The auctions in New York hit a new ceiling for the art market. Sotheby’s wasn’t able to sell a portrait of Picasso belonging to William Achenbaum, victim of Bernie Madoff and head of the hotel group Gansevoort based in Miami Beach.

The Madoff effect is also being felt by Christie’s. The discreet performance of its closest competitor inspired a less ambitious policy on the part of the auctioneer of the property of François Pinault (FNAC, Gucci, Au Printemps). His experts sold a Picasso of the collection of Jerome Fischer, founder of the shoe company Nine West, with an estimated maximum of $18 million for $14 million.

Is it a sign of the times? The conservative bases and logical prices result in an optimal equation for recovering economies. As we anticipated, there were six hands up for an early landscape by Monet painted in Argentuil, that besides being beautiful, had the origin of the Havemeyer family. The piece sold for $3.4 million, twice its estimated price.

The results indicate that the shoppers have become selective. There are no longer the billionaires of the fast and easy check; the financial tsunami and Madoff have decimated them. A cat in bronze by Giacometti did not sell, but a painting by Mondrian, with a price estimated at $5 million sold for $9.2 million.

The geometric admired by the Argentine Luis Tomasello is rising. Two months back, in the auction of the Saint Laurent collection, The Louvre Museum bought a Mondrian for the new headquarters in Abu Dhabi. This is the kind of information that is quoted in the art world. Meanwhile, in Buenos Aires, American Express prepares to buy in arteBa, as in every year, a work of art for the National Museum of Fine Arts.