Sotheby’s Evening Auction Hits $700 Million Running Total

The recent Sotheby’s Modern Evening Auction in New York made headlines in the art world, adding a whopping $700 million to the prestigious auction house’s running total.

The event, which showcased an impressive array of artworks, achieved remarkable results, particularly for the works of the iconic Pablo Picasso.

Sotheby's Evening Auction Hits $700 Million Running Total
Pablo Picasso, Compotier et Guitare

A Record-Setting Start

The evening kicked off with an electrifying start as a 1962 Ferrari GTO fetched a staggering $51.7 million. This sale set a new record for the highest price ever paid for a Ferrari at an auction, underlining the enduring allure of classic automobiles in the world of collectors.

Here are some key figures from this evening’s auctions:

  1. The total combined sales for the evening amounted to an impressive $275,055,300. This figure comfortably fell within the estimated range of $239.4 million to $308 million, reflecting the strong demand for the featured artworks.
  2. The sale of the 1962 Ferrari GTO for $51.7 million marked a historic moment, making it the most valuable Ferrari ever sold at auction.
  3. The Modern Evening Auction itself generated $223,355,300 in sales, within the estimated range of $179.4 million to $248 million.
  4. This success follows the remarkable $425 million achieved last week for the Emily Fisher Landau collection at Sotheby’s, reinforcing the auction house’s dominant position in the art market.
  5. Sotheby’s global Contemporary and Modern Art year-to-date sales have now reached an impressive $2,656,070,387, showing a nearly 10% increase compared to the previous year. With over $400 million in sales still scheduled for this week, the outlook remains exceptionally positive.

A Spotlight on Picasso and Monet

The international appeal of the auction was evident as collectors from Asia played a significant role, acquiring more than 20% of the total sale value. Notable acquisitions included Claude Monet’s “Peupliers au bord de l’Epte,” Marc Chagall’s “Au-dessus de la ville,” Paul Klee’s “Fenster im garten,” and an underbid for Monet’s “Le Moulin de Limetz.” This global participation further underscores the global reach of Sotheby’s auctions.

Sotheby's Evening Auction Hits $700 Million Running Total
Claude Monet, Le Moulin de Limetz
Est $12,000,000 – 18,000,000

Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet took centre stage during the auction. Five Picasso works achieved a remarkable total of $46.9 million, contributing significantly to the $247 million in sales for Picasso’s works over the past week. Additionally, four works by Claude Monet achieved an impressive $69.8 million in sales.

Supporting Museums and Institutions

The auction also featured works sold to benefit museums and institutions, totalling $38.6 million. Notable sales included Balthus’ “La Patience,” which sold for $14.7 million, with proceeds designated for future acquisitions at the Art Institute of Chicago. Mark Rothko’s “Untitled” also made a significant impact, selling for $23.9 million, with the proceeds directed towards supporting the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.

Sotheby's Evening Auction Hits $700 Million Running Total
Pablo Picasso, Le Cirque
Est $1,500,000 – 2,500,000

Deep bidding characterized the auction, with enthusiastic collectors vying for prized artworks. Notable bidding wars included Claude Monet’s “Le Moulin de Limetz,” with six bidders, and Hedda Sterne’s “Roads #7,” which set a record for the artist with five bidders. Multiple lots elsewhere also attracted as many as four bidders, including works by Pablo Picasso and Paul Cezanne.

Top Lots of the Night

Several artworks stood out as top lots of the evening:

  • Claude Monet’s “Le Moulin de Limetz” made its auction debut and achieved an astounding $25.6 million, surpassing its low estimate. This work, previously owned by the prominent collectors Bertha and Potter Palmer, remained in their collection for 130 years.
  • Monet’s “Peupliers au bord de l’Epte, temps couvert” from 1891 also performed admirably, selling for $30.8 million.
  • Mark Rothko’s “Untitled” achieved $23.9 million, reinforcing the artist’s enduring appeal in the art market.
  • Pablo Picasso’s “Compotier et Guitar” fetched $23.5 million, solidifying its position as one of the most valuable still lifes by the artist.

The auction provided a comprehensive view of Picasso’s artistic journey, featuring seven works that spanned from the early days of analytical cubism to his later experiments in the 1960s, with prices ranging from $13.6 million to $4.7 million.

The auction also witnessed an exciting eight-minute bidding battle for Marc Chagall’s “Au-dessus de la ville,” which achieved an impressive $15.6 million. This remarkable result marked the third-highest price ever achieved for the artist at auction, highlighting the enduring popularity of Chagall’s work.

Sotheby's Evening Auction Hits $700 Million Running Total
Claude Monet, L’Aiguille de Cléopâtre et Charing Cross Bridge
Est $4,000,000 – 6,000,000

In conclusion, Sotheby’s Modern Evening Auction in New York proved to be a resounding success, surpassing all expectations with a total sales figure of $700 million. The outstanding performance of Picasso and Monet’s works, along with other masterpieces, captivated the art world and solidified Sotheby’s reputation as a leading force in the global art market. This event not only celebrated the beauty of art but also demonstrated the enduring appeal of fine art auctions in today’s world.

Images: Sotheby’s

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