Two Blockbuster Spring Auction Sales of the Week Biggest $2.5 Billion

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Last year, global auction sales of paintings by artists under the age of 40 rose 177 percent from 2020 to $259.5 million, according to data provided by Artprice, a France-based auction analysis company.

Seeking to jump on this fast-moving bandwagon, Sotheby’s has developed a new format called “Now” sales that focuses on the work of the hottest names of the moment. On paper, this 23-lot offering was supposed to be a warm-up act for the main sale of works by well-known contemporary artists, but with so much attention – and money – focused on young names, for many it was tonight. main event.

Like starving chicks in a nest, New York-based artist Anna Weyant’s 2020 painting “Falling Woman” in Lot 1, the banks of Sotheby’s employees clamored for phone offers. Estimated at $150,000 to $200,000, the piece sold for $1.6 million to an online bidder, beating the $1.5 million record Christie’s set for the artist last week.

Women artists and artists of color continued to be dominant forces in the market for works by young contemporaries. Sotheby’s proudly announced that, prior to the sale of “The Now,” female artists outnumbered men for the first time at an auction.

Drawing on Simone Leigh’s representation of the United States at the Venice Biennale (where one of her sculptures also won the Golden Lion), Sotheby’s has included “Birmingham”, the full-size mixed media female head from 2012. This triggered another feeding frenzy. phone competition, the hammer finally fell to a record $2.2 million, 10 times the pre-sale top estimate.

The complex, multi-layered paintings of Los Angeles-based Christina Quarles impressed critics and visitors alike in the Biennial’s central exhibition. This acclaim has strengthened its market, and the 2019 canvas “The Night Has Fallen On Us” has soared to a record $4.5 million. The previous auction for his works was $685,500.