How to Avoid Dirty Art Auction Tricks – artmarketblog.com

How to Avoid Dirty Art Auction Tricks – artmarketblog.com

Having focused my last few posts on the issues surrounding the questionable practices of some art auction houses, I thought it important to let people know how they can avoid becoming a victim of dirty art auction tricks and tactics. The only real way to avoid becoming a victim of the art auction houses is to ask questions and to know which questions to ask.  Below is a list of questions, and the reasoning behind each question, that will ensure that you know exactly where you stand.

Seven questions every buyer should ask before bidding on a work of art:

1.       Does the auction house or anyone associated with the auction house have an ownership interest in the work of art I am thinking of purchasing?

(The reason you should ask this question is that if an auction house has an ownership interest in a work of art you should question whether this would have an effect on the way the auction house markets and presents the work of art in question – as well as the final price.  Auction houses are required to indicate in auction catalogues when they have an ownership interest in a work of art.)

2.       Is the auction house employee who is advising me on my purchases also representing the seller of the works they are advising me on?

(The reason you should ask this question is that it is not unknown for a specialist assigned to a particular client as an advisor to be representing the seller of the works they are advising the buyer to purchase.  If you are assigned an expert advisor by an auction house make sure they are not representing the seller of the particular works you are interested in.)

3.       Is there any doubt regarding the authenticity or provenance of the works of art I am interested in purchasing?

(The reason you need to ask this question is that auction houses are not always forthcoming with information regarding authenticity.  It is worth while making sure that you are getting what you are paying for.)

4.       Who has authenticated the works of art I am interested in purchasing, what qualifications do they have and what evidence was the authentication based on?

(The reason you need to ask this question is that auction houses have been known to justify the attribution they make using less than reliable information.)

5.       When were the works of art I am interested in purchasing last consigned to an auction and what was the result?

(The reason that you should ask this question is that auction houses are not always forthcoming with information regarding the consignment history of a work of art.  Auction houses have been known to sell the same work of art a number of times within a short period of time and not disclose this information to buyers.  It is important to know this information as it is likely there is reason that this has occurred.  It is also important to know this information because a work of art being passed in at auction can gain a stigma that can reduce the value.)

6.       Does the auction house allow the auctioneer to bid in his own sale?

(It should be obvious why one needs to ask this question, and yes, some auction houses to allow the auctioneer to bid on their own sale.)

7.       What is the condition of the works of art I am interested in purchasing and has a condition report been completed on each work?

(Auction houses are not always forthcoming with information regarding the condition of a work of art. It is generally expected that buyers will inspect a work of art themselves and will be aware of the condition of the work of art.  If you are not able to assess the condition of a work of art then hire an expert.)

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications



Halsey Minor Battles Sotheby’s Again – artmarketblog.com

Halsey Minor Battles Sotheby’s Again – artmarketblog.com

In my previous post I made reference to a court case involving CNet founder Halsey Minor who sued Sotheby’s in 2008 for allegedly failing to fully declare when they had an ownership stake in works that they sold him. Sotheby’s won the case and were awarded $6.64 million in outstanding debts. I mentioned that I was not aware of whether Minor had appealed the decision – well, just after publishing this post, I received an email from Halsey Minor to inform me that he had in fact made an appeal on the 24th of November 2010.  Minor will be hoping for another positive outcome like the one he received when he sued Christie’s in December 2008 for waiting too long to return some of his art after failing to sell the works on his behalf, and not returning the works when they said they would.  Minor won the case against Christie’s and was awarded $8.5 million which was the calculated drop in value that the works in question experienced while in Christie’s possession. According to Minor in an email sent to myself: “in 8 hours a jury found Christie’s guilty of Fraud, Theft and Failure to Honor a Contract and awarded me $8.5 million”.

As the appeal against Sotheby’s is still being processed I cannot comment on the case, but I would like to revisit the case Minor won against Christie’s.   The reasoning behind Christie’s holding the paintings by Richard Prince that Minor had consigned to Christie’s, but had failed to sell, was that Minor owed Christie’s $12 million at the time for works that he had purchased through the auction house.  Christie’s essentially held the Prince paintings to ransom in the hope that they would be able to recoup some of the money that Minor owed them.  Unfortunately for Christie’s, this was not an ethical means of encouraging Minor to pay them what he owed, and was what essentially won the case for Minor.  Christie’s also had a $1.5 million breach of contract counterclaim for when Minor declined to pay for work that he had purchased at auction which Christie’s won.  Mind you, the win for Christie’s was no-where near as significant as Minor’s win.

