Collectors seeking iconic works at the Old Masters sales in London this week have led to uneven results: at Sotheby’s a bidder paid $47.9 million for “Head of a Young Apostle,” by Raphael; at Christie’s, only 29 out of 54 lots sold, bringing in $18.6 million, just over low estimate. “The name is not enough. It has to be a top example by an important master,” said Jonathan Green of the Richard Green Gallery in London. Additional speculation is that international, non-Western buyers are not interested in the historical subject matter from a cultural standpoint.
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