A Mixed Result At Sotheby’s

February 3, 2009

Today’s Impressionist and Modern Art sale at Soetheby‘s in London went off with mixed results:  the total for the sale was well below minimum expectations ( £32 million v. £41 million), but many of the pieces sold above their weight.

degasThe main item at the sale, a beautiful Degas statue of a dancer, sold for £13.2million, well above the high estimate of £12million.  In addition, a Miro sold for £2 million, double its high estimate, a Picasso went for 50% above top asking, and a Magritte at £747,000 was well above the anticipated return. Most of the other pieces lay perfectly comfortably within their ranges.

However, a number of big pieces were withdrawn — a Modigliani ( £8m high estimate), a Leger ( £6m.), another Degas ( £4.5m) and a Pisarro ( £3m.)  It was these failures to sell that brought down the aggregate total of the sale, rather than the prices fetched by those items that did get purchased.

It will be interesting to see how Christie’s does tomorrow.  As I mentioned elsewhere, I prefer the Christie’s list to what was on offer today.

The Day The Music Died

February 3, 2009

A long, long time ago…
I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile.
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And, maybe, they’d be happy for a while.

But February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver.
Bad news on the doorstep;
I couldn’t take one more step.

I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride,
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died.


You have to be almost as old as God herself to remember this, but 50 years ago today Buddy Holly, Big Bopper and Richie Valens died in a snowy plane crash at Clear Lake , Iowa.  I, too, learned about it from the headlines I read during my paper route the following morning.  It’s a long, long time ago.