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Spring Auctions for Two Blockbuster Weeks Exceed $2.5 Billion

Last year, global auction sales of paintings by artists under 40 soared to $259.5 million, a 177% increase from 2020, according to data provided by Artprice, a company auction analysis French.

Keen to jump on this fast-moving bandwagon, Sotheby’s has devised a new sales format called ‘The Now’, focusing on works by the most coveted names of the moment. On paper, this 23-lot offering was supposed to be the warm-up act for the main sale of works by established contemporary artists, but with so much attention – and money – focused on younger names, for many, it was the main event night.

Like hungry chicks in a nest, banks of Sotheby’s staff shouted offers over the phone as Lot 1, the 2020 painting “Falling Woman”, by New York artist Anna Weyant, gave the your. Estimated between $150,000 and $200,000, it sold to an online bidder for $1.6 million, breaking the record of $1.5 million set for the artist at Christie’s last week.

Female artists and artists of color continued to be the dominant forces in the market for works by young contemporaries. Sotheby’s proudly announced ahead of ‘The Now’ sale that, for the first time, women artists outnumbered men at one of its auctions.

Capitalizing on Simone Leigh’s representation of the United States at the Venice Biennale (where one of her sculptures also won a Golden Lion), Sotheby’s included the life-size “Birmingham” female head, from 2012 This set off another feeding frenzy of phone competition, with the hammer eventually falling to a record $2.2 million, 10 times the presale upper estimate.

The intricate, multi-layered paintings by Los Angeles-based Christina Quarles impressed critics and visitors to the Biennale’s central exhibition. This recognition seemed to boost its market, with the 2019 canvas “Night Fell Upon Us Up On Us” reaching a record $4.5 million. The previous auction for his works was $685,500.


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