How fickle are the wealthy? Six weeks after having never been happier relative to the poor, and mere days after we showed their recent collapse in confidence, it seems the rich are no longer amused by Bernanke’s game. As The FT reports, for the second time in a week, an elite art auction has failed for all intent and purpose. One-quarter of the high-profile Impressionist and Modern paintings under the hammer at Christie’s went unsold on Tuesday night, signalling a bleak start for the autumn auction season in New York. The muted results came hot on the heels of disappointing sales on Monday evening for Christie’s, after the collection of the late art dealer Jan Krugier went under the hammer yet failed to dazzle. But how will the wealth effect trickle down?
Sales from the evening totalled $144.2m – excluding the 12 per cent buyer’s premium – a figure well below the low estimate of $188m initially made by the house.
Twelve out of the 46 artworks on offer went unsold.
Observers at the evening said the combination of sky-high valuations and mixed quality had weighed more heavily on the purchasing decisions of dealers and collectors than in previous stellar years.
Christie’s demurred, saying it had seen an encouraging flurry of activity surrounding lots priced at the midpoint range, as well as a sharp increase in interest from bidders in China and Southeast Asia.
The muted results came hot on the heels of disappointing sales on Monday evening for Christie’s, after the collection of the late art dealer Jan Krugier went under the hammer yet failed to dazzle.