If Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips reach the high ends of their presale estimates next week at their contemporary art auctions, the art world could see yet another $1 billion-plus season.
Across the board, overall sale estimates are higher than last fall’s season, though totals will probably not be quite as high as this past spring’s staggering $1.6 billion auction season. Due to calendar and category shake-ups in recent years, the season that typically played out over the course of two weeks—divided into Impressionist and modern, followed by postwar and contemporary art—is now jam-packed into a single break-neck week.
This means a double-bill for Thursday evening with Phillips and Sotheby’s holding back-to-back evening sales. Phillips’s 20th century and contemporary auction at its Park Avenue headquarters kicks off at 5 p.m., while Sotheby’s starts its contemporary evening sale at 6:30 p.m. In total, the week will see nine major sales, starting on Monday and wrapping with the final “part two” sale on Friday, November 16.
Though Christie’s is not organizing a dedicated hybrid sale of Impressionist and contemporary art this time around, it remains committed to disrupting traditional sale categories—as evidenced by its placement of Leonardo da Vinci‘s rediscovered masterpiece Salvator Mundi smack in the middle of its postwar and contemporary sale. The idea is that so-called trophy hunters will be interested in top-flight works whether they are from this century or are a few hundred years old. With a $100 million price tag and an outside guarantee, there are sure to be fireworks. Read more