Busy Week And Beyond In The Art Auction World

By now, news of the record-breaking sale of Edvard Munch’s The Scream (at nearly $120 million to an anonymous, private collector) has spread around the world, shaking the art auction universe. Smashing the previously-held record of $106.5 million in 2010 (at Christie’s) for Pablo Picasso’s work Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, the sale at Sotheby’s on May 2 drew global eyes and piqued interest in modern art and the art auction world.

Sotheby’s sale of The Scream was the highlight of their Impressionist and Modern Art auction, yes. However, that night brought in a record $330.6 million, Sotheby’s highest-ever for an auction of Impressionist and Modern Art, and the house’s second-best auction evening in its history. The old record – $286 million – had stood since 1990. Also included in the record-breaking evening were works from Picasso (Femme assise dans un fauteuil – sold for $29.2 million;  Deux Femmes at  $2 million, Baigneuse Au Pouf Fouge for $2.77 million), Dali Printemps necrophilique (sold for $16.3 million), Miro Tete humaine sold for $14.86 million (and his Peinture for $4.11 million), Gaugin (Cabane Sous Les Arbres for $8.48 million), Matisse (Nature Mortre Fougeres et Grenades at $2.88 million), Chagall’s Les Amoureux ($2.21 million) Claude Monet’s Champ A Giverny ($2.65 million) Renoir’s Portrait de Cezanne ($4.22 million) as well as many other Munch, Chagall, Picasso and Pissaro pieces.

At Christie’s Just a week after Edvard Munch’s The Scream broke art auction records in New York, a sunset-coloured oil painting by Mark Rothko helped to establish more records during another blockbuster sale that achieved the highest auction total for contemporary art.

Painting by Rothko fetches record at $86m
Rothko’s “Orange, Red, Yellow,” which dates from 1961, was being sold by the estate of David Pincus, a Philadelphia clothing manufacturer and philanthropist who died last year. Pincus was actively involved with the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

A week before, Paul Cezanne’s rediscovered study for Card Players and Henri Matisse’s Fauvist still life Les Pivoines both sold for $19.1 million each, while Picasso’s Les Repos brought in $9.88 million. Other works by Monet (among them, Les demoiselles de Giverny sold for $9.6 million), Cezanne, Picasso, Degas and Schiele were on the block at Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale.

But it hasn’t stopped there! Collectors are ravenous for fine art – and for masterpieces.

All eyes are on Sotheby’s once again this week for their Contemporary Art Evening. Works by Andy Warhol (many are on the block, but Double Elvis is the highlight, estimated to sell for $30-$50 million) and Roy Lichtenstein (Sleeping Girl, estimated to sell for $30-$40 million) are the pieces highlighted for the evening.

Sotheby’s American Art Auction happens May 17 in New York City. Some of the most recognized names in American Art will have pieces for sale, such as Norman Rockwell, George Bellows and Andrew Wyeth.  Martin Johnson Heade’s A Pair of Nesting Crimson Topaz Hummingbirds, a 14.75″ x 10” oil on canvas painted circa 1875-1883 is up at auction, expecting to sell for $400-600,000.  Edward Hopper’s Bridle Path (painted in 1939), a 23 3/8” x  42 1/8” oil on canvas is also up for sale, estimated to sell anywhere between $5-7 million.

Of course, this is only in New York! Many other auctions are slated to happen in London, Paris, Amsterdam and other major cities worldwide.

Without a doubt, it seems that The Scream has re-ignited an interest in art and masters from all points in history, propelling their names – and their works – into the public eye and psyche.

About the Author

I was raised in Wichita, KS and I have been drawing and painting as long as I can remember. I paint the interior of my house according to the season and could not imagine a world without colors. I am a writer, mother, and grandmother - My motto in life has always been "Any day you wake up is going to be a good day".