Several high-profile art auctions taking place in New York this week and next are anticipated to generate a staggering $2.5 billion in proceeds. However, the auctions have encountered a sluggish start, with buyers displaying a cautious and conservative sentiment, indicating a more selective approach to their art purchases.
On Tuesday, Christie's auctioned an untitled piece from Cy Twombly's renowned Bacchus series, selling for $19.9 million (including fees). Additionally, a 1981 painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat fetched $11.9 million, both towards the lower end of the anticipated sale range.
The 21st-century art auction at Christie's, featuring 41 works, amounted to approximately $88.4 million (excluding fees), falling short of the expected minimum of $93 million, as reported by Penta magazine. Factoring in fees, the total sale amounted to around $107.5 million, with 95% of all lots sold.
However, an even more significant event is set to take place on Wednesday night. Sotheby's will be auctioning a 1932 painting by Pablo Picasso from the esteemed art collection of Emily Fisher Landau. The pre-sale estimated price of this masterpiece is an astounding $120 million. In total, the 31-piece collection could potentially fetch anywhere from $344 million to $400 million, according to art publications.
These auctions are part of a series of fall art fairs and auctions that commenced with the New York Armory Show in September, followed by two Frieze art fairs and numerous auctions in London and Paris. The results from these events have been mixed, leaving the overall state of the art market unclear.
Looking ahead, Christie's will be holding an auction on Thursday featuring three paintings by French artist Paul Cézanne. These artworks, being sold by the Museum Langmatt in Baden, Switzerland, are motivated by financial necessity, according to Christie's press release. One of the pieces is estimated to fetch between $35 million and $55 million.
Stay tuned for more updates on the captivating world of art auctions.