Christie’s Quietly Profitable $145m Imp-Mod Sale Reassures Market
Fine Art

Christie’s Quietly Profitable $145m Imp-Mod Sale Reassures Market

Christie’s Quietly Profitable $145m Imp-Mod Sale Reassures Market

At the end of a long and exhausting sale cycle filled with dramatic tension about meeting market expectations, it was not surprising that Christie’s measured but successful Impressionist and Modern evening sale seemed to reassure everyone that an older version of the art market still remains hidden below the tempestuous surface. Here are Scott Reyburn and Robin Pogrebin on the important role Impressionist and Modern works played in Monday’s sale at Christie’s and the effects of the change on market impressions: Some 19 of 34 works in that sale fell into the Imps & Mods classification, selling for $342 million in an auction that brought $491.4 million including commissions. […] But the strategy creates challenges. “If the very best lots are siphoned off, it may leave the regular sale lacking in star lots,” said Guy Jennings, managing director of the Fine Art Fund Group in London, “and star lots always help to lift the mood in the room.” Without those inflection points in the sale, the orderly bidding seemed numbing, especially at the end of two long weeks, as they learned from Helly Nahmad: “A two-hour sale at the end of two weeks of auctions is too much,” Mr. […]

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