The star lot of Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern sale—Picasso’s painting of his mistress Marie-Therese Walter—last night failed to impress the man who is currently making the most of the Picasso market. Speaking to Judd Tully, Larry Gagosian gave Sotheby’s a short, sharp rap on the knuckles for messing around in his bailiwick:
“They got lucky, I think,” he said, “and I’m glad they sold it.”
The buyer was identified by observers as a casually dressed Chinese man who was set upon by handlers from Sotheby’s soon after the sale ended but not before he had picked up another item, according to Tully:
The Asian buyer, bidding on the aisle with a cell phone glued to his ear, found another bargain later in the evening, nabbing Camille Pissarro‘s “L’Hermitage en Ete, Pontoise,” a prime Impressionist work from 1877, for $4,282,500 (est. $4-6 million). It was last offered at Christie’s London in December 1999, when it was bought in against a presale estimate of £1.5-2 million.