This commentary on the London Contemporary sales from June 2017 is available to AMMpro subscribers. Monthly subscriptions come with a free first month grace period. Subscribers are welcome to sign up for the service and cancel at any time before they are billed.
Christie's decision not to hold a Contemporary art cycle in London during the first few days of Summer somewhat changes the composition of the sales just by the absence of such a large player in the art market and, especially, in the Contemporary market. Even with this proviso, the sales were characterized by the absence of a dominating story. There was no outsized sale, no dominant artist, no trend in pricing or advances.
The combined sales at Sotheby's, Phillips and Bonhams totaled £114m with 392 lots sold against 470 lots offered (another 19 lots were withdrawn before the sales which may be its own story) for a strong sell-through rate of 83%. Of the sold lots, nearly 37% made prices above the estimates; 40.5% sold within the estimate range; and, 22.7% sold at compromise prices below the low estimate.
What do those numbers suggest? Although the London sales had few very high value lots—the highest price for the week was less than $9m—the bidding and buying was healthy, active and somewhat aggressive. This lends further credence to the evidence of the last few years in the art market that buyers have shifted toward lower price points looking for either undervalued historical masters or interesting examples of established artists' work that has been overlooked the market.
Sign up to Art Market Monitor Premium today
You need a membership to AMMpro to view this article and other exclusive content daily.
You can register today for $90 per month—with your first month free!—or for $756 per year (no free trial period.)
If you already have an account, sign in here: