Photo: Courtesy Christie’s
It’s a huge week in the art auction world in New York, with both Christie’s and Sotheby’s holding major sales of impressionist and modern art.But things got off to a rough start last night, when Christie’s evening sale yielded disappointing results and failed to attract bidders on important pieces by Degas and Picasso, among others.
The sale, which was expected to bring in between $212 million and $304 million, brought in just $140.8 million.
It was the lowest sales total in two years, according to Businessweek.
Fine art sales have taken a hit due to financial turmoil around the globe. Experts who spoke to Businessweek didn’t blame the markets, but said the pre-sale estimates were far too aggressive.
Sotheby’s rival sale takes place tonight.
First, what didn't sell. The highlight of the night, a sculpture of a dancer by Edgar Degas that was expected to go for between $25 and $35 million, didn't find a buyer.
And no one even bid on this 1935 portrait of Pablo Picasso's lover Marie-Therese Walter, which was estimated to sell for between $12 and $18 million.
Henri Matisse's painting of a woman in a purple robe, whose pre-sale estimate was $4 to $6 million, also did not sell.
Nor did Alberto Giacometti's 'Femme de Venise VII,' which had a pre-sale estimate of $10 to $15 million.
There were, however, a few successes. The biggest sale of the night was a Surrealist piece by Max Ernst that sold to a European buyer for $16.3 million, more than twice it's pre-sale high estimate of $6 million.
Constantin Brancusi's bronze egg sculpture also sold to a European collector for $14.9 million, far above it's pre-sale high estimate of $10 million.
This Picasso print sold for $5.1 million, more than twice its pre-sale high estimate. It broke a record for the most expensive print ever sold at auction.
And a trio of statues from the estate of billionaire John Kluge went for $3.4 million, within their pre-sale estimate of $2.5 to $3.6 million.
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