At the dawn of a newlook auction season where Sotheby’s will get the Impressionist and Modern spotlight all to itself with a strong sale of four major collections, both auction houses are talking up the truly global competition that this likely to drive prices. Sotheby’s is selling Monet and Van Gogh; Christie’s has Mondrian and Monet.
Both houses are focused on pitting global billionaires against European and American grandees. Reminding everyone, along the way, that the new passion for museum building means every buying opportunity might be the last one:
“The high prices we see are a reflection of both rarity and surging demand,” said Jussi Pylkkanen, Christie’s global president. “Asian collectors have been increasingly active lately, bringing a new competitive dynamic, especially when it comes to top-quality masterpieces.”
“The supply of strong examples remaining in private hands is shrinking fast,” said Simon Shaw, worldwide co-head of Impressionist art at Sotheby’s, speaking in particular of the auction house’s Monet offerings.”The result is fierce competition that leads to the results we have witnessed recently,” he added.