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Art auctions ring the bell for peak global liquidity

Leonardo da Vinci has special cachet. What is striking about the Christie’s soiree in New York last week was not so much the $450m paid for his rediscovered Salvator Mundi but the prices fetched by everyone else.

Buyers forked out $46m for vermilion spirals from the Bacchus series by Cy Twombly, executed 12 years ago with a paint-drenched brush on a pole. Soothing sands called Saffron by Mark Rothko fetched $32m.

The week’s haul at Christie’s and Sotheby’s topped $1.5bn, with Asian buyers snapping up Monets. Fernand Leger’s abstract Contrastes de Formes fetched $62m.

It screams late-cycle liquidity, recalling Japan’s impressionist fever in the late Eighties before the Nikkei collapsed and the bottom fell out of the art market. Read more

2018-10-29T09:52:18+00:00