What’s at Sotheby’s this May?

May is looking like an exciting month for the art world. Not only are museums opening again, but also auction houses have thrilling sales. 

Whatever your taste, this article will guide you through some of the most exciting and colourful lots in Sotheby’s auctions throughout May.  

American Visionary: The Collection of Mrs. John L. Marion

Happening on the 12th of May, this Wednesday, in New York, this auction is an explosion of colour! You will find major Post-War artworks and some American Pop-Art art icons. one artwork that caught our eyes in particular was this vibrant mustard yellow abstract oil painting by Clyfford Still. Painted in 1948, this painting seems to have a life of its own. Although abstract, the large patch of colour has a sense of depth, making the viewer question its medium. The textured deep-yellow layers remind us of watercolours instead of oil paint. “PH-125 (1948-No. 1)” is uncommonly immersive, and the more you look at it, the more your imagination takes you places. 

It is estimated to sell for around 25,000,000 - 35,000,000 USD


Contemporary Art Evening Auction

If your taste falls more into the contemporary spectrum, then this auction might be your perfect fit. Also happening on the 12th of May in New York, this auction brings you a wider variety of mediums and styles to choose from. Let’s start with one of the most expensive living artists nowadays. Can you guess? Now represented by Pace Gallery, the one and only, Jeff Koons. In this auction, you can find two of his characteristic pop-culture style artworks: “Quad Elvis” (2008) and “Pancakes”(2001). At first look, these look like collages, but these are oil canvases. Impressive, right? These paintings are estimated to sell for 1,000,000-6,000,000 USD.


This auction is very diverse, medium and style-wise. To highlight that variety, we want to bring into the spotlight one of Bruce Nauman’s most admired neon signs: “Life, Death, Love, Hate, Pleasure, Pain” from 1983. This provocative artwork is an excellent example of Nauman’s artistic practice as it shows the artist's fascination for the paradoxes and ambiguities of language. This neon sign is more than just another pop-culture reference. It is a performative, sculptural experience that emphasizes the human condition by building anxiety in the viewer. 

Its sale estimate is 4,500,000 - 6,500,000 USD


Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

Classics are classics, right? From this evening sale (also happening on the 12th of May), it’s so hard to find a single artwork that you would not love to own - we for sure struggle! This auction focuses on Impressionists and Modern masters. From Monet, Picasso, Degas, Cézanne, Matisse, and many more, this auction will leave anyone in awe! After carefully thinking of which artwork we should highlight, we decided to choose a crowd favourite: Monet, “Le Bassin aux nymphéas” (1917-19). In poetic hues of deep-blues, pale-pinks, splashes of blood-red and multiple layers of dense greens, this painting was created during Monet’s late period. Throughout his career, he continuously focused on painting a single motif: the beloved water gardens at Giverny. Despite the repetitive theme, no artwork is the same, and that’s what’s most impressive about Monet. He was able to depict the same landscape through a multitude of emotional depths and unforgettable colours

There is no estimate available, but we are curious to know how much you think this will sell for. 


As we alluded to earlier, Sotheby’s has a long list of auction days happening this month. Here are some of the other happening this month:  Contemporary Art Day Auction on the 13th of May where you will find Basquiat and Mark Bradford; on the 19th of May, American Art with some unique Georgia O’Keefe’s paintings and Contemporary Art Online with Banksy and Warhol as highlights; lastly, The Artist’s Eye: The Collection of Tom Levine and (Women) Artists on the 20th. 


Happy May biddings! 

#warhol #picasso #banksy #basquiat #brucenauman #georgiaokeefe #matisse #cezanne #degas


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