Sotheby’s very strong sale of Impressionist and Modern art last night, the second highest total achieved at the house in London, might have been even stronger had a few of the top lots taken off. Part of the problem may be guarantee-fatigue. Here’s what Daniela Luxembourg told Melanie Gerlis about the restituted Malevich:
Dealers said that its third-party guarantee may have been a deterrent. “The market doesn’t like guarantees,” Daniella Luxembourg said after the auction, though she described the evening sale as “very good” overall.
Former Sotheby’s Imp-Mod deal-maker, Emmanuel DiDonna chimed in:
“Not everyone likes to bid against the guarantee,” said New York-based art dealer Emmanuel Di Donna. “It means that the works are kind of presold.”
Judd Tully included his own list of works that were poised for take off but may have been held back by a third-party guarantee:
One of the evening’s main attractions came up early: Edouard Manet’s iconic “Le Bar aux Folies-Bergère” from 1881, an early and smaller version of the grand “Le Bar aux Folies-Bergère” of 1882 that resides at the Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery in London. It sold to a telephone bidder for £16,949,000/$26,767,556 (est. £15–20 million). […] Despite the pre-sale hoopla, the painting didn’t ignite the salesroom or the telephones and hammered at £15 million, right at the low estimate.
Another irrevocable bid was arranged for Paul Gauguin’s sensuous, 12 by 18 5/8 inch still life from Tahiti, “Nature morte aux mangos” circa 1891-96, which realized £11,573,000/$18,277,239 (est. £10–15 million). […] It last sold at Sotheby’s London in June 2005 for £3,592,000.
Sculpture played a starring role in the evening’s offerings as Edgar Degas’s scrawny dancer, “Petite danseuse de quatorze ans” — a bronze created posthumously from the circa 1879–81 wax model retrieved form the artist’s studio, complete with muslin skirt and satin hair bow — sold to an otherwise unidentified woman seated in the fourth row of the salesroom for £15,829,000/$24,998,740 (est. £10–15 million).
Restituted works help Sotheby’s lead the way in London sales (The Art Newspaper)
Klimt, Malevich, Manet Lead Sotheby’s $280 Million Sale (Bloomberg Business)
Klimt Leads Sotheby’s Trophy Hunters’ Night (BLOUIN ARTINFO)