At The Spectator, Richard Cork tells when he was in the room for the first ever painting to sell for £1 million at auction. Velázquez’s Portrait of Juan de Pareja.
It started at £315,000, and took just 130 seconds. After reaching £1 million, the bidding did not slacken. If anything, it strengthened, and eventually shot past £2 million. It was finally knocked down for a staggering £2,310,000, almost tripling the previous world auction record for a painting. Even the most hardened dealers sitting in the audience breathed gasps of disbelief. Then there was a spontaneous burst of applause. The auctioneer left his rostrum, the painting was hastily removed, and sheer pandemonium broke out.
Not quite an airport line read, maybe more like an AirTrain read. Anyway, enjoy.