Kelly Crow brings up some interesting market history when she notices that all three auction houses have works by Miquel Barcelo on offer. But the one at Phillips was part of the brief frenzy of Barcelo bullfight buying that took place several years ago. (Click here to read a detailed narration of that market run.) One reason those sales petered out was the lack of supply in the market. So Phillips estimate strategy here may be less about a market retreat than trying to rekindle the market frenzy:
Five years ago, collectors were paying as much as $6.3 million for works from this series, but the houses are asking far less now: Phillips wants at least $3.1 million for this 1990 work that its seller won at Sotheby’s for $3.7 million six years ago. For its part, Sotheby’s is asking at least $621,800 for Mr. Barceló’s 1990 “In the Middle,” and Christie’s expects its “Chest-level Pass,” from the same year, to sell for at least $1.2 million.