The Results are In

…but I don’t mean the elections. There were so many astonishing results in the NY auctions this week.  For the sake of brevity (and diplomacy), I’ll limit my comments to the two paintings I previewed (below) as well as one particular drawing.  Let’s start with the drawing, by far the most riveting result:

Le Viol (The Rape, 1940), pen, brush and ink on paper, 38 x 46 cm, was estimated at $4-6M but fetched $13,522,500.  This result speaks for itself, though I’m not exactly sure what it says.  Except that it breaks the world’s record by a mile for a black-and-white work on paper by Picasso.  It also comes in at the heels of the third priciest Picasso work on paper of all, including those in color.  But the three more expensive and more colorful works were all considerably larger.  This is more expensive than those three for its size, and is the second most expensive Picasso work on paper of all for its size (independent of whether the calculations are performed with the area or with the longer of the height or width).   This record is perhaps all the more remarkable considering its dark subject matter, in contrast to the more placid collection of acrobats, harlequins, and women, with the occasional still life and animal thrown in, of the next 100 contenders.

On the other hand, the Marie-Thérèse and Françoise discussed below (posted on 10-16-12) sold close to their low estimates for $41,522,500 and $5,234,500, respectively.  I think the lucky buyer(s) of these two paintings should be prosecuted for theft.

In the Eye of the Storm

My hats off to the Yanks!  You are truly irrepressible!  These have been the toughest days any region of the country has faced since NY was hit by 9/11 and New Orleans and vicinity by Katrina.  As a result, the NY Stock Exchange was closed for two days this week, but it took but one day for the art market to resume in full force, at least uptown where the floodwaters were not as severe.  Auctions this week went on as scheduled or were delayed by no more than a day.  Downtown, where the depredations of the storm were more severe, repairs are already underway.  It is truly amazing how quickly you jumped back and resumed business as usual.  What a testament to your incredible resilience!

As an aside, the lightning-fast rebound of the art market could also be viewed as a testament to the depth of the commitment to collecting.  This can only be attributed to the profound meaning and joy with which art enriches our lives and makes one’s pain so much more bearable.

Perhaps the only good thing that could be said about Sandy is the unexpected love-fest she engendered between Barack and the conservative heavyweights Bloomberg and Chris Christie  (and, if not of similar importance but certainly vital to the individuals involved, the great boon to NY conservators as a result of the Chelsea flood).

Best wishes to you all as you recover and rebuild!