ARTnewsletter Archive

Lustrous New York Auctions Leap to $765M Total

Fall sales of Impressionist, modern and contemporary art, held from Nov. 1-11 in New York, soared to $765.3 million, among the highest season totals ever. The latest figure tops the peak $678 million garnered by Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips, de Pury and Company last fall. Despite some fluctuating totals, recent auction seasons consistently have scored results

NEW YORK—Fall sales of Impressionist, modern and contemporary art, held from Nov. 1-11 in New York, soared to $765.3 million, among the highest season totals ever.

The latest figure tops the peak $678 million garnered by Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips, de Pury and Company last fall. Despite some fluctuating totals, recent auction seasons consistently have scored results that are among the strongest on record. In spring 2003, for example, the combined total for the three houses was $299.3 million, topped by $482 million the following fall.

Christie’s was the leader in the two-week series, realizing $409.4 million—compared with $313.6 million at Sotheby’s and $42.4 million at Phillips for its three contemporary sales. As in recent seasons, the market for contemporary art continued to surge ahead of the traditionally dominant Impressionist and modern categories. Overall, contemporary sales at the three houses fetched $396 million—compared with a $369.3 million result for Impressionist and modern sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s. (Phillips no longer holds sales of Impressionist and modern art.)

At Christie’s, contemporary totals also pulled ahead of Impressionist sales, by nearly $15 million. The auctioneer’s contemporary total was $212.1 million, while Impressionist and modern art took $197.3 million. At Sotheby’s, Impressionist art was still the leader, realizing $171.9 million against $141.6 million in contemporary sales.

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