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Skittish art collectors with shrunken fortunes continue to balk at the prospect of picking up expensive artwork: At last night's sale of impressionist and modern art at Christie's, works by Matisse, Monet and Renoir had no takers, and the auction house's owner, French billionaire François Pinault, looked on as sluggish bidding led to lots going for bargain prices or not at all.

Of course, a bargain in this context means $18 million for a 1934 Picasso, which one lucky buyer snapped up with no competition, and there was at least one mega-sale, a Juan Gris still life, for which a private dealer paid $20.8 million. Overall the tally was $146.7 million, barely half what Christie's had hoped for.

Christie's Impressionist Sale Falls Short; 44% Fails to Sell [Bloomberg]
Gris Sets Record in Slow Christie’s Auction [NYT]