The art market has bounced back amazingly well from the downturn, and auction houses are aiming to sell $1 billion in Impressionist and modern works at two major sales next week. A dozen works are expected to fetch close to $20 million apiece, a price the auction houses couldn't reach for even a single piece in spring sales two years ago, reports the Wall Street Journal. Huge fortunes were lost during the downturn, but dealers say plenty of new investors don't seem especially worried.
Picasso's Women Reading is expected to go for at least $25 million at Sotheby's, while Christie's expects $20 million for Claude Monet's Poplars, which sold for $7 million a decade ago. Dealers say buyers are especially interested in big, brightly colored works, and ones with subjects like love instead of more obscure themes. "The speed of the art market's recovery is astonishing, but it's a differently revived market," a spokesman for the advisory firm Artvest says. "The lesson of the crash was to do your homework. Collectors feel wiser for the experience." (Read more Pablo Picasso stories.)