The November 13, 2017 evening art sales –counting buyers’ premiums–totaled nearly $500,000,000 between two major NYC auction houses: Sotheby’s American Art sales were $19,407,375 and Christies Impressionism and Modern Art sales were $479,000,000 million.
The Sotheby’s sale was unusual because 7 of its 84 star lots were withdrawn just before the auction, a result of the Berkshire Museum litigation. (The combined conservative value of potential sales for the museum lots was $30,000,000 at the low presale estimate range. If the art is sold in the future its value will be more because of the increased familiarity.) Other Sotheby’s lots went unsold. Two Norman Rockwell works surpassed their estimates. Of note for Gloucester artists fans, Paul Manship’s sculpture heavily surpassed its estimate. One Milton Avery sold within its estimate range while a second went unsold. There was a selection of original and rare Paul Manship sculpture for sale in Gloucester this summer (here’s the link).
Christies sale night had several surprises including records for Leger ($71,000,000)
and a gorgeous Vuillard,
and big bidding for Van Gogh ($81,000,000 million).
Christies superstar Fall lot is still to come and in all the news: Salvator Mundi –attributed to Leonardo da Vinci– will be sold in the contemporary sale alongside Warhol tomorrow. It’s been for sale since it was rediscovered in the oughts, but no museum purchased it and experts debate its hand and condition. The opening bid for the “lost Leonardo” will be $100,000,000. A Jean Michel Basquit sold for $110,500,000 last May. Christie’s marketing hype video “The Last da Vinci…”