At the end of the day one expects a reputable and highly respected business like a major auction house to act ethically, morally and legally at all times regardless of how their clients act.  Although I would never condone illegal or immoral action by a client of an auction house, considering the number of clients that the large auction houses deal with it is almost inevitable that some of them will not play by the rules.  A major auction house, on the other hand, should never be seen to conduct their business in a way that breaches ethical, moral or legal boundaries – yet there is plenty of evidence that they have.  What is even more disturbing is that the auction houses are so powerful that even the most discrediting mud seems not to stick.

To be continued……..

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications

The Art Auction House Sin Files – artmarketblog.com

The Art Auction House Sin Files – artmarketblog.com

Where does it all end? When will people realise that although the questionable practices exhibited by some auction houses are legal, they should not be tolerated? How far will art auction houses be able to go before someone steps in and says ENOUGH IS ENOUGH !! Let’s take a look at the history of sins committed, and those allegedly committed, by the big three art auction houses.

The most famous art auction house scandal took place in 2000 when Christie’s and Sotheby’s were dragged through the mud because of allegations that they had formed a “cartel” and were agreeing in advance to fix commission rates. The price-fixing scheme violated federal antitrust law by eliminating competitive choice and cost customers millions of dollars. Christie’s dobbed on Sotheby’s and were given immunity from prosecution for their information. Sotheby’s ended up taking most of the flak with several senior members getting the boot and two senior managers, A. Alfred Taubman and Dede Brooks, both getting jail sentences. Sotheby’s, Christie’s and their owners also paid a civil lawsuit settlement of $512 million.

In September of 2004, Forbes magazine reported that Christie’s were allegedly withholding information regarding the authenticity of objects from clients. These allegations were made by Canadian newspaper heiress Taylor Lynne Thomson who went on to sue Christie’s. According to Forbes magazine: “Thomson sued and British courts ruled in May that Christie’s had been too lax in its catalog description, leaving out qualifications to its classification of the urns as being “Louis XV.” The judge highlighted the auction specialists’ decision to remove the qualifying words “possibly Italian,” which would’ve raised the possibility of the urns being far less valuable 19th-century copies.”

Christie’s controversial purchase of the highly regarded gallery Haunch of Venison in 2007 caused a flurry of opinions, many of called the sale a conflict of interest and accused Christie’s of blurring the lines between what galleries and auction houses offer. Christie’s wasn’t the first auction house to purchase a gallery though as Sothebys also made a foray into the gallery world by purchasing Noortman Master Paintings in 2006.

In 2008, CNet founder Halsey Minor sued Sotheby’s for allegedly failing to fully declare when they had an ownership stake in works that they were selling. Sotheby’s won the case and were awarded $6.64 million in outstanding debts. Minor can appeal but, as far as I know, has yet to do so.

In February of this year Christie’s allegedly settled with a brother and sister who sued Christie’s for allegedly failing to identify a painting that they consigned to the auction house as being by Titian. The painting was sold for £8,000 by Christie’s in 1993 as a painting ‘from the school of Titian’. It was determined after the painting had been sold by Christie’s that it was in fact a genuine Titian which was worth in the region of 4 million pounds. The siblings claimed that Christie’s failed to competently research and advise on the painting’s value when it was sold in 1993.

In May of this year (2010), Jeanne Marchig, a Swiss animal philanthropist, launched a law suit against Christie’s for failing to identify a painting owned by Marchig, which was sold by Christie’s for $19,500 in 1998, as a painting by Leonardo worth upwards of 100 million pounds. Christie’s sold the painting as a mere ‘19th century German’ work for which Marchig is suing Christie’s for ‘wilful refusal and failure to investigate the plaintiff’s believed attribution, to comply with its fiduciary obligations, negligence, breach of warrant to attribute the drawing correctly, and making false statements in connection with the auction and sale’. Christie’s disagrees with the claims that the painting is a Leonardo. Reaching an outcome with this case is likely to take quite a while.

