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Taubman American Art Evening Sale Misses Low Estimate at Sotheby’s

Is the auction house in hot water?

The Great Florida Sunset,   Martin Johnson Heade,   1887.


Would A. Alfred Taubman roll over in his grave if he knew what his collection was putting his former firm through? The auctions of the late real estate developer and former Sotheby’s Chairman’s art collection continued last night at the York Avenue auction house, and results were again milk-warm at best.

While on its surface the sale was not a disaster—the sell through rate was 74 percent by lot—many works failed to meet their low estimate. There were audible murmurs on the bidding floor, as some works sold for well below the low estimate, such as The Great Florida Sunset by Martin Johnson Heade, which, though it broke a record for the artist at auction, had a low estimate of $7 million and sold for $5.85 million including the buyer’s premium.

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