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Balthus
Le Lever (study)
1974
$650,000
$782,500 (with premium)
Sotheby's New York
Nov. 4, 2009
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ART MARKET WATCH
by Stewart Waltzer



Sotheby’s had a brilliant night on Nov. 4, 2009. It was a carnival, as if the down-market sale at Christie’s the evening before had never occurred. Tobias Meyer, the auctioneer, led the sale with amiability, and bidders were on his side from the first lot. Some lots set records. Lots of marginal quality sold at very high prices. Excellent lots with reasonable estimates occasionally sold at very reasonable prices. A few great lots passed, and a few dreadful ones as well. Passing took a lot doing. If it was on the turntable, it sold.

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