The most recent art auction scandal involves auction house Phillips de Pury and their ‘Carte Blanche’ sale which took place on November the 8th (2010). So many issues have been raised in relation to this auction that it would take a series of posts to explain them all so I will only mention the most serious allegations. To begin with, the so called “curator” of the auction, Philippe Ségalot, not only was directly responsible for negotiating and organising the consignment of works for the sale, but he also advised some of the buyers – a situation that could be seen as a serious conflict of interest. If this wasn’t enough of a conflict of interest, Segalot is reported to have bid on works himself presumably on behalf of his clients. There have also been several reports that the auctioneer on the night, Simon de Pury, failed to make it clear to the audience when works failed to sell, which auctioneers are legally required to do. By failing to announce the failure of a work to sell the auctioneer could be seen to be attempting to deceive the audience by inducing a false sense of success and excitement.

These are only a few of the more serious scandals that have arisen as a result of some questionable tactics and practices adopted by the world’s top art auction houses. Are these the sort of businesses that you want to business with? Would you trust such a company to treat you fairly and honestly? I have made it my mission to make art collectors and investors more aware of what is happening in the art auction world and hopefully at the same time encourage the art auction houses to be more honest, ethical and transparent. Stay tuned, there is more to come………

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications

The Rise of Victorian Paintings Pt. 3 – artmarketblog.com

The Rise of Victorian Paintings Pt. 3 – artmarketblog.com

Henry Herbert La Thangue's Leaving Home

Henry Herbert La Thangue's Leaving Home

Following the sale of the Koch collection in 1993, the next major sale of a collection of Victorian paintings came in 2003 when the Forbes collection was auctioned by Christie’s over a two day period. The Forbes collection, considered one of the 20th century’s most important collections of Victorian art, was put together by Malcolm and Christopher Forbes of the Forbes Magazine family. Malcolm and his son Christopher began the collection after Christopher made the comment to his father that, for the price of a minor Monet hanging on the wall of his office, he could assemble one of the world’s great collections of Victorian art. Malcolm, a lover of bargains and challenges, liked the sound of this idea and so, with his son Christopher, began collecting. Malcolm Forbes died in 1990 leaving his son with the collection that they had both had put together with passion over a thirty year period.

Unfortunately for Christopher, a family squabble is rumoured to have meant that the collection needed to be sold, even though Christopher was quoted as saying at the time that he would not attend the sale because “it would be too sad.” Among the numerous outstanding works that were included in the sale were John Martin’s Pandemonium; Sir Edwin Henry Landseer’s ‘Scene in Chillingham Park: Portrait of Lord Ossulston’ or ‘Death of the Wild Bull’; John Phillip’s Early Career of Murillo; Dicksee’s Chivalry; and W.H. Deverell’s masterpiece, Twelfth Night. The sale was a huge success, especially considering the poor market sentiment at the time, with 75% of the works finding new homes for a sale total of 16.9 million pounds. Most exciting of all was the 63 artist auction records set during the sale for artists such as Henry Herbert La Thangue, Sir Edward Landseer and John Martin.

There is no doubt that the success of the sale was bolstered significantly by the association with a famous family – an association that Christie’s took full advantage of. A large contingent of buyers from the Continent, who would usually not be interested in the work of Victorian British paintings, indicated that the Forbes name was a big draw-card. Regardless of the fact that many of the buyers were motivated to a large degree by the provenance of the paintings, the success of the sale and the associated publicity gave the market for Victorian art a major boost. The Forbes sale was a huge milestone for Victorian paintings and paved the way for what was to be a slow but steady revival for Victorian art.

