The February sales of Impressionist and Modern art in London saw a decrease of one third from the previous year—the combined Evening and Day, which came to £207.5m were down 30% from the £298m total achieved in February 2019. The season’s top lots were by Magritte and Łempicka reflecting market growth around a reinvigorated demand for Surrealism and works made in the 1920s-1930s. The surge in prices for these two artists suggest that works from this period are beginning to see valuations closer to works from the Impressionist and Modern periods. Still, the Evening sale lots in 2020 had a lower average price in comparison to last year’s equivalent sale.
Continuing a trend seen in New York's Impressionist and Modern sales last November, the Day sales of Impressionist and Modern art were much stronger than in the past with solid bidding and rising prices for lower value lots.
Across the February Evening and Day sales, only four lots were sold for prices above £10m. In last year’s February London sales, a total of seven lots sold above £10m, marking a decline in the overall combined value of the top lots. In February 2019, the top ten lots totaled £109.6m; in 2020, that figure is £96.5m. In 2019, the top ten lots in the Evening sales accounted for 59% of the Evening sales' total; in 2020, that share rose by 3% to 62%. The strength of the sales came in their stronger sell-through rates and better hammer ratios.
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