Big Numbers at Big Auction Houses

Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction houses recently sold close to a billion dollars worth of art in just a few days. Between the 7th and 9th of November, they sold $847,251,000 at their Impressionist and Modern sales.

Here’s the Top Ten paintings..

  1. Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II
    $ 87,963,000
  2. Gustav Klimt, Birch Forest
    $ 40,336,000
  3. Paul Gauguin, L’homme à la hache
    $ 40,336,000
  4. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Berliner Strassenszene;Bäume
    $ 38,096,000
  5. Paul Cézanne, Nature morte aux fruits et pot de gingembre
    $ 36,976,000
  6. Gustav Klimt, Apple Tree I
    $ 33,056,000
  7. Gustav Klimt, Houses at Unterach on the Attersee
    $ 31,376,000
  8. Amedeo Modigliani, Le fils du concierge
    $ 31,096,000
  9. Egon Schiele, Einzelne Häuser (Häuser mit Bergen); Monk I
    $ 22,416,000
  10. Amedeo Modigliani, Vénus (Nu debout, nu médicis)
    $ 15,920,000

Sotheby’s sold $296,888,400 worth of art and Christie’s sold a record $550,362,600 worth. I wonder how long it will take before we get our first billion dollar painting?! It sounds like a ridiculous figure, but I thought $100 million was a ridiculous figure too.
Sotheby’s has published an art market review for November here.
>> Art Auctions

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. Lucky to be in NYC for the exhibition of these prior to the auctions. Very fine paintings, indeed. Certainly would have been happy to make room in my apartment for any or all of them..and a lot more being shown. Did not have the spare change so decided not to attend the auctions. I have no idea how many zeroes to put after a number to make it 40 million. Even thinking of 100 million I get nose bleeds.
    Also saw viewings for their Contemporary auctions. At Sotheby’s I saw at a distance the Hopper they were previewing for the American auctions later in the month. It was like a breath of pure sweet air compared to much of what was being sold at the Contemporary. A classic Hopper, woman in hotel lobby, looking out of the window, it was yanked out of the Hopper show still on at Whitney. Incidentally, with the Hopper and the Picasso and the Americans, the Whitney is seeing unaccustomed crowds. Well worth the wait (although if you are a member you can bypass the lines). At the Met, with a terrific Dix, Grosz,and company, exhibition added to Americans in Paris and Vollard, not to mention Gothic portraits in stone, one is simply overwhelmed. The Frick’s borrowing of 14 from the Cleveland Museum ( being renovated) are a knockout assortment of Old Masters, that fit in well with their permanent collection. At the Jewish Museum the small but choice, Alex Katz’s Ada, is a delight as this evergreen rebel against abstraction continues strongly as he approaches 80. Speaking of 80, the Lucien Freud portraits at one of the galleries shows a master at work pushing 90. Stand back from the picture to the right distance and all those surface “pockmarks” merge into variegated shadings in realistic portraits. Speaking of portraits, getting back to the Mets Americans in Paris, there are a number of Sargents there (not to mention those by others) which show why human forms portrayed as human forms has never for long been subordinated to any other type of picture.(No, I do not mean to attack Rothko, Newman, nor,even,late Pollock nor non-womanizing deKooning), just a reminder that abstraction has always been with us but so has, what to call it, non-abstraction. For good reason, Picasso flirted with but never succumbed to depriving himself of the human.)

  2. … and I thought I was expensive!!!


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