LONDON—The Christie’s and Sotheby’s auctions of Impressionist and modern art in London, from Feb. 4-6, achieved a total of £271.1 million ($531 million), up considerably from £243.2 million ($479.5 million) last June. The sales were overshadowed by European buyers, and demand from Russian collectors was particularly evident. A weak U.S. dollar fueled a drop in activity by U.S. buyers, but this didn’t appear to slow down the pace of record prices or hurt overall totals.
On the contemporary art front, Sotheby’s opted to hold a stand-alone sale week late in February, and Phillips de Pury & Company followed suit. Christie’s postwar and contemporary art sales, on Feb 6-7, provided the sole focus for this market in London. Its evening postwar and contemporary sale scored £72.9 million ($143 million), while a day sale realized £18.3 million ($35.9 million), and the collection of the late R.B. Kitaj, also presented as a Part Two sale, fetched £6.2 million ($12.2 million), for a total of £97.5 million ($191.3 million).