This recap of Christie's London PWC evening sale is available to AMMpro subscribers. Monthly subscriptions begin with the first month free. Feel free to subscribe and cancel before you are billed.
The London PWC sale held on the eve major art fairs in New York and Maastricht was scheduled by Christie's in its long-term effort to remake the sales calendar that includes eliminating the June sales of Contemporary art in London. That means last night's total of £137m, which the auction house was quick to tell viewers of the post-sale press conference was up 43% over the previous year and a record total for London beating the June 2012 Evening sale that made £132m, will be the only major sale in London for the first half of the year. With so much riding on the event (and so much seemingly achieved) one would have thought the evening would have had more energy, something Colin Gleadell remarked upon in his report on Artnet:
The result was a solid, though not stunning, £137.5 million ($190 million), with seventeen of the lots selling above estimates and only four lots unsold. This now rates as the highest total for any postwar and contemporary art sale in Europe—even if, at times, it didn’t feel like it.
There are a number of reasons why the very successful sale—Christie's sold 60 out of 65 lots for a 92% sell-through rate—seemed to lack energy but the primary one seems to be that the top of the market lacks energy. At another time we will discuss the rising pressure from the middle market but, for now, let's just accept that six of the ten top lots in the sale made numbers that were either pre-ordained by outside arrangements, near the low estimate or at prices that made little forward advance on resales.
There was also Christie's curious choice to open the sale with a series of photographs and a Lalanne desk which also struck Gleadell:
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: