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.
The 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However, a number of big pieces were withdrawn — a Modigliani ( £8m high estimate), a Leger ( £6m.), another Degas ( £4.5m) and a Pisarro ( £3m.)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.