To be continued…………

Part 1:

http://artmarketblog.com/2010/02/25/the-rise-of-victorian-paintings-part-1-artmarketblog-com/

Part 2:

http://artmarketblog.com/2010/03/04/the-rise-of-victorian-paintings-pt-2-artmarketblog-com/

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications

Chinese Artefacts Attract Massive Prices – artmarketblog.com

Chinese Artefacts Attract Massive Prices – artmarketblog.com

Chinese famille rose bowl - Sold for $115,000 against a $300 estimate at Brunk Auctions

Chinese famille rose bowl - Sold for $115,000 against a $300 estimate at Brunk Auctions

I don’t think that many people, except maybe the Chinese, realise how much wealth exists in China as well as other areas of Asia.  The last few weeks have produced many examples of the unjustifiably massive amounts of money that are being paid for objects of Chinese decorative art by wealthy Chinese collectors.  Take, for instance, the AU$32,000 paid for a Chinese carved wooden panel by a Chinese collector at an Australian auction which had an original estimate of AU$600.  How about the US$58,400 achieved at an iGavel.com online auction for a large modern Chinese carved celadon jade phoenix form vase against an estimate of only US$1200 -$1800 – a huge amount for what was identified by iGavel as a modern piece with no real historical or provenencial value.

Christie’s Asian Art Week produced even more astonishing results that really do make one question the motivation of the buyers, as well as their sanity.  How much disposable wealth would one have to have to pay US$1,426,500 for a Chinese Zitan stand and cover that was originally estimated to sell for between US$20,000 and $30,000.  Yes, it is a very rare object, but paying almost one and a half million dollars for it when it was valued at around one sixtieth of that amount seems ridiculous.  Almost as crazy was the US$362,000 paid for a Chinese bronze ritual food vessel that also had a US$20,000-$30,000 estimate.

Over at North Carolina USA based Brunk Auctions (http://www.brunkauctions.com/), two Chinese items fetched well over (actually massively over!!) their estimate.  The first, a small Chinese porcelain bowl (see image), went for an amazing US$115,000 against an estimate of US$300, and a Chinese vase soared to US$105,800 against a US$4000 estimate.

A VERY RARE IMPERIALLY INSCRIBED ZITAN STAND AND COVER sold by Christies for $1,426,500 against an estimate of $20,000 - 30,000

A VERY RARE IMPERIALLY INSCRIBED ZITAN STAND AND COVER sold by Christies for $1,426,500 against an estimate of $20,000 - 30,000

A sale price for an item at auction that massively exceeds the estimate is usually put down to an incorrect appraisal by the auction house – as long as it is an isolated incident.  The sheer number of Chinese items of decorative art that are selling for prices well above their appraised value could not be all the result of incorrect valuation or assessment.  So what is driving the market for these objects to such dizzying heights?.  I suspect that pride and status have a significant role to play.  No disrespect to Asian men, but they do tend to be very proud and do not like to be beaten.  There is also the bragging rights that paying ridiculous amounts of money for an object can bring. Yes, some of the objects being purchased are rare but not rare enough to justify the prices being paid.   I can’t help but think back to the art market boom of the late 80’s, early 90’s, when wealthy Japanese business men drove the market for Impressionist works of art into the stratosphere.   Quality was not of great concern to these Japanese buyers who were more interested in art as a status symbol than anything else.  I suspect that we are seeing a similar situation at the moment with wealthy Chinese buyers and Chinese artefacts.

China is undoubtedly a source of great wealth and appears to not have been as severely affected by the global financial crisis as the USA or England. There appears to be a large number of wealthy Chinese buyers who have enough disposable income to make completely unjustifiable and quite frankly absurd purchases. One cannot help but predict that China will continue to become an even strong force on the global market for art and fine objects in the near future. Be wary though, such wealth and careless spending is a recipe for super inflated prices.

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

Kees Van Dongen Revived and Revalued – artmarketblog.com

Kees Van Dongen Revived and Revalued – artmarketblog.com

KEES VAN DONGEN (1877-1968) Le narrateur et Albert Bloch à la maison close avec le cachet de l'atelier 'Van Dongen' (en bas à droite) aquarelle, gouache et traces de mine de plomb sur papier 24.5 x 21.2 cm. (9 5/8 x 8 3/8 in.) Exécuté vers 1946-47

KEES VAN DONGEN (1877-1968) Le narrateur et Albert Bloch à la maison close avec le cachet de l'atelier 'Van Dongen' (en bas à droite) aquarelle, gouache et traces de mine de plomb sur papier 24.5 x 21.2 cm. (9 5/8 x 8 3/8 in.) Exécuté vers 1946-47

