Through Art Market & You, Art From Us provides you with Analysis, Opinion and Factual Reports regarding the current on-goings of the Global Art Market. In this article, we look at the New York Fall Auction 2018.
Anticipation in the Auction Room
2018 has been a monumental year for the world of art. Just in the past few months we witnessed the Bansky shredding as well as the record-breaking sale of AI art. And now, as the year draws to a close, we return to the auction room one more time.
Early November, social media and art journals were abuzz. Because news that Claude Monet’s iconic Le bassin aux nymphéas (1917–19) was slated for sale at Christie’s had everyone excited. The painting, now in its centenarian year, was back on the auction block after 18 years. The last time it sold at Christie’s New York in 2000 for $6.8 million. 2 years after that, it sold privately at Acquavella Galleries to its present consignor. Furthermore, the work traveled through numerous prestigious collections and exhibitions.
Monet’s Nymphéas while exciting was only a tip of the ice burg among the star studded lots lined up for the Impressionist and Modern sales at both Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
New York Fall Auction 2018 : Impressionist & Modern Evening Sale
The evening of Christie’s sale on November 12 was less than successful. Monet’s Nymphéas crawled past its pre-sale estimate to $30-50 million, achieving $31.8 million (including buyer’s premium).
The entire sale earned $279.3 million, short of its $304.7 million estimate, with many lots going unsold.
Even over at Sotheby’s, many of the star lots of from the Impressionist and Modern sale were left without buyers.
Market Impact : The Weary Art Buyer
The art market is superstitious and sensitive to even the slightest discrepancy. While both sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s may be considered as average to successful overall, unsold lots are considered a bad omen in the auction room. As Tim Schneider from artnet news writes of the Sotheby’s sale :
“Ultimately, 10 of the evening’s final 16 lots were left at the altar—a run that made the auction feel as though it were limping toward the finish line, despite the respectable total sales value attained.”
Such situations often leave art collectors unsure, weary and unwillingly to open their wallets.
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