam gives some good reasons for the weak performance of the Impressionist and Modern stars in London last week:
The poor performance of the Picasso was the greatest surprise, but some dealers thought that the subject – a man – prevented it from doing better. In Picasso’s oeuvre, sensual portraits of women, particularly Marie-Thérèse Walter, are by far the most sought after. The Monet, according to one dealer, was “too expensive” and not entirely fresh to the market, and there were some issues with its condition. “When you are spending that sort of money, you want the painting to be absolutely perfect,” said another dealer. As for the rare and historically important Manet, this was widely pronounced to be a “museum picture” with less appeal to the private collector.
The Art Market: Picasso and Monet Fall Short (Financial Times)