The first major retrospective held in North America of work by Dutch born French artist Kees Van Dongen (1877-1968) was held at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts from the January 22 to April 19. This event is sure to have played a part in the exceptional results achieved by Christie’s for a collection of works by Van Dongen sold on the 20th of May as part of the Art Impressionniste Et Modern sale held in Paris. A total of ten watercolour paintings by Van Dongen were included in the sale the most interesting of which were eight works originally from the Proust collection which depict various different street and scenes of high society. Each of these scenes were painted by Van Dongen as illustrations for a famous book by French author Marcel Proust titled ‘A la recherche du Temps perdu’ (In Search of Lost Time). A total of 77 watercolours were painted by Van Dongen for the book which is a memoir/autobiographical novel that consists of seven volumes and a total of around 3200 pages. Making these paintings even more desirable is the fact that, according to Christie’s, they will be all included in the forthcoming Kees Van Dongen catalogue raisonne being prepared by Jacques Chalom Des Cordes under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Institute. It is noted in the catalogue that an attestion of inclusion will be given to the buyer of each work.

Each of the eight illustrations by Van Dongen for the book by Proust had estimates of either €25,000 – 35,000 or €20,000-30,000. The least successful of the paintings still managed to exceed the estimate of €25,000 – €35,000 selling for €49,000 and the most successful of the paintings sold for more than five times the €30,000 high estimate reaching an amazing €163,000. According to Christie’s the main buyers were American and European collectors. The results for all eight works were as follows:

Lot 41, Sale 5563, Paris
KEES VAN DONGEN (1877-1968)Le narrateur et Albert Bloch à la maison close
estimate: €25,000 – €35,000
price realized €121,000 ($165,029)

Lot 42, Sale 5563, Paris
KEES VAN DONGEN (1877-1968)Gilberte Swann et des amies au Bois de Boulogne
estimate: €25,000 – €35,000
price realized: €139,000 ($189,579)

Lot 43, Sale 5563, Paris
KEES VAN DONGEN (1877-1968)Les Permissionnaires
estimate: €20,000 – €30,000
price realized: €163,000 ($222,312)

Lot 44, Sale 5563, Paris
KEES VAN DONGEN (1877-1968)La nouvelle Gilberte
estimate: €25,000 – €35,000
price realized: €151,000 ($205,945)

Lot 45, Sale 5563, Paris
KEES VAN DONGEN (1877-1968)Le Mariage de Robert de Saint-Loup et de Gilberte Swann
estimate: €25,000 – €35,000
price realized: €49,000 ($66,830)

Lot 46, Sale 5563, Paris
KEES VAN DONGEN (1877-1968)Le Baron Charlus à la gare de Doncières
estimate: €20,000 – €30,000
price realized: €109,000 ($148,663)

Lot 47, Sale 5563, Paris
KEES VAN DONGEN (1877-1968)Le narrateur avec deux servantes
estimate: €20,000 – €30,000
price realized €61,000 ($83,196)

Lot 48, Sale 5563, Paris
KEES VAN DONGEN (1877-1968)Robert de Saint-Loup et le Prince de Borodino chez le barbier de Doncières
estimate: €20,000 – €30,000
price realized: €85,000 ($115,930)

The major retrospective just held in Canada and the catalogue raisonne of his work that is in the process of being completed are all major milestones for the Van Dongen and his work. As one would expect, the market has reacted positively to these major milestones as well as the highly desirable provenance and also the connection with author Marcel Proust and his book ‘A la recherche du Temps perdu’. Kees Van Dongen was a highly regarded artist during his career but has been somewhat overlooked since his death. Consequently, Van Dongen is an underrated and undervalued artist whose work is only just starting to receive the recognition that it deserves.

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

Dissecting Christie’s Feb 09 Art Auction Pt. 2 – artmarketblog.com

Dissecting Christie’s Feb 09 Art Auction Pt. 2 – artmarketblog.com

christies-feb-09A few weeks ago I posted the first half of the results from the Christie’s February 2009 Impressionist and Modern Art auction along with information relating to whether each lot had been sold at auction previously and if it had, when it was sold and how much it sold for. My purpose for doing this is to show that there is always far more to art auction results than the statistics provided by the auction houses will tell you. Just because an auction results in a high hammer total, high percentage of lots sold by value and a high percentage of lost sold by number doesn’t mean that the auction was a complete success. The statistics that the auction houses provides could be masking the fact that a majority of the works sold in the auction had been sold at auction before for a higher amount meaning that the people selling these works were selling at a loss. Although the purpose of the auction house is to sell works of art and not to ensure people make a profit on the works they are selling; the factors that may be beyond the control of the auction house, such as whether a person makes a profit or not, should still be used as a measure of the success of an auction. In the next post in this series I will look at the data I have provided in this and the previous post and provide an analysis of the data.

