Outred noted that despite these setbacks, Thursday night was the second-highest total ever achieved at a Frieze week auction, and he projected confidence going into next month’s bellwether sales in New York.
’s Brett Gorvy—who was, until December 2016
, Christie’s chairman and international head of post-war and contemporary art—similarly stressed in an interview later in the evening that the fates of the Koons and Richter works were not a sea change in the market. Rather, he placed blame on consignors demanding price thresholds that were simply unrealistic.
“They had bids on both pictures, but were just short of the reserve, and that’s part of the problem where sellers have very high expectations,” Gorvy said. “They were two works that were overpriced, but they had bidders. If there was no one bidding, perhaps, then, you could say it was a change in the market.”
Gorvy instead pointed to the surprising amount of bidding on works by
as a sign of the market’s strength. Oehlen’s painting Stier mit loch
(“Bull with hole,” 1986) achieved a new record for the artist when it attracted bidding from multiple specialists on the phone and paddles in the room, eventually selling for a hammer price of £3 million, or £3.6 million ($4.7 million) with the buyer’s premium.