Christie's $264M Auction Stuns Art Market

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2009 8:00 PM CST
A rare bottle of perfume from 1921 is displayed at Christie's on January 29, 2009 in London, England.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Celebrity power revived the art market in Paris for at least one night, the Wall Street Journal reports. Despite the economy, a giddy atmosphere prevailed at Christie's as bidders battled over blue-chip works from Yves Saint Laurent's personal collection, dishing out $32 million more than expected. Only a moody, Cubist work by Picasso failed to excite and went unsold.

"This was an exceptional sale in exceptional circumstances," one expert said, pointing to Laurent's name and classic works by artists like Piet Mondrian and Marcel Duchamp. "The market is still tough and buyers are still more discerning, finally." The art market has sagged since last fall, dragging down sales at Sotheby's and Christie's by 16.8% over the past 2 years.
(Read more Christie's stories.)