Malevich, Munch and Degas justified expectations

New York – On November 3, Sotheby’s finished evening sales Impressionist’s and Modern Art totaled at $223 812 500. On the one hand this figure is hardly successful: Sotheby’s managed to sell 45 from 70 presented lots and the sales did not fetch the announced $300 000 000. Nevertheless the management of the auction house is in rather positive mood. “There were many expectations concerning these sales, – the head of department of modernism and impressionism Simon Show comments. – They became the first serious test of the art market in new economic situation. And what we have seen today proves that the art market has survived”.

As it was expected three main top lots fetched more than half of a total collected sum. They are the Suprematic Composition by Kazimir Malevich, Edward Munch’s Vampire and the Dancer having a Rest by Edgar Degas.

In spite of the fact that during the auctions the prices for works were rather stable all of them justified expectations. However there is a remark – the calculated $300 000 000 was announced taking into account P. Picasso’s picture Harlequin
estimated at $30 000 000. It was put off the sales less than one week prior to their beginning.

Suprematic Composition by Malevich sold by auction for $60 002 500 showed the best result. It set up a personal record of the artist and an absolute record of Russian art. In the conditions of the most difficult economic situation it is doubtless achievement. However, according to many projections the “pre-crisis” cost for the work of such level could fetch much bigger sum.

E. Munch’s famous picture Vampire was sold for $38 162 500 (estimate: $30 000 000) which according to the vice-president of department Emmanuel Di Donna, 4 participants were trying to buy. This result also became a new record of the artist having exceeded the previous figure established by Sotheby’s only some years ago.

E. Dega’s pastel The Dancer having a Rest was sold by auction for $37 042 500 (estimate: $40 000 000).

Among the main disappointments of the auction were A. Modigliani’s both canvases The Portrait of a Man and Luis estimated at $18 000 000-25 000 000 and $7 000 000-10 000 000. Both works were not sold. The Cathedral in Fog by C. Monet estimated at $16 000 000-22 000 000 was not sold also.

Many lots were sold below their estimates. According to the co-chairman of Sotheby’s department of impressionism and modernism David Norman it can be connected with the incorrect approach to pricing. “We will correct the policy of pricing according to the statistics reviewed on the results of the last auctions in a new season”, – he informs. Norman also notices that the reduction of prices which became the general tendency at the art market affected the participants of the sales where representatives of the USA again started to dominate.


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