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The Art Of The Possible

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The spring thaw may have come a little to the art market, but the seasons are clearly changing.

A sale of contemporary and postwar art by Sotheby’s generated a fairly solid result on Tuesday. The sale's $47 million total including commission fell just shy of its low pre-sale estimate of $52 million, with 81 percent of the 48 lots on offer finding buyers.

Sotheby's officials said they were pleased by the result, despite the sale's having come in at less than half the take just six months ago.

"The contemporary art market is alive and well" and "has responded to the recalibration," said Tobias Meyer, Sotheby's worldwide head of contemporary art, and the auctioneer.

Meanwhile, impressionist and modern art sold well at Christie's last week at an auction that met expectations and provided a measure of relief to a tense art market battered by the global financial crisis.

That relief was palpable when applause broke out in Christie's salesroom after the hammer fell on the final lot of the sale, which took in nearly $103 million, safely above the low pre-sale estimate of $88 million.

If you're a collector this is good news. But if you're an investor not so much. None of the Fast Money traders are bullish on Sotheby’s stock.

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