But who was that couple that bid up—and bought—three of the most sought after works of the week?This commentary by Marion Maneker is available to AMMpro subscribers. (The first month of AMMpro is free and subscribers are welcome to sign up for the first month and cancel before they are billed.) There was a lot of talk surrounding the London Impressionist, Modern and Surrealism sales about two unexpected factors. One was predominant importance of Magritte in the current market for works of Surrealism—we told you last week about the collector who has been living on a plane these last two weeks who called Magritte the new Warhol—and the other was the visible presence of Japanese underbidders, something the Impressionist and Modern market has not seen in some time. The Financial Times’s Melanie Gerlis picked up on the first point:
This week’s Impressionist, Modern and Surrealist auctions in London should have belonged to Monet but instead were dominated by Magritte. A total of 11 works by the Belgian surrealist all sold across two evenings, including L’étoile du matin (1938) for £4.5m (£5.3m with fees, Sotheby’s) and Le lieu commun (1964) for £16m (£18.4m with fees) among a strong selection at Christie’s.The Art Newspaper’s Anny Shaw was quick to extend this point in her dispatch from the Sotheby’s Evening sales on Tuesday:
Despite much talk of the concurrent slowdown of the Chinese economy, Asian buying was strong and auctioneer Helena Newman spoke after the sale of “Pan-Asian bidding” with active buying from Taiwan and Japan, alongside China. Indeed, the poster lot—Monet’s view of Le Palais Ducal (1908)—was underbid by a Japanese bidder.This is something former Sotheby’s specialist Melanie Clore tried to explain to Colin Gleadell in the aftermath of Sotheby’s well-managed sale:
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