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

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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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