Bloomberg News

Dali, Klimt Paintings Fail to Sell at $124.7 Million Auction

February 09, 2012

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Feb. 8 (Bloomberg) -- High-value paintings by Gustav Klimt and Salvador Dali failed to sell at a $124.7 million auction in London tonight as wealthy buyers of Impressionist and modern art balked at over-ambitious estimates.

Klimt’s recently rediscovered 1901 canvas “Lakeshore with Birches,” valued at as much as 8 million pounds ($12.65 million), and Dali’s 1946 painting “Oasis,” with a top estimate of 6 million pounds, were among the casualties at a Sotheby’s auction that raised 78.8 million pounds with fees.

While decorative, museum-quality Impressionist and modern masterworks are fetching ever-higher prices, more routine pieces can struggle to sell at a time when an increasing number of investment-minded buyers are migrating to the more fashionable market for contemporary art.

“The quality wasn’t as good as at Christie’s,” the London- based art adviser Hector Paterson said in an interview. “And what Sotheby’s had was heftily estimated. The Klimt was a dull picture that was overpriced.”

Yesterday, Christie’s International took 135 million pounds from its equivalent material.

(Scott Reyburn writes about the art market for Muse, the arts and culture section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)

--Editors: Mark Beech, Richard Vines.

To contact the writer on the story: Scott Reyburn in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at

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