See part 1 of Dissecting Christie’s Feb 09 Art Auction here:

http://artmarketblog.com/2009/02/17/dissecting-christies-feb-09-art-auction-pt-1-artmarketblogcom/

Continuation of data relating to lots sold at the Christie’s February 09 Impressionist and Modern Art auction:

-Otto Mueller (1874-1930) Sitzender Akt in Landschaft, c.1927: Sold for £769,250 ($1,106,182) against an estimate of £650,000 – £850,000 ($926,250 – $1,211,250). No previous auction sale history

-Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) Dame en face mit plisiertem Kleid (Damenbildnis en face) , c. 1898: Sold for £1,385,250 ($1,991,990) against an estimate of £600,000 – £800,000 ($855,000 – $1,140,000). Previously sold by Christie’s on the 9th of November 2004 for USD$1,000,000 (GBP 524,700) against an estimate of USD$750,000 – 950,000 which represents an increase in price of $991,990

-Marino Marini (1901-1980) Gentiluomo a cavallo, c. 1937: Sold for £769,250 ($1,106,182) against an estimate of £700,000 – £1,000,000 ($997,500 – $1,425,000). No previous auction sale history

-Ossip Zadkine (1890-1967) Torse de femme, c. 1925: Sold for £421,250 ($605,758) against an estimate of £300,000 – £500,000 ($427,500 – $712,500). No previous auction sale history

-Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Les mariés aux deux bouquets, c. 1980: Sold for £541,250 ($778,318) against an estimate of £400,000 – £600,000 ($570,000 – $855,000). No previous auction sale history

-Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) Buste d’homme, 1971: Sold for £1,497,250 ($2,153,046) against an estimate of £1,200,000 – £1,800,000 ($1,710,000 – $2,565,000). No previous auction sale history

-Max Ernst (1891-1976) Temptation of St. Anthony, 1945: Sold for £97,250 ($139,846) against an estimate of £100,000 – £150,000 ($142,500 – $213,750). No previous auction sale history

-Julio González (1876-1942) Le rêve (Le baiser) 4/6, c. 1934: Sold for £577,250 ($830,086) against an estimate of £400,000 – £600,000 ($570,000 – $855,000). Number 5 of the edition of 6 was sold by Christie’s in 2002 for GBP 220,000 against an estimate of GBP 250,000 – 350,000 which represents a theoretical increase in value of GBP 377,000.

-André Masson (1896-1987) Le météore, 1939: Sold for £169,250 ($243,382) against an estimate of £120,000 – £180,000 ($171,000 – $256,500). No previous auction sale history.

-Joan Miró (1893-1983) Femme entendant chanter le coq aux éclats violets, 1972: Sold for £892,450 ($1,283,343) against an estimate of £500,000 – £700,000 ($712,500 – $997,500). No previous auction sale history.

-Paul Delvaux (1897-1994) Faubourg, 1956: Sold for £277,250 ($398,686) against an estimate of £200,000 – £300,000 ($285,000 – $427,500). Previously sold by Sotheby’s in 1975 – price unknown

-Francis Picabia (1879-1953) Geminis, 1936: Sold for £385,250 ($553,990) against an estimate of £120,000 – £180,000 ($171,000 – $256,500). Previously offered for sale at Christie’s Paris in May 2008 but failed to on an estimate of EUR 250,000 – 350,000. Previously sold by Sotheby’s in 1975 – price unknown.

-Joan Miró (1893-1983) Personnage, 1976: Sold for £481,250 ($692,038) against an estimate of £280,000 – £380,000 ($399,000 – $541,500). Previously sold by Sotheby’s in February 2004 for GBP 172,000 against an estimate of GBP 150,000 – 200,000 which represents an increase in price of GBP 309,000.

To be continued…..

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.