Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Paddle Puzzle

I attended Whytes art auction in the RDS last Monday for an hour or so to gauge the temperature of the art market. There was an enormous crowd there and the RTE cameras were in attendance. Business seemed good and in addition to the usual suspects (Le Brocquy, Dan O'Neill, Teskey etc.) a number of pieces went for surprisingly good prices. a Seamus O'Colmain of a Dublin street scene fetched €19,000 from a guide price of €3,000 and a clinical Liam Belton got €29,000 (guide price €20,000). There was an exquisite small Shinnors ("Evening Study at Window III") that went for €16,000.

One surprising feature of the auction was that of the 60 lots I witnessed, none were withdrawn. This seems unprecedented to me. However looking at Whytes web site today I notice that a number of pieces that seemed to have been sold (William Scott's "Children in Street", Tony O'Malley's "Bahamas" , Le Brocquy's "Resurrection" and an early Teskey for example) are actually listed as unsold. Curious eh. Each of these pieces had a paddle number assigned at the auction - usually an indication of being sold. Maybe it's a way of avoiding negative vibes at an auction.