This report on the Sotheby's Rembrandt to Richter sale in July 2020 by Colin Gleadell features important details on buyers, consignors and drinking habits of art dealers which may have had an impact on the outcome of the sales. You won't find information like the consignor of $61.3 million worth of Modern art and the sellers of a Warhol diamond dust shadow painting anywhere else. The report 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.)
Sotheby’s July 28th cross-disciplinary sale of Old Masters, 19th Century, Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary art, Rembrandt to Richter, contributed £149.7 million pounds to the season’s total ameliorating the much-circulated 49% drop in year-over-year sales calculated by Arttactic (which ended the first half of the year on July 10th even with this last sale scheduled for the end of the month.)
Sotheby’s sale had been estimated to add between £108.2 million and £155.5 million for 65 lots after six lots, with a combined low estimate of £20.6 million, were withdrawn. (Prices include the buyers’ premium, estimates do not.)
Withdrawals have been a common feature of sales since March when lots without presale interest, are pulled at the last hour. This time it affected a none-too-fluid Frans Hals at £2/3 million; a late Portrait of John Edwards by Francis Bacon at an optimistic £12/18 million; an ostensibly very rare Verrocchio drawing; and a potentially record busting Orientalist painting by Gustav Bauernfeind (about which more below).
The TV spectacular sale staged by Patrick Drahi’s Sotheby’s (it is said by a designer from BBCTV’s Strictly Come Dancing) will not be going away after the pandemic subsides. That doesn’t mean live attendees won’t return to the events as they did this week. In another room from the auctioneer’s stage set, London dealer, Thomas Gibson, who was one and underbid a romantic 1928 gouache by Chagall that sold for a double estimate £1.9 million ($2.5 million), sat in “a room full of small thé dansant tables with elaborate flower arrangements and an endless supply of champagne and of really quite good wines” which may have helped that Chagall on its way a bit.
Old Master and 19th Century
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