The most impressive Auction sales this May
May has certainly been another juicy month for the auction houses. Here is a list of some of the most impressive sales this May!
Picasso has unquestionably been popular throughout this month's sales – more than usual, at least. The art market trends prove unpredictable- if one day an art piece is worthless, the next day (for little or no apparent reason), it is breaking records. Which is fascinating! It is unclear where this sudden interest comes from. Still, it is pretty impressive to see artists like Picasso gaining broader recognition in various cultures. Especially in the Asian art market.
Sotheby's Hong Kong has been really on top of this rising market and keeps bringing amazing lots to the Hong Kong sales. This month, we had an impressive sale with "Buste de matador" (1970) that was sold for $18 million in a spirited 5-minute bidding war – making it the top sale of the evening!
Adding to this top sale, we also have "Femme assise près d'une fenêtre (Marie-Thérèse)" (1932) that sold for $103.4 million at Christie's live-streamed 20th-century auction in New York. This artwork is now on the top-10 most expensive Picasso artworks.
Bonhams announced earlier in March that some early Kusama artworks were going for sale this May. This piece of news generated much excitement around this sale as most of these artworks had never been seen before as they were offered to Dr Hirose- Kusama's beloved doctor and friend (click here to read more about their relationship and Kusama’s artistry). The lot consisted of 11 works: 8 works on paper and 3 paintings. The auction was a success and achieved unexpected results. In fact, all of these rare artworks sold for double their estimated price. The top sale was "Untitled" (1965), patterned dot paintings converging to a central point in the canvas, which sold for $4.6 million against its $2.5 million initial estimate.
Amazingly, all the works on paper also far exceeded the initial estimates of $60,000–$80,000 and sold for prices of $300,000–$500,000 each. This was a fantastic opportunity for all Kusama lovers to acquire extremely rare artworks. Congrats if you are one of the lucky collectors!
Basquiat has been a recurrent topic over the past few months as well. As we noted earlier, Basquiat had an incredible sale in March at Sotheby's Hong Kong and this May, the interest in the artist did not fade. As a result, Basquiat saw three incredible sales - two at Christie’s and one at Sotheby’s.
Impressively, the two Basquiat works offered for sale at Christie's New York 21st Century Evening Sale made it to the top-3 sales! "In This Case" (1983) sold for $93,1 million against its $ 50 million estimate. This artwork fetched such an incredible result most likely because it is part of a trio of skulls produced between 1981 and 1983 that are very characteristic of Basquiat's artistic style.
The other Basquiat artwork in the top-3 sale of this evening auction was "Untitled (Soap)" from 1983-84, which sold for $13,1 million. Although not of the same price magnitude, it is still striking that Basquiat had two huge sales within the same auction.. It will be interesting to see whether Basquiat continues to see rising auction results.
Lastly, "Versus Medici"(1982) sold for $50,8million at Sotheby's- achieving a little over its upper price estimate!
Monet! How else could one finish a great list of artist record auction sales? As some of our Artscapers mentioned, Monet will always be an all-time favourite for many art enthusiasts. And this sale in particular shaped up to be a treasure. "Le Bassin aux Nymphéas" (1917-19), a top lot of the evening, was offered for sale at Sotheby's Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale. The lot drew global attention and created a flurry of back-and-forth biddings between aspiring buyers in New York and Hong Kong. The much coveted artwork ended up being sold to a New York collector for an impressive $70.3 million over its $40 million estimate. "Le Bassin aux Nymphéas" (1917-19) is now one of the most expensive Monet artworks ever sold at auction.
It has been amazing to see these record-breaking sales as the art world recoups from over a year of subdued sales. We are particularly excited by the Asian art market's rising interest in western artists- which artist is next to win their hearts?
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