Twitter. FireEye. Nextflix. Picasso?
Along with the high-flying momentum stocks that have come crashing back to earth in recent weeks, we might soon be adding some of the highest-priced artists like Picasso, Monet and Degas.
Wednesday night's impressionist-modern sale at Sotheby's was one of the worst since the financial crisis. More than 30 percent of the lots—or 21 pieces—failed to sell at their minimum price.
Of the 50 lots that sold, nearly half went for less than $3 million, a surprise disappointment in a market where $20 million paintings had supposedly become commonplace. The auction total, of $219 million, barely met the estimated range of between $218 million and $318 million.
Read MoreWarhol's lost computer art recovered
Art is not the stock market, of course. And skeptics have been calling the art market a bubble for years, only to see it soar higher. But the Sotheby's sale, along with a mixed sale by Christie's on Tuesday night, suggests that art prices and expectations may have gotten ahead of themselves.
And like momentum stocks, the idea that works of art work increase in price regardless of their inherent value may be showing its limits.