This latest post is a follow up to my colleague Daniel Schnapp’s recent post from earlier this week on last week’s London art auctions.
Last week London art auctions brought in about $440 million with international bidders not shy about snapping up various high-profile works in the high-end art market, as recently reported in this article. Two of the biggest auction houses, namely, Christie’s and Sotheby’s, had "exceptionally strong sales" in which a number of pre-sale estimates were shattered with respect to sales of impressionist, modern, and surrealist art.
Despite Europe’s economic storm, all the money out there in the art market is "very global" and the art market appears to "confound all other financial indicators," observes Judd Tully, editor-at-large of Art and Auction magazine.
One of the biggest sales at Christie’s last week was an Amedeo Modigliani 1919 portrait of his lover Jeanne Hebuterne that sold above its top estimate to an anonymous telephone bidder for $42.1 million. Christie’s impressionist and modern auctions garnered a total of $214 million.
At Sotheby’s the day before, a 1932 work by Pablo Picasso entitled "Woman Sitting Near a Window" (a portrait of Picasso’s muse, Marie-Therese Walter) was snatched up for $45 million. Sotheby’s impressionist and modern auctions brought in slightly more than Christie’s at $228 million.
Although other works by artists Egon Schiele and Claude Monet likewise commanded high prices at the recent London auctions, there were some high-profile lots that fell short of meeting their respective reserve prices.
Amidst the talk of the impressionist and modern art market fading away due to lack of material, Tully further observes that when really good works appear there seems to be "a lot of appetite" for such art.