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Highlights from auctions held in New York this week

A series of auctions held in New York City this week were a demonstration of the art market's continued resilience in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. For those of you who may not be familiar with New York's art auction market, the most significant sales take place each May and November. In past years, the results of these sales have been affected by world events, but never cancelled entirely.

Last May and November, lockdowns tempered the total amount of art sold – but not for the reason one might expect. It was not the inability of buyers to bid in sales that was solely responsible for the pandemic's chilling effect on the market; rather, it was the hesitancy of consignors to consign high value lots in the wake of economic uncertainty and upheaval. By the end of the year, the two biggest auction houses, Christie's and Sotheby's reported decreases in total revenue of nearly 30% and more than 40%, respectively, compared to the previous year.

While a number of day sales have yet to occur or report results, the biggest sales – the Evening Sales – have taken place at all of the major auction houses. Here are a few highlights from the sales which occurred over the past week. These items were selected for their interesting histories, for breaking sales records, or because they far surpassed the expectations of the auction houses that sold them.


Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988)

In This Case


acrylic and oilstick on canvas

77 7/8 x 73 ¾ in.

Estimate: Unpublished

Sold: $93,105,000.00


Banksy (b.1974)

Love is in the Air


oil and spray paint on canvas

35 ⅜ by 36 ⅜ in.

Estimate: $3,000,000 - $5,000,000

Sold: $12,903,000


Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)

Le pont de Trinquetaille


oil on canvas

25 ½ x 31 ¾ in.

Estimate: Unpublished

Sold: $37,400,000


Alexander Calder (1898 – 1976)


sheet metal and wire

c. 1948

27 ½ by 115 ½ by 19 in.

Estimate: $4,500,000 - $6,500,000

Sold: $11,294,400


Diego Rivera (1886 – 1957)

Retrato de Columba Domínguez de Fernández


Oil on canvas

76 by 47¼ in.

Estimate: $2,000,000 - $3,000,000

Sold: $7,445,250


Robert Colescott (1925 – 2009)

George Washington Carver Crossing the Delaware: Page from an American History Textbook


acrylic on canvas

78 ½ by 98 ¼ in.

Estimate: $9,000,000- 12,000,000 USD

Sold: $15,315,900


Alice Neel (1900-1984)

Dr. Finger’s Waiting Room


oil on canvas

50 x 36 in.

Estimate: $600,000 - $800,000

Sold: $3,030,000


Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

Femme assise près d'une fenêtre (Marie-Thérèse)


oil on canvas

57 ½ x 44 7/8 in.

Estimate: Unpublished

Sold: $103,410,000.00


Georges Seurat (1859-1891)

Paysage et personnages (La jupe rose)


oil on panel

6 x 9 ¾ in

Estimate: $6,000,000 - $8,000,000

Sold: $13,184,000


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