Christie's Impressionist and Modern Evening sale performed impressively last night pulling in numbers that bring it quite close to last year's peak effort. These charts show just how strong the Impressionist and Modern market is in relation to the regularly scheduled sales of the last 13 years.
One reason the sales have observers yawning is not the quality of the material or the bidding but the level of estimates that no longer seem anything but quite daunting. The sales showed that there is a new level of volatility in the Impressionist and Modern market with a number of important works either not keeping up with inflation or not advancing over the nominal price paid sometimes decades ago.
Even though that is usually a reflection of the high price paid for the work originally, it does take some of the excitement out of the market not to see value advance. Nonetheless, Impressionist and Modern works of the first order tend to retain value of some kind as the $399m overall result at Christie's Evening sale showed with the bulk of the sale made up of works from seasoned collectors.
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