Christies Impressionist Auction Total falls Below the Low end of the range
It's HAMMER Time in NYC my little MOA-ettes!
Sadly.. last night Christies first attempt didn't do so well with their big Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale.
Of the significantly pair back auction of only 58 Lots.. 14 failed to find a buyer. Ouch! A 24% failure rate! Not good!
Several Picasso's, a Monet, a Matisse, and even a Gauguin (pre-sale est $4 to $6 million) which was stated in the catalog as "The appearance of Gauguin's Le rêve, moe moea in this sale is a most fortuitous event." all went unsold.
One of the only successful lots of the auction was the amazing 8+ feet tall, Alberto Giacometti, Grande femme debout II sculpture.. which sold for a record $27,481,000. Nice!!
So.. maybe Impressionist art is just
way out of favor with the billionaire jet set. MAO remembers the last round of super high end impressionist and modern sales last fall in London which also failed to meet expectations... but the following Contemporary Art auctions still managed to go reasonably well.
I feel a cold breeze... but we shall see next week!!
Here's some additional commentary from Lindsay Pollock and Philip Boroff at Bloomberg news..
May 7 (Bloomberg) -- Monet and Rodin failed to prevent
Christie's International from missing its low estimate for an
evening impressionist and modern art auction for the first time
in four years.
Last night's sale in New York totaled $277.3 million as 14
of the 58 lots failed to find buyers. The auction had been
projected to tally $287 million to $405 million. Europeans,
taking advantage of a weaker dollar, bought more than half the
lots, while U.S. buyers took 32 percent, compared with almost
half at the previous impressionist sale in November.
The result suggests that at least $318 billion of credit
losses and writedowns at banks, a slump in the U.S. currency and
a dip in global equity markets may have slowed the international
``It's a rational market that is slightly more rational
than the last go-around,'' said John Good, a director of
Christie's said last night's total was still its third-
highest for the category. The top lot was a $41.5 million
cerulean blue painting by Claude Monet, showing an iron railway
bridge over the Seine, near Paris. Christie's estimated that
``Le Pont du Chemin de Fer a Argenteuil'' would fetch about $40
million. An anonymous phone bidder set a record for the artist,
outspending the previous high set last year by about $5 million.
The seller was the Nahmad art-dealing family, which bought
the work for $12.4 million at Christie's in 1988.
``I'm very happy,'' patriarch David Nahmad said, standing
in the crowded aisle of the Rockefeller Center salesroom after
the auction. He was outbid for the evening's second-priciest
Monet, the 1908 ``Nympheas,'' which fetched $11.7 million.
The evening's rejects included a garishly colored Venetian
vista by Monet, estimated at up to $12 million; a tepid Van Gogh
landscape, with a high estimate of $16 million; and a portrait
of a chubby nude maiden by Renoir with a $5 million to $7
A dearth of museum-quality impressionist and modern
paintings shifted the focus to sculpture, which accounted for 3
of the top 10 lots.
Alberto Giacometti's 1960 ``Grand Femme Debout II,'' a 9-
foot-tall bronze of a woman, fetched an artist record $27.5
million, well above the $18 million estimate. The winning bidder
was Gagosian Gallery, which declined to comment on the purchase.
The artwork was one of five abstract forms in plaster and bronze
by postwar Swiss sculptor Giacometti. Sotheby's offers another
six Giacomettis tonight.
``Grand Femme'' is an attenuated female figure, with a tiny
Kate Moss-like waist and stick-like arms. It was originally a
commission for Chase Manhattan Bank's Wall Street headquarters.
Giacometti didn't visit the site, or New York, and the work was
never installed there.
French sculptor Auguste Rodin also smashed records with his
1897 bronze ``Eve,'' estimated to sell for $9 million to $12
million. It fetched $19 million.
The anonymous seller acquired the sculpture for $4.8
million at Christie's in New York in 1999 and displayed the work
outdoors. Eve has muscular crossed arms and her graceful head is
tucked in shame.
Sale prices include a buyer's commission of 25 percent of
the hammer price up to $20,000, 20 percent of the price from
$20,000 to $500,000 and 12 percent above $500,000. Estimates do
not include commissions.
Christie's sold $395 million of impressionist and modern
art at its November sale in New York. The dollar is down more
than 12 percent against the euro in the past year and reached a
record low of $1.6019 per euro on April 22.
(Lindsay Pollock and Philip Boroff write on the arts for
Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are their own.)