Auction Houses Test Photo Market ... and Fail
At auctions in New York, Sotheby's pulled in $200,000 for a portrait by László Moholy-Nagy that was shot in 1920 ... good enough to be in the top 10 for photos by this artist. But, in better times, the piece probably would have gone for the $300,000 price estimate that Sotheby's put on it. Christie's moved an artist's proof by Richard Avedon for $95,000, and Phillips de Pury & Company's best result was a portfolio of 11 photos by Avedon, which sold for its low estimate of $100,000.
In general, ArtPrice referred to the results as "frankly disappointing." This is a stark change from 2008, in which more than 11,000 photographs moved at auction for a total of $158 million. By January of this year, the ArtPrice Fine Art Photograph index had plunged to its 2004 level.