Thursday, May 11, 2006

Can't Win Them All

As a follow-up to my earlier posts on Sotheby's increasing use of guarantees to attract business, I notice that Carol Vogel's report on last night's auction included the following:

"Last night's sale featured 'Sinking Sun,' a 1964 sunset scene by Roy Lichtenstein being sold by Joseph Helman, the Manhattan dealer. ... Sotheby's gave Mr. Helman a guarantee — an undisclosed minimum sum promised to a seller regardless of the outcome of a sale — that experts say was about $17.5 million. If so, Sotheby's lost money on the deal. The painting had only one bidder — Dominique Levy, a partner in the Manhattan gallery L&M Arts — and she bought it for $15.6 million."