The Art Newspaper tells us that the new Colnaghi hosted a raucous dinner for younger collectors on the night of Christie’s sale. During the meal, revelers were asked to predict what lots would sell for that night:
Drinks were liberally poured out while Jorge Coll acted as master of ceremonies for the evening. The charismatic dealer whipped up the enthused and increasingly competitive guests into a frenzy that saw some of them shrieking at the lots that sold for less than (or more than) their guesstimates.
The sales were remarkable because of the level of bidding interest on lots often estimated in the five figures that sold for six or seven-figure sums. The sell through rates were also dramatically improved at both houses as, the Telegraph’s Colin Gleadell points out:
Whereas last year 34 per cent of Sotheby’s Old Masters were unsold, this year the damage was reduced to just 17 per cent
But Gleadell goes further in his reporting. Time and again when the winner of a lot or the two bidders are revealed in Gleadell’s worthwhile recap, the figure is a stalwart of the Old Master market. Johnny van Haeften appears three times, winning once. Mark Weiss, Cliff Schorer, David Koetser and James Bruce-Gardyne all appear in the drama.
The only genuinely “young” person among the dealers is Fabrizio Moretti—hardly a new name in the Old Master market.
None of this should be taken as a complaint. The shift from trophy properties to “finds” bodes well for the category. Any excitement that gets ginned up is likely to fuel more interest. Maybe the Old Master crowd will find some celebrities to attend their auctions and fairs too.
Old Masters young guns dish out auction guesstimates (The Art Newspaper)