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the artnet auction 
report results
results summary
spring sales: 
an examination
by Stewart Waltzer


If the Jackie O. show on the Sotheby 
channel had anything to teach us, it was 
that there are pent up reserves of cash out 
there waiting to be spent.  Afterall, why 
spend 800,000 on a set of golf clubs when 
you can actually buy something of lasting 
value.  The three day mini-series achieved 
only a 34M market share.  The sale last 
night at Christie's did better than 70M 
with a lot less work for the house and a 
lot more value for the customer.
If the New York dealers are not making 
money the way they did in the late 80's, it 
is only a matter of time.  The auction 
houses are leading the way in retail 
prices, if you want to buy wholesale, you 
are going to need a dealer.
There were few surprises in last evening's 
sale. The Picasso La Lecture did not sell, 
but why would it.  Christopher Burge took a 
phone bidder gently up to 4.5M, a more than 
generous figure for the work in question, 
and then in a deft display of refined 
British thumb screwing, twisted another 
300,000 out of the victim before passing 
the work. There is likely to be some 
delicate telephoning this morning.  The van 
Gogh Interieur d'un restaurant, sold for 
9.4M, the highest figure of the evening.  
It was reputedly estimated at 10M to 15M so 
it must come as a bit of a disappointment.  
The picture seemed more valuable than 10M. 
Other salient lots, Le Palais Contarini 
hammered at 3.85M fullfilling our prophesy 
that Venetian Monet's don't do all that 
well at auction.   All in all, the price 
history of the individual and comparable 
lots yielded an accurate basis on which to 
predict last night's performance.  The 
ArtNet analysis was on the money with the 
exception of the Degas Loge d'actrices 
and the van Gogh Interieur d'un 
restaurant which arguably should have 
brought higher prices.
Michael Findlay, the Svengali of the 
Impressionist and Modern department, ought 
to be well pleased with himself this 
morning.  The sale was canted to the high 
estimates which augurs well for a healthy 
market.  If his luck holds through the day 
sale Christie's will have to use all its 
restraint not to mount a broom from the 
flagpole in front of the house signifying a 
clean sweep.  It's not nice to gloat.  Some 
of the sales of estate property were able 
to squeak through well below the low 
estimate, emphasizing yet again, the 
usefulness of a global reserve.
The individual hammer prices are as 
follows. The prices are arranged in columns 
to reflect lots which failed to exceed the 
low estimate (40%), exceeded the low 
estimate but not the high estimate (15%), 
and those that exceeded the high estimate 
(45%).  The percentages show a very healthy 
balance.  The dollar volume at the hammer 
was just over 70M which is far from the 
100M plus sales of the late eighties but 
still indicative of the returning health of 
the market, at least for the auction 
houses.
1.$280,000
2.				   $600,000
3.				   $750,000
4.		   $1,800,000
5.				   $600,000
6.$380,000
7.   		 		 $220,000
8.				   $650,000
9.				   $460,000
10.		   $3,100,000
11.				   $220,000
12.				   $160,000
13.$4,950,000
14.				   $220,000
15.$750,000
16.				   $200,000
17.				   $1,700,000
18.				   $440,000
19.$220,000
20.		  $1,500,000
21.$PASSED
22.				   $105,000
23.$610,000
24.		  $650,000
25.				   $780,000
26.				   $3,700,000!!
27.				   $750,000
28.		   $520,000
29.$3,850,000!!
30.				   $1,300,000
31.$9,400.000!!
32.PASSED
33.$1,300,000
34.$580,000!!
35.		   $1,100,000
35A.$300,000
36.				   $3,600,000!!
37.$200,000
38.				   $1,100,000
39.				   $2,300,000
40.				   $2,400,000
41.PASSED
42.				   $440,000
43.				   $1,700,000
44.				   $240,000
45.330,000
46.PASSED!!
47.$1,500,000!!
48.				   $3,500,000
49.		  $700,000
50.PASSED!!
51.				   $1,600,000
52.$1,600,000
53.$200,000
54.				   $900,000
55.PASSED
56.		  $230,000
57.PASSED
58.$190,000
59.				   $620,000
60.$180,000
61.				   $540,000
62.				   $630,000
63.		  $370,000
64.PASSED
65.PASSED	
66.		  $1,200,000
67.WITHDRAWN
STEWART WALTZER