December 2, 2008

£10 Deal @ Christie's

Christie’s International sold for £10 (RM55) an artwork targeted to fetch £2000 in London last week.

When exasperated auctioneer gestured toward the piece Troika Leaving the Farmstead and asked, “Will anyone give me 10 pounds?”, Nikita Lobanov-Rostovsky a prince, snapped up what he called “the bargain of the century,”. In addition to the hammer price, he paid 3 pounds in commission on the undated ink-on-paper picture by an unidentified Russian artist, one of 117 Russian 19th- and 20th-century artworks. Nikita Lobanov-Rostovsky is one of the most prominent Russian art collectors in Europe.

55% of lots offered sold for a combined £7.9 million Wednesday. The company’s pre-sale low estimate was £14.5 million. The auction was one of the most dismal weeks of Russian-art sales in London in nearly a decade. The nine-year Russian art boom, spurred by billionaires like Viktor Vekselberg, fuelled by record oil and metal prices, is over. Christie’s may lower the estimates at its next Russian art auction in New York next April by up to 20%.

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