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February 06, 2008

24% goes unsold at Christies Impressionist & Modern Sale in London

This Blog is starting to sound like a bad country western song... If it weren't for bad news there would be no news at all.

Basquiat_palm_springs_jump_1982 So it sounds like even with the strong British Pound and the even stronger Euro.. people still didn't buy at this weeks Christies big Impressionist and modern Art sale.  24% went unsold, and many lots selling at the low end or even below the pre-sale estimates. Yikes!

Which doesn't bode well for tonight's Contemporary sale. aka..the big art crash of 2008.  (photo Sale 7565, Lot 9, Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) Palm Springs Jumpsigned, titled and dated ‘“PALM SPRINGS JUMP” JeanMichelB 1982’ acrylic, oilstick and gold paint on canvas, 72 x 84 in.Executed in 1982, Estimate on request)

Here's some more details of the bad news by Linda Sandler and Lindsay Pollock of Bloomberg news..

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Christie's Fails to Sell 24% of Art as Many U.S. Buyers Retreat, 2008-02-05 11:47 (New York)
     Feb. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Christie's International failed to
sell 24 percent of the art at a London auction last night as U.S.
buyers retreated in the wake of losses in the credit and equity
markets.
     Christie's, which vies with Sotheby's to be the largest
auction house, sold 76 percent of the impressionist and modern
art lots, down from 81 percent at its November sale. Collectors
in the Americas took 15 percent of the items; they took home
about half of the sale at Christie's in November.
     The supply of U.S. buyers appears to be shrinking amid the
worst housing slump in a quarter-century, with fallout spreading
through the economy, hurting builders, retailers, wholesalers,
buyout funds and mortgage lenders.
     ``The average rich aren't rich anymore,'' said Asher
Edelman, a former Wall Street raider who is a private art dealer.
``The average rich are probably the guys who buy everything
except the top-priced lots.''
     Writedowns at banks and declines in real-estate values have
knocked out many buyers for less expensive works. Bankers and
brokers aren't getting bonuses, and the value of developers'
properties is declining, Edelman said. Delinquencies on home
loans have surged to record rates, leading to $133 billion in
writedowns and credit losses at the world's biggest banks and
securities firms in the past year.
     Prices for modern artworks including Pablo Picasso have
risen 2.5 times since 2002, according to Art Market Research's
index of the central 50 percent of works. The same index more
than halved after the 1990 art-market crash and stayed down
through 2002 before starting to climb again.

                          Trouble Selling

     The most desired works continue to appreciate. A Picasso
painting of his mistress Dora Maar took 5.7 million pounds ($11.2
million) with commission last night, after failing to sell in
2002 at a low estimate of $4 million.
     Still, a five-foot-high Picasso canvas of a man with a rifle
sold near its low estimate before commission, taking 5.6 million
pounds. Among the top 10 most expensive lots, works by Juan Gris,
Henri Matisse and Paul Signac sold near their low estimates.
     The auction results indicate that sellers are having a
harder time monetizing their collections. Three out of nine works
from the collection of Maurice Wohl, a U.K. office developer and
Israel backer, didn't sell. One of his paintings, a 1910 Kees van
Dongen oil of an exotic dancer, took a record 5.6 million pounds.

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Hey MAO!
The results at Phillips De Pury Photography Auction 1/31/08 also hit home with lower estimates and sales.Surprised you didn't post those results.
Speaking of buying, I still wanted to know your opinion about the Marilyn Minter photo.It already sounds like it not a good idea..lol

Lot number 9 is the key. Other than this Basquiat, there are no gazillion-dollar lots in this sale. If the "on request" estimate is reasonable, the piece will sell for a lot of money and everyone will breathe a sigh of relief. But if the estimate (and reserve) is too high, it'll pass and everyone will be sure the market has crashed.

the glass is not only half empty but probably laced with arsenic, eh, MAO?

So Christies faltered a bit, over at Sotheby's "Melanie Clore, deputy chairman of Sotheby's Europe, said the house felt "jubilant" after an evening which had been its most expensive impressionist sale ever; the strength of the sale could be seen in 60% of the 79 lots being sold over and above their high estimates."
http://arts.guardian.co.uk/art/news/story/0,,2253172,00.html

Sothebys - n- Christies sales Soar this Jan 18-2008,while auctioning off a Major Decoy Collection.One Decoy soared to $1,300,000.

I'd been keen to see how that Bacon triptych would go.. apparently $49 million is a horrible disappointment. Failed to break Bacon's record, so it's a non-newsy dud.

Maybe we should rethink this whole capitalism thing. Forty. Nine. Million.
Everybody yawns.

I think at this point, such ennui , or the fact that a mediocre Banksy print of a chimp sold for half a million dollars, means this whole art market deserves a good cratering. And let's see the actually good artists emerge from the rubble.

That Basquiat sold for "6,516,500" no indication of whether that's £ or $ - but the Basquiat on paper failed to sell. Real quality things will continue to sell and sell well too probably but mediocre works, people just aren't going to chase for big prices anymore.

Don't mention the Banksy auctions last week—that's a simple reminder of how stupid people are and how easily they can be driven by their emotions. Several of the prints sold went for 3-5 times what they normally sell for everyday on ebay and galleries too. And some of the prints sold at that auction are still available from the original dealer for cost. But even those sold for double estimates. Proof those people have no idea what they're buying. Well, they bought themselves a little cool factor I guess?

Another auction to keep an eye on!

Sotheby’s Uses Its (Red) Head
Charity begins at home.

As the economy totters, the art world is nervously eyeing Sotheby’s Valentine’s Day contemporary-art auction for clues to the market’s future direction. The fund-raising sale—to benefit Bono’s (RED) project—will offer 83 works by stars such as Richard Prince, Jeff Koons, and Cecily Brown. But there’s a hitch: Because it’s a charity auction, it’s exempt from state and local taxes, and the auction house is waiving its commissions—so buyers effectively get about a quarter off their final cost. “It’s a great ploy,” says one Sotheby’s insider. And if prices can go higher, that’ll make the contemporary market look strong before the huge—and for-profit—contemporary sales at Sotheby’s London HQ later this month. Artnet.com’s Charlie Finch admires the strategy. “If [the red auction] does badly,” he says, “they can say, ‘It’s only a charity auction,’ and if it goes over estimate, it just makes the market seem stronger.” Sotheby’s originally estimated $40 million in sales but later trimmed that estimate by a third, to a range of $21 to $29 million.


Auction art sales! Prices are definately up,at stagering new high prices; however, the numbers of sales are down. Due to this trend, I am placing my longtime (35+yrs.)owned "Thee Art Gallery" onto the internet at weddellart.com ! This will reduce gallery lease costs, equip.,supplies, tele, elect., along with advertising, labor, etc., while exposing sales to a potentially larger market - hopefully! Keep in touch with the art trends and thank you for articles and blog. The Art Gallery at weddellart.com by Monty Ousley Weddell

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