Sotheby's marks a solid night at Impressionist sale

Thu May 6, 2010 2:08pm EDT
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By Christopher Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Impressionist and modern art attracted strong prices for a second consecutive day on Wednesday as global bidding helped drive Sotheby's spring sale to over $195 million.

Early signs the art market was well on the road to recovery after plunging in 2008 were borne out when the auction house took in $195,697,000 including commission, or some three times the take at its Impressionist sale just a year ago.

Sotheby's officials said international bidding from Asia, South America, the Middle East as well as Europe and the United States, was deep and active. Most lots sold within or above the estimates.

"It's a global market with global liquidity," said Tobias Meyer, who served as auctioneer.

"Art is something that is now globally desired, and that was very much in evidence tonight," he said.

Emmanuel di Donna, vice chairman for Impressionist and modern art, said, "The trend toward the globalization of the market is continuing."

"There are a lot of truly wealthy people around the world who want the best," he said. "There is a real quest for quality."

The sale, led by Matisse's "Bouquet de fleurs pour le Quatorze Juillet" which fetched $28.64 million, totaled just under the high estimate of $204 million.   Continued...