Page last updated at 10:58 GMT, Wednesday, 6 May 2009 11:58 UK

Picasso fails to sell at auction

The Daughter of the Artist at Two-and-a-half Years with a Boat
The painting depicts Picasso's daughter Maya

A painting by Picasso and a Giacometti sculpture have failed to sell at auction in New York.

Picasso's The Daughter Of The Artist At Two-and-a-half Years With A Boat, and Giacometti's The Cat had been expected to fetch up to $24m (£16m) each.

But a spokesman for Sotheby's auction house said bidding stopped short of the artworks' reserve prices.

Sotheby's said 29 of the 36 artworks on offer sold for a total of $61m (£40m), well below their $119m (£79m) estimate.

Lower prices

Auctions of expensive artworks have seen weak sales in recent months amid the global financial crisis.

Fewer works are being put up for sale compared this time last year, with prices expected to be lower across the board.

Giacometti's The Cat
Giacometti's 1951 bronze sculpture was last seen at auction in 1975

"There are certainly buyers out there," said Simon Shaw, specialist in charge of the sale who highlighted strong prices for works by Monet, Pissarro and Renoir, all of which beat their high presale estimates.

He said that overall there was a "very positive message for the marketplace" but added the readjusting of the art market was an ongoing process.

The most robust bidding at Tuesday's sale was for an abstract painting by Piet Mondrian called Composition in Black and White, With Double Lines, which sold for more than $9m (£6m) - about twice its pre-sale estimate.

Another Picasso work, the 1971 painting A Woman With A Hat, will be offered for sale on Wednesday at rival auction house Christie's.

The painting is estimated to be worth between $6-$8m (£4m-£5.3m).

Print Sponsor

Picasso child work up for auction
23 Apr 09 |  Entertainment
Picasso painting pulled from sale
28 Oct 08 |  Arts & Culture

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific