Yesterday this Lyonel Feininger work sold for $3m, far above its day sale estimate. The outlying event led us to seek some expert opinion:
A 1950s Feininger oil for $600,000 is already a lot of money. But some people these days buy “image driven” not data driven. As the picture looks in style like a Feininger from his earlier architectural, prismatic period, somebody might have felt OK to pay as much for a 1950s oil as one would expect to get for an important oil from the 1910 years. The price today has nothing to do with the real evaluation of the picture.
My theory is that there is a difference between buyers in the Day sale and in the Evening sale. In the Day sale there can be less experienced, very affluent buyers who are tempted by the lower estimates and the less threatening Day sale context. And if they like something, they just go for it as the money is available and they bid till they get. And this might have happened today with the Feininger.
Something similar happened at the print sale in NY at Christie’s last October with Odilon Redon.