Thursday, May 04, 2006

Guarantees in Action

Last week I wrote about Sotheby's increased use of "guarantees" to attract works to sell at auction. Carol Vogel's report on last night's sale, which featured a Picasso which went for $95 million and total sales of more than $207 million, included the following:

"Experts say Sotheby's had given the sellers .. a guarantee — an undisclosed minimum sum regardless of the outcome of the sale — of $53 million. And the Picasso wasn't the only work in last night's sale with a big guarantee: for the last week, dealers have been saying that Sotheby's had invested $80 million in guarantees. Dangerous as it seemed, the tactic paid off."

There was one other art law connection last night: "Tyco International was selling two paintings that had been at the center of a scandal when its former chairman and chief executive, L. Dennis Kozlowski, was indicted in 2002 on charges that he evaded more than $1 million in New York State taxes by having art dealers ship empty boxes to Tyco's offices in New Hampshire while having messengers deliver the paintings to his Fifth Avenue apartment."