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Pablo Picasso
Mousquetaire et femme à la fleur
$8 million
Christie’s New York
Nov. 6, 2008
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by Stewart Waltzer

It was a convivial gathering at Sotheby’s New York evening sale of Impressionist and modern art on Nov. 6, 2008, as people milled about taking their seats, kissing and shaking hands, genial and very much business as usual. These fall sales came on the cusp of the falling markets and on the tipping point of a presidential election, but for seven lots Christie’s auctioneer Christopher Burge made it seem as if art was still immune to the world’s financial disorder. After lot seven, however, one work passed for every one that sold.