Robert Frank | @robtfrank
"Chariot," however, may be even more coveted. Many art historians consider it to be Giacometti's masterpiece, and one of the seminal works of modern art. Giacometti made only six "Chariots," and only two remain in private hands. The one Sotheby's is selling had been with the same collector for more than 40 years, making it even more valuable.
The spring auctions were strong, but the global economy has weakened substantially since then, especially in China, Russia and Latin America. Newly rich collectors from emerging markets have been fueling much of the bidding at the top of the market, and slower wealth creation could lead to less heated bidding.
At the same time, financial markets have become more volatile, leading to less investing confidence among the very wealthy. Dealers and art experts say the post-war and contemporary market, supported by Warhols, Basquiats, Lichtensteins and Rothkos, is especially fragile given the huge run-up in prices in recent years. Dealers also said this year's sales are flooded with works for sale.