It’s tempting to say that when an Imp/mod evening sale makes significantly less than its equivalent the previous year, there’s a problem with the Imp/mod market. But perhaps the trouble in the category is confined to Sotheby’s, whose CEO, Tad Smith, predicted in an earnings call to shareholders last year that in 2019, sales will be “a bit more subdued.”
Things do not seem to be subdued a few blocks south in London’s Mayfair district, at the King Street salesroom of Sotheby’s archrival. Christie’s is set to sell between £206 million and £272 million ($269 million and $355 million) worth of Imp/mod works this week, which could make it the best-performing week of sales in one category outside of New York, for any single house. Unlike Sotheby’s, Christie’s has not one eight-figure lot this week, but several, four of which come from a single collection said to be a £100 million consignment.
The Imp/mod auctions in London continue Wednesday with day sales at Sotheby’s—which are estimated to bring in between £18.3 million and £26.7 million ($23.8 million and $34.8 million)—and, later, evening sales at Christie’s.