ARTnewsletter Archive

Imp/Mod Sales Rise to Unprecedented Levels

High-profile masterpieces and a rise in the total number of works on offer boosted Impressionist and modern art totals to record-shattering levels at Sotheby’s and Christie’s in sales held from Nov. 7-9.

NEW YORK—High-profile masterpieces and a rise in the total number of works on offer boosted Impressionist and modern art totals to record-shattering levels at Sotheby’s and Christie’s in sales held from Nov. 7-9.

Evening sales held Nov. 7 and 8 at Sotheby’s and Christie’s, respectively, realized a grand total of $730.1 million, more than double last fall’s $291 million take. The volume of available works was also considerably higher—167 lots all told, compared with 123 last fall. Of these, 150, or 90 percent, were sold.

Sotheby’s sale on Nov. 7 took $238.7 million, up sharply from last fall’s $130 million and second only to the $286.2 million realized more than 15 years ago at the house’s May 1990 comparable sale. Of the 83 lots on offer, 72 found buyers.

The next night Christie’s realized $491.5 million in what the house called “the most valuable sale in the history of auctioneering . . . nearly half a billion dollars” (flying far past its evening-sale total of $160.9 million last fall). Of 84 lots on offer, 78, or 93 percent, were sold, and nine artists’ records were attained.

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