There’s a lot of talk about this being a masterpiece market. Certainly, there are many masterpieces around this season but there are also some works that were highly prized at the height of the boom that have come back on the block.
Sotheby’s has this Matisse, Matisse, Danseuse Dans le Fauteuil, sol en damier, estimated at between $12 and $18 million, that is both guaranteed by a third party and has an “irrevocable bid.” The auction house doesn’t reveal the levels of those financial incentives but it seems reasonable to use the lower end of the estimate range as a guide.
If that’s true, someone has guaranteed a sale for the work at just above half of the previous selling price because distinctive work was sold at Sotheby’s in London just 3 and 1/2 years ago for £10.9m. At today’s exchange rate, the price would be close to $17.33m or near the top of the estimate range.
There’s no telling where the 2007 buyer is domiciled. It could be the UK. Or it could be somewhere else. But the transaction, no doubt, hopes to take advantage of the weaker pound by selling in the US to help the owner to have hopes of getting out whole.