Sotheby’s stock plummeted today after last night’s sale was well under the low estimate of $355.6 million at $269.7 million. As of 4pm today, shares are down to $35.84, a change of 28.42%. Yesterday’s closing price was $50.07 and opened at $36.01.
According to an article on Bloomberg, the last time Sotheby’s sold short of their low estimate was May 2005, when it sold $91 million, under the $127 million low estimate. Yesterday’s miss of $224.5 million was catastrophic in comparison.
Bank of America changed their rating for the stock to “neutral” to “buy” this morning, citing a “cloudier macro outlook for the art market.”
The much-publicized The Fields (Wheat Fields) by Vincent van Gogh failed to attract bidders for it’s $28 million estimate. Another high-profile painting, Le Repose de la Danseuse by Matisse failed to sell for the $6 million estimate, despite the Matisse record set at Christie’s Monday night for $33.6 million.
Gauguin’s Te Poipoi (The Morning), a work completed during his time in Tahiti, sold for $39.2 million (despite a $60 million high estimate) to Hong Kong collector Joseph Lau whose telephone bid was the only one. A Picasso sculpture, Tete de Femme (Dora Maar) sold for $29.2 million, just missing it’s $30 million estimate. The seller, a private European collector, tried to sell the same piece at Art Basel Miami Beach last year for $30 million via New York and Geneva dealer Jan Krugier.
Attendees last night were hesitant to declare the bubble burst, and blamed the slow sale on the selection offered by the auction house. Dealer Christophe Van de Weghe reportedly said, “People were saying the estimates were too high.”
According to an article in the New York Times, Manhattan dealer Andrew Fabricant said, “Every piece that didn’t sell had a logical reason. This was not some watershed moment in the market. It’s what happens when the pricing is extremely aggressive and the material is less than stellar.”