The art market media has intensified its focus on the resale value of Impressionist and Modern art this week with Christie’s evening sale provoking much market measuring.
Judd Tully has the story on the sale’s most expensive lot, a Kandinsky, including a tantalizing comment from the buyer’s representative:
“Studie zu Improvisation 3” (1909) […] sold to seasoned Zurich dealer Beda Jedlicka of J&P Fine Art for £13,501875 ($21,157,438) (est. £12-16 million). […] The Nahmads acquired the exceptionally rare Kandinsky, depicting a figure mounted on a turquoise-colored horse, at Christie’s New York back in November 2008 for $16,882,500, precisely at the moment the art market crashed in the wake of the world financial crisis. “My client is too young to remember those days,” said Jedlicka as he exited the salesroom. “The world has changed and the market is hot now.”
Carol Vogel begins with Modigliani’s portrait of Paul Guillaume and follows with a late Picasso:
A familiar image to seasoned auction goers, the painting had been at auction three times in 17 years, first at Christie’s in 1996, when the Las Vegas casino owner Stephen A. Wynn bought it for $3.4 million, and then at Sotheby’s in New York in 2000 for $4.6 million. In 2006 the Nahmads bought it for $4.8 million, just below its $5 million low estimate. This time around Christie’s had expected it to bring $7.6 million to $11 million. Representatives from the Hammer Galleries in New York bought it for $10.6 million.
“Femme Assise dans un Fauteuil,’’ a 1960 portrait of the artist’s wife Jacqueline Roque was expected to fetch $6.1 million to $9 million. It had last been on the market at Sotheby’s in New York in 2006 where it sold for $6.7 million. John Lumley, vice-chairman of Christie’s in Europe, could be seen bidding on behalf of the New York dealer William Acquavella who ended up paying $9.5 million for the painting.
Mary Lane points to the market support of Chinese buyers:
Asian collectors once again showed up in force at the sale, buoying bidding for several midrange works by Picasso and others. A Chinese-speaking telephone bidder won a 1970 work on paper by Pablo Picasso for $755,000. The same bidder also won a 1943 Giorgio Morandi oil painting of several jugs for $1 million.
Jay Vincze, head of the Impressionist and Modern department in London, hailed the extremely healthy Asian participation. “We’re not talking hundreds of Asian people, but season after season the incremental increase in interest has been huge,”he said.
Christie’s London Auction Brings Modest Art and Modest Sales (Arts Beat/NYTimes)
Christie’s Sale is Solid, Lacks Sizzle (Wall Street Journal)