Impressionists at a discount

J. Gris. The book, pipe and glasses. 1915. Oil on canvas. Lot sold for $20 802 500. Christie’s. Impressionists and Modern. November 6

New York – On November 6, 46 works of impressionism and modernism were sold at Evening Sales at Christie’s Impressionists and Modern. The results are hardly satisfactory: the total number of lots exposed on the auctions was 85, and total $146 715 000 are below calculated $250 000 000.

The lowest results were at an average price segment affected by financial crisis most of al. Top lots, on the contrary were in great demand though many of them were sold more cheaply than the estimate.

The work Book, Pipe and Glasses by Spanish cubist Juan Gris (1887−1927) was sold by auction with the highest result for $20 802 500. The picture was of great interest among participants of the auctions therefore the total cost essentially exceeded the estimate ($12 500 000 − $18 500 000).

Potential top lot – Pablo Picasso’s picture Two Figures. Maria-Teresa and her Reading Sister was only on the second place. The lot was sold for $18 002 500, hardly exceeded the estimate.

The Sketch to Improvisation №3 by Vasily Kandinsky was sold for $16 882 500 (estimate: $15 000 000–20 000 000).
Not so long ago the reduction of an estimate at auctions of the leading auction houses of the world was nonsense or just impossible. In the conditions of great demand and transcendental estimates auctioneers preferred not to sell a lot at all than to put it at a discount. Today the situation has changed, and Christie’s is to make concessions.

Bronze sculpture Three Walking Persons by Alberto Giacometti was sold for $11 506 500 (estimate: $14 000 000–18 000 000). Pablo Picasso’s picture Mandolin at a Table was sold by auction for $3 100 000 having saved almost $400 000 for new owner.

The sales with reduction of estimates became the standard practice for two last months. Today collectors are not so ready to buy at any cost, presenting the auctioneer with a fait accompli: either to yield or “to hold your ground”. From the point of view of the seller the tendency certainly is sad. The situation for buyer is different–he received a great opportunity to save on art a lot.

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Published in: on January 14, 2009 at 12:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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