Paris Biennale Christie's Sale Results

October 12 2020

Image of Paris Biennale Christie's Sale Results

Picture: The Art Newspaper

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Art Newspaper has published an article on the disappointing results of the recent Paris Biennale sale at Christie's. The auction generated a total of €1.5m (including commission) with only 21 out of 91 lots sold. The presale estimate was between €7m to €10m.

There were a few impressive results, including the above Virgin and Child with a Parrot which made 150,000 over its 120k - 180k estimate.

The article quotes a French trade source who said:

this was a good idea that went wrong…for this to have been a success, the auction needed to include some exceptional works.

However, in defense of the sale Biennale board member Marella Rossi Mosseri said:

There were some exceptional pieces. The [sale] result was not the aim, the aim was to get people talking about La Biennale. The [initiative] also brought people into the galleries.


As I pointed out in June, making a success out of dealer lead auctions isn't always as easy as it might first appear. Buyers generally tend to like fresh-on-the-market pictures, rather than ones that dealers may have already presented at several fairs. Equally, if the estimates aren't tempting enough, as the mark-up dealers add on for costs such as restoration etc., then this may prevent bidders from getting involved.

On the other hand, and as this blog points out, the market for sleepers seems to be as vibrant as ever!

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