A year ago, Sotheby’s sold a 1976 triptych by Francis Bacon for $86.3 million. On Tuesday night, Sotheby’s entire contemporary art auction brought in $47 million, just more than half of what the Bacon piece had fetched.Vastly diminished in both offerings and price levels, the sale reflected what Tobias Meyer, the worldwide director of Sotheby’s contemporary art department and the evening’s auctioneer, described as “a recalibrated market.” That the evening’s total fell below its $51.8 million low estimate did not seem to matter. Although selective, some collectors were still in the mood to shop…After the auction, many in the audience were discussing how drastically the market has changed. “Buyers haven’t lost their grip on the market,” Mr. Gagosian noted. “They’re in charge.”
By Carol Vogel, May 13, 2009 NYT

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