Closing the auction year, the past two weeks saw the Marquee auctions of Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips in New York. Spanning over 16 sales, the three auction houses sold 20th and 21st century masterpieces worth a total of $2,129,660,735 USD, a number that might suggest a stable market amid increasing uncertainty. Yet, in comparison to last year’s edition, the result is inferior despite the greater number of lots put on the easle.
Closing off the first half of the year, Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips celebrated London’s 20th and
21st Century Art sales last week, including Impressionist, Modern, Post-War and Contemporary
Art. Following the overall more somber performance of the London March auctions and
considering the ongoing global distress in many markets and economies, expectations were not as
high as in previous years. Still, the art market once more confirmed its ability to beat expectations
as it so often does.
This year's May edition of the New York auction sales followed the trend set out during the fall and winter auctions. With fewer masterpieces than in previous Marquee Sales, the 20th Century Art auctions held at Christie's last week and at Sotheby's and Phillips this week closed with a total of $1,206,881,121 USD.
Spread over five evening sales, two of them single-owner sales, and six day sales almost 1400 works went up for auction. While this is almost exactly as many works as there were on offer in May 2022 and almost the same sell-through rate - in May 2022 1170 works found a new owner, in May of this year there were 1123 works - the overall total is not even half of last May's total result.
In the first week of March, the top auction houses Christie's, Sotheby's and Phillips celebrated London's 20th / 21st Century Art sales, including Impressionist, Modern, Post-War and early Contemporary Art, initiating the year with an overall sombre performance. Despite overall lower results than previous editions of the London sales series, top artists such as Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol continue to sell for top prices and excellent artworks succesfully defend their value.