Kelly Crow quotes Christie’s CEO Steven Murphy about his marquee Contemporary art sale:
“There are still valuable works in the marketplace right now,” Mr. Murphy said, “and clearly the market wants them.”
Now, that’s the sort of anodyne quote that CEOs are supposed to make. But within those words there’s an interesting take on tonight’s sale. The big 8-figure works were largely absent from the sale. Trophies were not traded with glee. Instead, the real competition was over lots often estimated in the six-figure range even if everyone knew those estimates were advertisements.
One might re-write Murphy to more accurately reflect his sale by saying “There are still valuable works in the marketplace—but their value is calculated at a lower level—and clearly the market wants those works.”
Brett Gorvy, the man who organized the sale and was gleefully anticipating his compensation from the $43m Lichtenstein, told Carol Vogel that the bidding was “sensible:”
adding that “the top collectors around the world were present and bidding for things that they could see were once-in-a-lifetime purchases. These were serious collectors, not new-world buyers.”
Christie’s Sale Crackles with $43.2 Million Lichtenstein (Wall Street Journal)