as the Christo and the Goldie but there were also plenty of works that didn’t offer that rarity or desirable attribute that buyers are looking for. Yes, the works seemed fairly priced and were undoubtedly very nice works but when there are so many exceptional works coming onto the market buyers are spoilt for choice and in the current market climate the exceptional works are what buyers want.
The overall top lots of the sale were the Jeffrey Smart from the Hicks collection, a fantastic work by Bill Hammond titled ‘Jingle Jangle Morning’ which sold for $230,000 (hammer price) against an estimate of $200-$230,000, a beautiful portrait by Goldie titled ‘Te Aitu Te Irikau’ which achieved $100,000 against an estimate of $120-$150,000 and an interesting work depicting Christo’s failed plans to wrap the Sydney Opera House which topped the high estimate reaching $90,000 at the hammer against a $50-80,000 estimate.
Deutscher and Hackett should be congratulated for their efforts in a tough market with plenty of competition. At this point I want to emphasise that the auction houses aren’t really to blame for poor results because they can only sell what people are willing to sell through them and are influenced by the wants and needs of the vendor when it comes to pricing and reserves. All the auction houses can do is take the good with the bad and not get discouraged.
**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.