Auction Results: MoMA: Pictorialism into Modernism, October 5-12, 2017 @Christie’s Online

It was a pretty rough outing for the photography offered in the recent Pictorialism into Modernism online sale at Christie’s. While the lots all came with a MoMA permanent collection provenance, the buyer interest was tepid at best. The overall Buy-In Rate came in over 48% and 50% of the lots that sold did so at prices underneath their low estimates. Not surprisingly, the Total Sale Proceeds slid in with a thud, at just more than half the aggregate pre-sale low estimate.

The summary statistics are below (all results include the buyer’s premium):

Summary Statistics
Total Lots 58
Pre Sale Low Total Estimate $816000
Pre Sale High Total Estimate $1222000
Total Lots Sold 30
Total Lots Bought In 28
Buy In % 48.28%
Total Sale Proceeds $436500

Here is the breakdown (using the Low, Mid, and High definitions from the preview post):

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 29
Low Sold 17
Low Bought In 12
Low Buy In % 41.38%
Total Low Estimate $170000
Total Low Sold $89625
Mid Total Lots 23
Mid Sold 12
Mid Bought In 11
Mid Buy In % 47.83%
Total Mid Estimate $582000
Total Mid Sold $246875
Total High Lots 6
High Sold 1
High Bought In 5
High Buy In % 83.33%
Total High Estimate $470000
Total High Sold $100000

The top lot by High estimate was lot 123, Clarence White, Untitled, 1921, estimated at $80000-120000 (image in preview post); it did not sell. The top outcome of the sale was lot 109, Constantin Brancusi, Princesse X, 1916, estimated at $60000-80000, sold at $100000 (image above, via Christie’s).

Only 50.00% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 3 positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate) (images above via Christie’s):

Lot 128, Alfred Stieglitz, Three images from Picturesque Bits of New York And Other Studies, 1894-1897estimated at $1000-1500, sold at $5625

Lot 129, Alfred Stieglitz, Winter, Fifth Avenue, 1893/1897estimated at $2000-3000, sold at $22500

Lot 155, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Vortograph, c1917/1958estimated at $10000-15000, sold at $43750 (image in preview post)

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

Read more about: Alfred Stieglitz, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Constantin Brancusi, Christie's

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