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Sultry Lover Sets Record at Chilly New York City Art Auction

HighLifeChannel November 14, 2019

As an arctic blast sent shivers through New York on Tuesday evening, champagne flowed at Sothe’s , where art dealers and collectors gathered for a sale of Impressionist and modern art.

The auction raised $208.9 million, within the estimated presale range, but down 34% from a similar event last November. Rival Christie’s Impressionist and modern art evening sale  on Nov. 11 was down 31% from a year ago, at $191.9 million. Both auctions were lackluster yet efficient, with 84% of works sold at Sotheby’s and 90% at Christie’s. The houses lowered reserves, allowing many pieces to go below their estimates.

 The top lot at Sotheby’s was Claude Monet’s “Charing Cross Bridge,” which went for $27.6 million. It was estimated at $20 million to $30 million. (Final prices include fees; estimates don’t.)
 It was Sotheby’s first high-stakes sale since going private last month, with recently installed Chief Executive Officer Charles Stewart, a newbie to the art market, in attendance. At one point, a telephone line dropped during a crucial bidding moment; at another, the lights went out for a few seconds. “Cost cuts?” art dealer Josh Baer said jokingly, alluding to the anticipated strategy of the company’s new owner, French telecom tycoon Patrick Drahi.

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