The most important single owner sale ever to hit the auction block comes up next week at Christies New York. The world-renowned collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller has a number of major masterpieces worthy of the best museums, and many other very high-quality works for which top collectors will compete. There are also a number of paintings below $1 million and even $100,000 that are wonderful. And there are, naturally, some works which are more mundane and not desirable.
I was told by a senior expert at Christies that all estimates were made simply on the quality of the works themselves. They did not build in any ‘Rockefeller factor’, but expect that is worth an extra two bids per lot, with more for the exceptional pieces.
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There have never been more opportunities to buy fine art and be well informed, given the extraordinary range of art fairs, auctions, dealers and galleries - all accessible in person and online, as well as the increasingly informative online art platforms. What to choose is the problem.
The principle three auction houses in London all held their major sales in Modern British Art last week. Although the auctions only represent one aspect of this thriving market it is still useful to analyse their results to take stock of general trends and collecting habits.