N.Y. auction of private art collection stumbles, a Picasso is casualty
By Chris Michaud
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The fall art auctions got off to a shaky start on Monday with Christie's' sale of a private collection which fell far short of expectations, including the failure to sell of a much-anticipated Picasso sculpture.
The sculpture, "Tete," the model for a prominent outdoor steel artwork in Chicago's Daley Plaza, had been the expected highlight, and with an estimate of $25 million to $35 million was poised to break the artist's record for a sculpture.
But the work failed to reach its reserve - the secret minimum price sellers agree to accept before an auction - when no bids beyond $19 million were forthcoming.
One after another, other top works by artists ranging from Giacometti to Kandinsky and Miro and bearing estimates around $10 million to as high as $25 million, failed to sell.
The sale of 62 works from the collection of art dealer Jan Krugier took in $92.5 million including commission, Christie's said, against a $158 million to $225 million pre-sale estimate.
Among the sale's few high points was Picasso's portrait of two of his children, "Claude et Paloma," a 1950 oil that soared to $28,165,000, or more than twice the estimate of $9 million to $12 million, to achieve the evening's top price.
Several lower-priced works also saw competitive bidding, selling for many times their estimates.
Christie's officials expressed their disappointment. Continued...