A reported increase in Asian buying was the most notable feature of a somewhat underwhelming series of Impressionist & Modern art auctions in New York last week.
Sotheby's evening sale on May 7 saw eight
lots sell to Asia including a $17m (£10.6m) Henri Matisse oil
painting and a $11.5m (7.14m) Alberto Giacometti bronze. The value
of their purchases represented just under 30% of the auction's
$190m (£118m) hammer total - an amount that fell short of the
$218m-318m presale estimate.
On the night, 50 of the 71 lots got away
(70%). Sotheby's top lot, however, Pablo Picasso's Le
Sauvetage from 1932 sold at $28m (£17.4m) to an American
private buyer. The estimate was $14-18m.
Meanwhile, Christie's evening sale the day
before raised a hammer total of $249m (£155m), a figure that came
in towards the lower end of the $244m-359m presale prediction.
Here the top lot sold to an Asian private
buyer - Claude Monet's Nymphéas, which took $24m
(£14.9m) against a $25m-35m estimate.
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