…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.