This detailed analysis of the composition of the November Impressionist and Modern Evening sales was provided by our friends at Pi-eX. It is available to AMMpro subscribers. Subscriptions begin with a free month for the curious.
Earlier this week, we remarked upon the diverging strategies in the Impressionist and Modern market taken by Christie’s and Sotheby’s this November. Our friends at Pi-eX created chart of the last 11 years of November Evening sales in the Imp-Mod category for each house.
The results are revealing. For the last three years, Christie’s has relied upon Picasso and Monet as the bedrock of their sales. Last year, the much larger sale had greater contributions from van Gogh and Léger among other artists. But Picasso and Monet were consistent contributors. Monet’s dollar volume rose and fell over those three years expanding in ’16 and ’18 when the sales levels were comparable. Picasso’s dollar volume at Christie’s has grown each November from 2014 to present.
Sotheby’s took the radical step of only including one Picasso work in the evening sale. But this was not always the case.
Here is Christie’s 11-year Imp-Mod Evening sale composition by artist.
Sotheby’s from 2012 to 2015 did significantly more dollar volume in Picasso than Christie’s in that period. Since 2016, the artist who dominates the market has been slowly diminished in Sotheby’s Evening sales in November until this week when he was replaced with a broad base of other artists.
Looking at times when that pattern prevailed, we can see that both Sotheby’s and Christie’s maxxed out in 2007 when the Imp-Mod market peaked before the financial crisis.