Not surprisingly, last week's Impressionist and modern art sales in New York were unable to live up to the price estimates set months ago, when the full scale of the credit crisis had yet to affect the upper end of the art market. In the summer it seemed possible these sales would make at least $800 million (£508 million) - the same amount as this time last year. But by the time the art had been hung, billions of dollars had been lost in financial markets worldwide. As Marc Porter, president of Christie's America, put it before the sales: "Prices of assets have fallen - stocks, gold, oil, real estate - and it would be unrealistic to expect art to be immune to the market's pressures."Read the Telegraph story here.
The extent of the downturn, from $800 million to a final count of $470 million by Friday night, looked bad. Seven lots estimated to fetch more than $10 million each did not sell, and the total accumulated was the equivalent to the amount fetched in New York two and a half years ago.