Auction Review: Taking a Closer Look at Sotheby’s Big Sale | BLOUIN ARTINFO
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Auction Review: Taking a Closer Look at Sotheby’s Big Sale

Auction Review: Taking a Closer Look at Sotheby’s Big Sale
Impressionist & Modern Art auction produced lower-than-expected results — here’s our analysis

Sotheby’s evening sale of Impressionist and Modern art Monday didn’t reach the heights that some expected, though it did produce one noteworthy pricetag — a rare, large nude by Modigliani became the fourth most expensive work of art ever sold.

Modigliani’s “Nu
couche (
sur le cote gauche)” sold for $157.2 million and was the prize lot of the sale, which also featured a varied selection of Pablo Picasso works, as well as paintings by Claude Monet, Edvard Munch and Georgia O’Keeffe.

In 2015, Modigliani’s “Nu Couche,”  1917, sold at Christie's  New York  for $170.4 million, a record price for any of his works, which set the stage for the raised expectations for Monday’s sale.

Total sales, $318.3 million, came in on the low side of the pre-sale estimate of $327 million to $408 million. The final prices include premiums, unless noted otherwise. Pre-sale estimates don’t include the premiums.

The Modigliani became the most expensive work of art ever sold at Sotheby’s. But the auction house was probably disappointed that many other works sold below estimate, even counting the premiums. Of 46 lots on offer, 32, or 70 percent were sold.

Our analysis is driven by statistics from the Blouin Art Sales Index (BASI) :

This section includes:
• A Summary of Sales
• Price Estimation Accuracy: What percentage of artworks sold above high estimates, between low and the high estimates, and below low estimates?
• Top Artworks Sold — Their Hammer Prices and Price Estimates.
• Unsold Lots

A Summary of Sales:
On average, artworks were sold for 1.34 times the estimated low price. 30.4 percent (14 artworks) were unsold/bought-ins. 
• Sale Total: ($318.3 million inclusive of buyer’s premium)
• Sale Volume: 32 Artworks
• # of Artists (Sold): 21
The auction just failed to breach the estimated sales and registered a very low sell-through rate of 70 percent.

Price Estimation Accuracy: 
What percentage of artworks sold above high estimates, between low and the high estimates, and below low estimates? • 28.1 percent (9) artworks sold above the high estimate.
• There were a significant number of artworks (18.8 percent) that sold below the low estimate.
• The rest, 53.1 percent artworks sold between the low and high estimates.

Top Lots Sold (>$10 Million) — Hammer Prices and Price EstimatesModigliani’s “Nu Couche (Sur Le Cote Gauche)” at $157.16 million (including buyer’s premium) was thetop selling lot of this sale. The estimate of this lot was not made publicly available by the auction house, however experts had estimated it to sell for more than $150 million. Picasso’s “Le Repos” sold for $36.92 (including buyer’s premium), a hammer price of $32.6 million, which was 1.3 times the low estimate. The hammer price for Monet’s “Matinee Sur La Seine” went down at $18.05 million, which was almost equal to its estimated low price (at $18 million). Surprisingly, Picasso’s other lot “Famille d'arlequin” and Edward Munch’s “Sommernatt (Summer Night)” sold below their estimated low prices.  The hammer for “Famille d'arlequin” by Picasso was at $10 million, well below its estimated low price at $12 million.

Top Lots Sold between ($1 to $10 Million) — Hammer Prices and Price Estimates
The lots that sold between $1 million and $10 million are shown in the above graph. This list includes works of Rufino Tamayo, Pablo Picasso, Mary Cassatt, Marc Chagall, Edouard Manet and others. Another Picasso work, “Mousquetaire,” also sold for below the estimated low hammer, $3.7 million, and estimated low, $4 million.

Unsold LotsSurprisingly, there were five works by Picasso that remained unsold in this auction. Alberto Giacometti’s “Le Chat,” which was expected to sell for between $20 million to $30 million, also was a disappointment (bought-in) in this high-profile sale. Overall, there were 14 works of art by well-known artists that were bought-ins at this sale.
Founder: Louise Blouin

Top auction results for Amedeo Modigliani