Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art auction that took place in New York set new world records, helping restore the art market overnight.
A total of $200 million, well over the pre-estimate value of $167.6 million, was achieved. This was a stark contrast to the Christie's sale of Impressionist and Modern Art which "performed badly."
A particular attraction during the event was a stolen $40 million painting by Austrian symbolist painter, Gustav Klimt.
Klimt's "Litzlberg am Attersee" (Litzlberg on the Attersee) was the top lot of the sale achieving $40,402,500 after a prolonged bidding battle. The painting was bought by a private dealer from Zurich named David Lachenmann who was bidding on behalf of an anonymous private collector.
"The art market was alive and well at Sotheby's tonight" stated Simon Shaw, Head of Sotheby's Impressionist & Modern Art Department in New York.
Other top lots of the sale included Pablo Picasso's L'Aubade from 1967, sold for $23,042,500 and Tamara de Lempicka's La rêve (Rafaëla sur fond vert) which set a new artist record as it achieved $8,482,500, above a high estimate of $7 million.
Sotheby's experts maintained that the real reason behind their success was their ability to correctly analyze the market and set the correct estimates.
"The key to our success this evening was putting correct estimates on works we believed in," stated David Norman, Co-Chairman of Sotheby's Impressionist & Modern Art department worldwide.
However, Christie's, on the other hand, achieved its lowest sales in two years for its Impressionist and modern art collection in New York. This is because buyers refrained from investing in top lots like the Edgar Degas bronze of a teenage ballerina that had an estimated value of $35 million.
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