The Acquavella gallery show of Joan Miró’s Constellations closed on Friday leaving the owners of one of the handful of works from the series in private hands free to announce a sale. The consignment is with Sotheby’s and the estimate is upon request but understood by the trade to be $30m. That’s a lot of money for a small work on paper.
Nonetheless, previous sales of Miró’s constellations have been equally pricey when adjusted for time and markets. In 1995, one of the Constellations made $4.7m above a $3m high estimate. The last public sale of a constellation was in 2001 from one of the Stanley Seeger sales when Nocturne sold for $5.6m above a $3.5m high estimate.
Another Miró work on paper of a similar size from 1940, Le Coq, made $13.1m in 2007.
So, if $30m is the asking price, there’s more than a good chance that someone will offer an Irrevocable Bid at that price. Could a bidder come in above that? Possibly. But such is the state of the art market these days that we’re likely to see (or not see since it will take place in private) the negotiation for sale of the painting during the coming weeks as the IB is worked out. Someone owes Acquavella a commission.