For setting a record last night for any auction held in London, Christie’s Impressionist and Modern sale is drawing only muted attention. Perhaps it was the orderly nature of the sale. Perhaps it was the success of artists with less broad name recognition like Juan Gris, Leger, Feininger, Le Corbusier and Schmidt-Rottluff. Or it could be a combination of the distraction of the Olympics opening in Russia and the Miró trove being pulled at the last minute by Christie’s.
Whatever it was, there wasn’t a ton of cover this morning. Katya Kazakina subbed for Scott Reyburn at Bloomberg with this quote:
“What mattered in this sale was the provenance of the works of art,” said Daniella Luxembourg, a New York- and London-based dealer who attended. “Many were not on the market for years. Whatever was fresh to the market sold very well.”
The Master, Judd Tully, spotted the buyer of the night’s leading lot by Juan Gris:
The London dealer Alexander Corcoran of Lefevre Gallery, seated in the front row of the sales room, was understood to be the buyer, with the private dealer Alexander Apsis underbidding.
Tully also kept a little score which might also show why there was a muted reaction. The sales volume was high but the price level seems to be stable on works returning to market:
Camille Pissarro’s lushly bucolic scene “La cueillette des pommes” from 1881 made £2,322,500 ($3,781,030), with an estimate of £2-£3 ($3.3-$4.9 million). It had last sold at Christie’s New York in May 2009, for $3,330,500, making for a rather lackluster financial return.
A Very Big Night at Christie’s London (Blouin Artinfo)