Sotheby’s May Marquee Auction Week Totals $1.1 Billion
Making for Second Consecutive Billion Dollar Auction Season at Sotheby’s New York
In Biggest Auction Season the Market Has Ever Seen
New York, 20 May 2022 - Sotheby’s week-long series of New York Marquee sales draws to a close today, capped off by an estimate topping $79.1 million Contemporary Day auction, in which - echoing patterns seen throughout the week - a further 14 records were set, many of them for women artists (8), as the vast majority of works (90%) found buyers, and estimates were smashed.
The six sales at Sotheby’s New York this week (16-20 May) together brought $1,089,812,692, the second consecutive billion dollar marquee week at Sotheby’s New York, and the third highest season total in Sotheby’s history.
These results bring the year-to-date total for Modern and Contemporary sales at Sotheby’s worldwide to $1.65 billion - an historic level for the company, and up 50% compared to the same period in 2021 – a record-breaking year for Sotheby’s.
OVERARCHING TAKEAWAYS FROM THE WEEK:
No fewer than 36 records were set, for both established and younger artists:
Modern: Milton Avery ($6.1 million), Leonora Carrington ($3.3 million), Jared French ($1.1 million), Maximilien Luce ($4.5 million), Robert Motherwell work on paper ($1.1 million), Alejandro Obregón ($252,000), Amelia Peláez ($52,920), Rosa Rolanda ($56,700), Hedda Sterne ($504,000), Tilsa Tsuchiya ($882,000), Michael (Corinne) West ($176,400)
Contemporary: Virgil Abloh ($151,200), Marcellina Akpojotor ($73,080), Georg Baselitz ($11.2 million), Lynda Benglis ($1.1 million), Lucy Bull ($907,200), Pedro Friedeberg ($69,300), Adrian Ghenie ($9.3 million), Ivy Haldeman ($176,400), Aaron Johnson ($60,480), Craig Kauffman ($327,600), Simone Leigh ($2.2m), Jennifer Packer ($2.3 million), Erik Parker ($378,000), Steven Parrino ($567,000), Christina Quarles ($4.5 million), Antonio Santin ($277,200), Sean Scully ($2.1 million), Avery Singer ($5.3 million), Genesis Tramaine ($441,000), Kara Walker ($529,300), Gillian Wearing ($63,000), Ambera Wellmann ($189,000), Anna Weyant ($1.6 million), Chloe Wise ($144,900), Matthew Wong ($5.9 million)
Appetite for works at every level
Two works sold over $50 million, nine works sold for over $20 million and 23 works sold for over $10 million
100 works sold for over $1 million - with an average of 4 bidders per lot
Strength at top of the market: the evening auctions saw an average lot value of $7.2 million, with the titans of the 20th century commanding the top five prices of the week: Picasso ($67.5 million), Monet ($56.6 million), Rothko ($48 million), Bacon ($46.3 million) and Cézanne ($41.7 million)
Overall, the Evening Sales were 94% sold by lot (130 works sold)
20% of bidders in Evening Sales this week under 40 years old
Women artists and artists of color take center stage in The Now Evening Auction -
Works by women artists total $28 million, doubling their collective pre-sale high estimate of $14.4 million, with 13 new records set for women artists this week.
Artists of color accounted for 48% of The Now sale total ($35.1 million), led by Kerry James Marshall at $13.5 million. Records were also set for Matthew Wong, Simone Leigh and Jennifer Packer.
SALES AT A GLANCE
The ‘White Glove’ Macklowe Collection (16 May) became the most valuable collection ever sold, totalling over $922 million. The May offering brought $246 million (est. $167.6 - $236.4 million) following the $676 million offering in November; both were 100% sold.
The Modern Evening Sale (17 May), with a total of $408.4 million (est. $329.8 - $428.2 million), achieved the third highest total for any auction in Sotheby’s history.
The Contemporary Evening Sales (19 May) together totalled $283.4 million, the highest total for the category since 2019. The white glove Now Sale - an offering dedicated to the most exciting artists today - achieved a record total of $72.9 million, double its low estimate (est. $35.9 - $51.9 million). The Contemporary sale that followed brought $210.5 million (est. $170.1 - $253.2 million).
Sales drew participants from further afield than ever before, with participants from 50 countries, and six continents
Online participants came out in force, accounting for 84% of total registrants
The market remains as global as ever, with this week’s sales attracting participation from collectors in 50 countries
US participation remained strong, accounting for 60% of all buyers across Evening Sales
Asian collectors made their presence felt again this season, taking home a number of the top lots this week, including:
Warhol’s late Self-Portrait which sold for $18.7 million to a Japanese collector
Monet's Les Arceaux de Roses, sold for $23.2 million
Cy Twombly's Untitled, sold for $38 million
Adrian Ghenie’s Degenerate Art, sold for $9.3 million
3.6 million views of this week’s livestreams sales across Sotheby’s platforms, as well as an additional 2.2 million views on Sotheby’s TikTok account this week
For the first time this season, Sotheby’s broadcast its Evening Sales for the first time in full on its Sotheby’s Instagram handle