In May of this year, the total was a respectable $289 million, but the same sale a year ago netted just $165 millionLast night, Christie's came terribly close to matching that record sale mostly without the kind of tense bidding that has punctuated some of it's bigger successes. The Bass van Gogh, like the sale itself, came close to matching the record price paid for a van Gogh 30 years ago. (Adjusting for inflation means the two sales are hardly comparable.) But everything about Christie's sale was quieter, more business-like and efficiently buttoned up. This is what at least one dealer told Robin Pogrebin and Scott Reyburn of the New York Times:
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