NEW YORK — A Pablo Picasso painting of his young daughter and an Alberto Giacometti sculpture of a cat, each estimated to sell for $16 million to $24 million, failed to find buyers at auction Tuesday as the art world struggles with the global financial crisis.
The Sotheby's auction house said bids for the two artworks at its impressionist and modern art sale fell below their reserve prices.Picasso's "The Daughter of the Artist at 2 1/2 with a Boat" was painted in 1938 and remained in his possession until his death. A private collector has owned it since the 1980s.
Giacometti's "The Cat" last was seen at auction in 1975. The 1951 bronze sculpture, depicting a feline figure on a pedestal, is one of eight editions. It was consigned by a European collector.The uncertain economy has played a part in art auction houses' decision this spring to offer fewer lots, lower pre-sale estimates and works by well-known artists and private estates that haven't been seen at auction in decades. In the fall, Sotheby's and rival Christie's took beatings when many works didn't sell or sold below their estimates.
Sotheby's said that of the 36 impressionist and modern works of art on auction Tuesday, 29 were sold, for a total of $61.3 million, well off their $118.8 million estimate. Last spring, Sotheby's offered 52 lots, which sold for $235.4 million.The heaviest bidding Tuesday was for an abstract painting by Piet Mondrian, "Composition in Black and White, with Double Lines," which sold for nearly $9.3 million. The painting, which has been on loan since 1967 at the Dallas Museum of Art, fetched almost twice its high estimate of $5 million.
Three works belonging to an heir of the renowned collection of Louisine and Henry Osborne Havemeyer, whose many works were gifted to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, also sold well.
Camille Pissarro's "Flood in Pontoise," estimated at up to $1.2 million, brought just under $3 million, while his "The Female Goat Keeper," estimated at up to $1.8 million, fetched $2.5 million.Claude Monet's "Sailboat on the River Seine, Argenteuil," estimated at up to $1.8 million, sold for $3.5 million. The small landscape was painted at Monet's home outside Paris in 1872.
One of a group of deco-style paintings by Tamara de Lempicka, consigned by noted German fashion designer Wolfgang Joop, "Portrait of Marjorie Ferry," from 1932, sold for $4.9 million, a record for the artist, Sotheby's said. It didn't identify the previous record.
Another painting by that artist, "Portrait of Duchess de la Salle," from 1925, realized $4.45 million. Both were estimated at $4 million to $6 million.Sotheby's didn't reveal the identities of the buyers or say if the sale prices included its commission.Christie's sale of impressionist and modern art was scheduled for Wednesday evening.
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