This look at the June Impressionist and Modern Evening sale performance is available to AMMpro subscribers. Subscribers get the first month free on monthly subscriptions. Feel free to cancel at any time before the month is up. Sign up for AMMpro here.
The Wall Street Journal is struggling to make sense of the Impressionist and Modern art market based upon last week’s results in London. Mistakenly lumping the Imp-Mod market in with a trend in the Contemporary market, the Journal concludes that there’s a shift to the middle market.
But that’s not what’s been going on in this category where the top of the market concentrates value and the middling works are seeing price erosion. Last week in London, the sales saw isolated cases of aggressive bidding around a few high-quality works that were not at the top of the price scale. That doesn’t mean the Imp-Mod category is shifting toward the middle market.
The Monet market is a case in point. There were a number of Monet works on offer in London last week. The top lot was a rare work from the Gare Saint-Lazare series which sold for almost exactly the same price as another one of those works that was in the Rockefeller estate. Many observers were surprised to see both of the examples sell on few bids for a $32.8m price that seemed like a bargain. We’ll have more details on the Monet market for AMMpro subscribers later this week. But four of the middle market Monets in the Evening sales failed to find buyers at the prices offered.
The WSJ reveals that one of the lesser Monet works that did sell last week was bought by an investor hoping to make the work available to fractional investors:
For New York collector Scott Lynn, last week offered savvy buyers a chance to snag a bargain. Mr. Lynn said his new art-investing firm, Masterworks, had been prepared to pay Christie’s as much as $8.5 million for an 1881 Monet coastline scene, “Gust of Wind.” The firm wound up winning it for $6.2 million, an “unexpectedly great deal,” he said. Masterworks now aims to sell shares in this and other artworks in its collection.