By Carol Vogel. Nov. 15, 2009. New York Times
Oh the drama of auctions: the salesrooms packed with smartly dressed collectors; the tension of having to decide in seconds whether to drop another million dollars on an artwork or let it go; the steely smile of the auctioneer trying gently to squeeze another hundred thousand from bidders. And the final results of the last two weeks of Impressionist, modern and contemporary art auctions in New York, which saw the return of a surprising number of collectors, their wallets open, but only if the price was right.
“The numbers may not be the same as they were two years ago,” said Guy Bennett, a former co-head of Impressionist and modern art at Christie’s who is now a private dealer, “but confidence is back.”
And when it comes to auctions, confidence is everything. As soon as one person in the audience senses hesitancy, others sense it too. But when a collector is sure enough about an artwork to keep bidding, that kind of conviction becomes contagious.