Imagine that you are climbing the staircase of Sotheby’s Bond Street at 5:30pm and the crowd around you is buzzing with excitement. Surrounded by works from artists like Gauguin, Monet, and Giacometti gives you a sense of awe to be in the presence of such masters. These great pieces are waiting and hoping to be sold for the highest price possible.
On Tuesday, February 8th, Sotheby’s held its annual Impressionist and Modern sale in London. The sale was considered successful with the great performance of the star lot not disappointing. Picasso’s painting “La Lecture”, completed in 1932, sold for £25.2 million ($40.7 million). The painting was estimated at £12-18 million ($18.5-27.8 million) with the hope that the total cost would exceed the estimate. With lots of interest in a packed house, the price tag helped escalate the whole sale to a grand total of £68.8 million ($111 million, including buyer’s premium) for the whole night.
Last year May 2010, in New York, Christie’s sold the Picasso painting, “Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust” for $106.5 million painted at the same time as La Lecture in the early 1930s. This record sale set the mood for last night’s gala. With the bidding interest being high, the painting was considered a great success!
After the sale of each of these works, it seems that the trend for Picasso from this period is growing. Keep a look out on the next few auctions happening this week, Christie’s Impressionist, Modern and Surrealist Auction Wednesday February 9, 2011, and Sotheby’s Auction: Looking Closely, a Private Solo Sale of Impressionist and Surrealist works on Thursday February 10, 2011.
So, if you won the lottery, and you were going to use the money on art, would you buy a Picasso? If so, would you follow the trend and buy this style or would you look at other periods of his work?