>> A Rodin sculpture setting a new record for the artist at Sotheby's spring auction, fetching $20.4 million. But the marble piece was one of the few bright spots at Monday's sale. Sotheby's impressionist and modern art portfolio took in a total of $144 million, missing the low pre-sale estimate of about 165 million.
This spring auction marked by a relatively high unsold rate with Sothebyy's managing to sell only 66% of its offerings, signalling an art market that many fear is softening. The sale's expected attraction Andre Derain's Les Voiles Rouges, estimated at $15 to $20 million, failed to find a buyer. The disappointing auction comes as Sotheby's on Monday reported a first quarter loss with sales plunging 35% from a year earlier, putting pressure on CEO Tad Smith to deliver at Sotheby's contemporary sale on Wednesday.
The tone of the spring auction season, perhaps set by Christie's with a Sunday sale called Bound to Fail, with a more modest pre-sale estimate of $60 million, it was a relative success with this wax and resin Hitler selling for more than 17 million.