Scott Reyburn tries to sum up the London sales on Bloomberg with these chastened comments from dealers and auction house representatives who are trying to make sense of the mixed sales.
- “The auction houses had talked themselves into getting higher and higher prices,” Richard Nagy, a London-based dealer, said in an interview. “They need to be less excitable about their estimates.” […] “All those top pieces were sophisticated and needed knowledge,” Nagy said of the big-ticket Impressionist works. “If the Monet had been priced at 15 million pounds to 25 million pounds, it might have made 30 million.”
- “These people know how to look after their money,” Alan Hobart, director of the London-based Pyms Gallery, said. “If they sense the market isn’t what they’ve been led to believe, they’ll sit back and wait.” […] “The mood has changed,” Hobart said. “At the beginning of May, people thought the banking crisis was behind us. Then the sovereign-debt problems hit. That’s where the problem is. The markets are very unstable at the moment.”
- “In May there seemed to be strength of demand across all artists and all quality categories,” Francis Outred, Christie’s European head of contemporary art, said in an interview. “The estimates got ahead of themselves. The market is still moving in the right direction. From now on we have to exercise discretion.”
- “A lot of people thought the market was back. It isn’t yet,” said Anthony McNerney, managing director at the London- based gallery, Ben Brown Fine Arts, and a former contemporary- art specialist at Phillips de Pury. “Buyers are very sensitive to price. The auction houses need to be careful and keep their sales tight.”
Greedy Auction Sellers Endanger Fragile Price Recovery, Art Dealers Warn (Bloomberg)