Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Christie's art auction disappoints
Sales at Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art auction totaled $113.6 million, well under the auction house's estimate of $227 million to $327 million.
Miriam Kreinin Souccar
It was another disappointing night for the art world, as sales at
Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art auction came in far below
estimates, capping off a dismal fall season for the art market.
The sale totaled $113.6 million, well under its estimate of $227 million
to $327 million. Of the 75 works for sale, only 51, or 68% of the lots,
Most alarming was that the sale's cover lot, Jean-Michell Basquiat's
"Untitled (Boxer)", failed to sell. The piece, estimated at $40 million,
is acclaimed as one of the artist's greatest achievements and one of the
most important works by Basquiat to come to auction.
Another important painting by Lucio Fontana, estimated at around $12
million, also failed to find a buyer.
The auction wasn't a complete wash however. Joseph Cornell's "Pharmacy"
sold for $3.8 million, well over its estimate of $1.5 million to $2
million, setting a record for the artist. Records were broken for
artists Paul McCarthy and Robert Irwin as well.
The evening was vastly different from Christie's last major Post-war and
Contemporary art sale in May. That auction totaled $348.2 million, well
above its $282 million low estimate with only three lots going unsold.