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What did we just see happen at Christie's last night? On the face of it, we're hearing that the 'market is back,' as Christie's Contemporary art head Francis Outred was quoted as saying in The Art Newspaper.
The big sale of Peter Doig's Coburg 3 + 1 More from 1994 for £12.7m was the only significant work from the top works on offer that would have been a familiar market star in the last five years. (The sale was helped by the consignor having bought the work very early in the artist's market for spectacular returns.)
If the market were back, we'd see Warhol, Richter, Bacon and Koons dominating the sale results. Yes. There was Rothko that sold last night but no one thinks that painting reached its full market potential with the baggage it carried around.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing. And there were hints in the sale that the artists with long art historical and market records, like Calder and Dubuffet, may be value plays.
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