Sotheby’s hybrid Evening sale of small works and Impressionist and Modern masterworks was an uneven success with some real surprises as the two sales tallied £127.9m for the Impressionist and Modern sale + £20.9m for Actual Size, the small works sale or £148.9m ($187.7m) combined. On a hammer basis, Actual Size failed to reach the low estimate while the Impressionist and Modern sale just reached the low estimate. The sell-through rates were 65% and 74% respectively for Actual Size and the Imp-Mod sale.
These numbers may reflect the state of estimates—especially when they are undergirded by actual buyers who took positions pre-sale with irrevocable bides—which are quite high and require a fair bit of work for the specialists to rally bidding interest. With estimates peaking, there are two likely outcomes for the category (Impressionist and Modern works, not small ones.) Continue Reading