These last days have occurred the famous and traditionals Art's spring sales in New-york.
An opportunity to get feedbacks about the health of the Art market... Let's compare and react about the two main auction houses, Christie's and Sotheby's.
Christie’s, the auction house of Francois Pinault, has lived Wednesday night a surprise with the longest bid of its history. It took sixteen minutes dual between the private seller Philippe Ségalot and an anonym buyer to conclude the offer, one of the first Andy Warhol’s self-portrait, awarded at 38,4 millions dollars. (much more than estimations)
This is a real high top for the pop art’s king. Its last record has reached 32,5 millions dollars in May 2010. Considered by Christie’s as the « Birth of cool », this self-portrait realised with basic photobooth has been acquired for 1600 dollars by Florence Barron, a collector from Detroit in 1963.
Sill talking about contemporary, the big red self-portrait of 1986 realised just before its death by Warhol, has been awarded by the new-yorker José Mugrabi, called « The guy with the 800 warhols » for 27,5 millions dollars (including sales fees)
The sale of a big Rothko at Christie’s for 33,6 millions dollars, much more than estimations, confirms once again the benefits of good quality.
However, neither the « Marie Therese Walter » by Picasso last week, or the « Pink Panthere » by Jeff Koons kept their promises at Sotheby’s with prices under the poorest estimations. Even the « Sixteen Jackies » of Warhol has reached a disappointed price.
After these mixed and confusing sales, Christie’s shows a total benefit of 302 millions dollars (with 95 % of its items sold) againt only 128 millions (and 85% of items sold) for the rival Sotheby’s.
In spite of these contrasted results and the evidence of a breathlessness, the general tendance confirms the growth potential of the Art Market, and above all thanks to the Asian investors who are starting to invest more and more in this sector.
For two years, since the bad times in 2008, Christie’s assists to the raise of its sales of 53 % to 5 billions dollars in 2010, whereas Sotheby’s has doubled its global bids to 4,3 billions in the same year.
All these recent events reassures me, because it shows that despite everything’s going on in the Financial sector, the Art is still something so deep and important that it will always have a place in the market.