The mood was high at Christie’s last night after the total haul for the evening’s Impressionist & Modern and Surreal auctions—£136.9m with fees and a high combined sell through rate of 92%—showed a 45% increase on results this time last year.That doesn't mean the market always goes up, either. The current fixation among journalists is indulging in schadenfreude over Dimitry Rybolovlev's losses. In the US, Rybolovlev is increasingly brought up with questions about his ties to US President Donald Trump and the nature of his business transactions with real estate developer. At some point, that notoriety may finally push down the interest in his having been taken advantage of by his sometime art advisor, Yves Bouvier. Furthermore, one would expect the intense interest in Rybolovlev's $100+m in losses to be trotted out as a signal of the art market's softness. One can almost write the headlines in one's head: Art sales off by 40%; Rybolovlev loses 74% on his masterpiece! But that didn't happen. The press and the art market seem to have cordoned off the Bouvier-Rybolovlev scandal into its own somewhat airless universe.
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