The current series raised $1.71bn (£1.36bn) with one day sale still to run at the time of going to press.
This followed the November sales in this category in the Big Apple raising an all-time high of $3.23bn, boosted in no small part by the Paul Allen sale at Christie’s, and the May 2022 series totalling $2.78bn, helped by a $170m (£136m) Andy Warhol silkscreen of Marilyn Monroe and the second tranche of the Macklowe collection at Sotheby’s.
The top lot of the latest flagship fortnight came at Christie’s 21st century evening sale on May 15 when a large Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960- 88) mixed media on canvas titled El Gran Espectáculo (The Nile) sold at $58m to a phone bidder. It was estimated ‘in excess of $45m’ and carried a third-party guarantee as was the case with numerous works across the series.
Christie’s 20th century evening sale the week before was led by a large Henri Rousseau (1844-1910) jungle scene that made a major record at $37.5m (£29.8m) – reported and pictured in News last week (ATG No 2593).
Sotheby’s, meanwhile, offered a view of Austria’s Lake Attersee by Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) at its Modern Evening sale on May 16. Given an estimate ‘in the region of $45m’, it was knocked down at $46m (£36.5m) to a Japanese private collector on the phone.
Titled Insel im Attersee (Island in Attersee), the 3ft 4in (1.01m) square oil on canvas from c.1901-02 fetched the third-highest price for the artist at auction.
Among the high points of the auction was a record for Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864- 1916) when Interior. The Music Room, Strandgade 30 was knocked down at $7.6m (£6.03m).
Appearing at auction for the first time in almost 80 years, it surpassed a $3m-5m estimate and was acquired by an American museum.
Phillips’ sales were led by Banksy’s Banksquiat. Boy and Dog in Stop and Search which sold at $8.1m (est: $8m-12m) to a phone bidder.