More Unhappy Returns In The Art Market
This week's dismal art auction returns continued with the sale at Christie's New York on Wednesday night in which close to one third of the 75 lots found no buyers. The savvy shoppers were out in hordes though, Bloomberg reports that tennis star and collector John McEnroe, Salma Hayek and the ever art-hungry Eli Broad were in the room checking out the lots. The sale brought in $113.6 million which was around half its presale low estimate. Francis Bacon has been quite the hot seller of late, fueled to some extent by the buying habits of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. But last night a self-portrait by Francis Bacon that Christie's had estimated would sell for about $40 million couldn't find a new home.
And that collection of 16 drawings sold by Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Officer Richard S. Fuld Jr. and his wife, Kathy, brought in $13.5 million a bit below the low estimate of $15 million for the collection. More than half, a full 52 percent of the lots sold below the low estimate and Christie's guaranteed the sale of 39 lots, 12 of which didn't sell, which had a combined low estimate of $48 million. This means Christie's is on the hook for those works.
But every evening has its bright spots, Gerhard Richter's 1989 eight-foot-tall ``Abstraktes Bild (710),'' painted with a squeegee sold for $14.9 million. And you can't keep a good Basquiat down, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich sold a 1982 Jean-Michel Basquiat painting ``Untitled (Boxer)'' for $13.5 million, above the $12 million estimate.