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Just How Big Were This Week’s Contemporary Art Auctions?


This has been an absolutely enormous week at the annual May postwar and contemporary art sales in New York, which began on Monday night with Christie’s setting a new all-time record for a work at auction, when it sold a Picasso for $179.4 million in its special “Looking Forward to the Past.” Above, a brief look at how this year’s numbers compare to May results over the past 10 years. Two quick notes: the more darkly shaded section of each bar is the portion provided by evening sales; the lighter section is the day-sale portion. And for Christie’s 2015 numbers, we included the complete results of “Looking Forward to the Past,” which had a mixture modern and contemporary works and featured that Picasso.

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