The Wall Street Journal reported today, “A year and a half after art prices plunged, the world’s chief auction houses say they have recaptured much of their pre-recession momentum.” Good news for Art Collectors!!
The Wall Street Journal also reported, “Christie’s International PLC said it sold $2.57 billion of fine and decorative art in the first half, up 43% from a year earlier and the second-highest in the company’s history. Christie’s total includes $274.1 million in art it sold privately, up by more than a third from a year ago. Rival Sotheby’s said it auctioned $2.2 billion of art in the first half, more than double a year ago. It will release its consolidated sales totals Thursday.
Art Collectors who stayed home during the worst of the economic crisis say they are feeling increasingly optimistic about the values of their artworks compared with other assets.
Christie’s had its biggest success in the first half with Pablo Picasso, whose 1932 portrait of his mistress,”Nude, Green Leaves and Bust” sold for $106.5 million in May, the highest price ever paid for a work of art at auction. Sotheby’s top seller in the first half, Alberto Giacometti’s “Walking Man I,” (bronze) which sold for $104.3 million in February.
At Christie’s, overall prices were up for nearly all of the auction house’s major art categories., including $853 million of Impressionist and modern art, up 37.4%; $460.7 million of postwar and contemporary art, up 139%; and $368.2 million of Asian art, up 120.6%%.”
Nude, Green Leaves and Bust is one of a series of portraits that Picasso painted of his mistress and muse Marie-Thérèse Walter from 1932. The vibrant blue and lilac canvas is more than five feet tall. It was bought by the Brodys in 1951 from Picasso’s dealer and was only publicly exhibited once, in 1961, to commemorate Picasso’s 80th birthday.