Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sotheby's Impressionist & Modern Art auction

A portrait of his mystifying mistress by Picasso done in 1932 went for about $41.5 million at Sotheby's, helping reach a total of $163 million for its latest sale of ‘Impressionist & Modern Art’. It fell short of market expectations, nonetheless. Here’s a quick recap of the even as reported by the news agency ‘Reuters’

Picasso in spotlight
The auction featured nine works by Picasso led by ‘Nature morte aux tulipes’. Nearly one-third of the total 67 lots on offer were unsold. The auction missed its $170 million low pre-sale estimate. The two portraits of his iconic muse Marie-Therese Walter done by Picasso, ‘Femme a la Fenetre’ and ‘Nature morte’, managed their pre-sale estimates. The former fetched $17.2 million including commission.

Another Picasso, ‘Femme a la robe verte’, estimated at $6- $8 million, went unsold. While several artworks went within their estimated range and a few going significantly higher, there were casualties including another Picasso work, ‘Plant de tomate’, estimated at $10- $15 million. It couldn’t reach a $9 million bid. However, strong prices were recorded by his ‘Le Viol’ that soared to an impressive $13.5 million against an estimate range of $5 million, and ‘Champ de ble’ by Monet that went for nearly double the original estimate.
'Market in search of quality'
The sale demonstrated "that in this market there continues to be a search for quality," said Simon Shaw, Sotheby's head of Impressionist and modern art in New York, adding there was "active participation from today's truly global art market," but in a nod to the spotty results, conceded "there remains some scrutiny over estimates." David Norman, Sotheby's co-chairman of Impressionist and modern art, cited "increasing participation from South American, Asian and Russian bidders" that marked the sale.

The auction, coming a day after a rather affair at rival Christie's, is likely to slightly unsettle the art market to ahead of upcoming sales of post-war and contemporary art, a segment that has seen sharply escalating prices over the last decade or so. The results of both prominent sales were quite similar, from the their top lots' prices and percentage of artworks sold to buyers' rather carefully controlled bidding.

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