There were no outright yawns at this spring's Modern and Impressionist evening sales at Christie's and Sotheby's, but sales totals from this week's auctions came up short of both houses' presale expectations.
Christie's took in $156 million for its Wednesday evening sale, $6 million below its presale estimate, while Sotheby's $170.5 million on Tuesday night was at the low end of its estimated sales range.
"The atmosphere was flat," says art consultant Abigail Asher, co-founder of art advisory firm Guggenheim Asher Associates. "Most of it wasn't anything anyone was going to stretch for."
Picasso's "Femmes Lisant” sold for $21.4 million at Sotheby's on Tuesday night, but the portrait of his lover Marie-Therese Walter and another woman reading fell well short of the low estimate of $25 million.
Christie's marquee offering was a colorful 1905 fauvist landscape by Maurice de Vlamnick, called ''Paysage de Banlieue.''