The highest price ever paid for the work of a living artist, for a Spanish old master painting, for a carpet sold at auction -- we're only halfway through 2013, and Sotheby's has already seen an enviable lineup of records and sales across the world and art categories. Read on for more on how 2013 is shaping up to be a memorable year.



Global Competition in London

An explosion of interest from new markets around the world -- with buyers bidding by phone or online from 75 countries, and one in six buyers from Asia -- brought renewed excitement to recent London sales. The Contemporary Art Evening auction set a new artist record for Pierre Soulages, and tense three-way bidding drove Monet’s Le Palais Contarini, the star lot of the season, to $30.8 million at the Impressionism & Modern Art Evening sale. | JUNE - JULY, LONDON

A Record for El Greco

The Old Masters sales saw eight new auctions records, including for El Greco’s Saint Dominic in Prayer (above), which sold for $13.8 million -- far beyond its estimate, and the highest auction price ever for the artist and for an Old Spanish Master. | JULY, LONDON

Clark Sickle-Leaf Carpet

Not just the highest price ever paid for a carpet at auction, and by a significant margin, but also the new world record for any Islamic work of art, the revered Clark Sickle-Leaf Carpet (above), estimated at $5 million to $7 million, leapt to the astounding sum of $33.8 million. All told, Important Carpets from the William A. Clark Collection sold by the Corcoran Gallery of Art brought $43.8 million, achieving 'white glove' status, with all 25 carpets on offer selling above their pre-auction estimates. | JUNE, NEW YORK

Man Made: Jean-Michel Basquiat

During a moment of deepened appreciation for the 1980s New York superstar, Sotheby's S|2 private selling exhibition Man Made: Jean-Michel Basquiat (above) gathered together more than thirty of the late artist's seminal pieces, many from private European collections and only rarely, if ever, loaned to exhibitions or seen on the auction market. These early drawings and monumental masterpieces spanned a variety of media and important dates in Basquiat's oeuvre. | MAY–JUNE, NEW YORK

Gina Lollobrigida's Jewels

Jewels from the collection of international screen legend Gina Lollobrigida (above), including seminal Bulgari masterpieces from the 1950s and 1960s, sparked a sensation, doubling their pre-sale estimate, to sell in an electric atmosphere for $5 million, with proceeds to benefit stem cell research. She also set a record at $2.4 million for a pair of natural pearl ear pendants, outshining even those of Elizabeth Taylor, the previous record holder. | MAY, GENEVA

 

Records for Newman and Richter

Eclipsing Barnett Newman's previous auction record by more than $20 million, his monumental masterpiece Onement VI (above) surged to a triumphant $43.8 million. The other star of the Contemporary Art Evening auction was Gerhard Richter's Domplatz, Mailand. Heralded as the epitome of his celebrated 1960s photo-painting canon, it sold for $37.1 million, setting a new benchmark for highest price ever paid for the work of a living artist. | MAY, NEW YORK

Paul Cezanne, Les Pommes

Impressionist master Paul Cézanne's Les Pommes (above) shattered its presale estimate of $25 to $35 million to sell for a robust $41.6 million. Another strong performer from the collection of philanthropists Alex & Elisabeth Lewyt was Amedeo Modigliani's famed L'Amazone, which achieved $25.9 million. Overall, the market for top tier Impressionist and Modern art held strong, with the tally over two days coming to an impressive $104.2 million. | MAY, NEW YORK

elBulli Cellar

Renowned chef Ferran Adria's three-star-Michelin-rated elBulli was hailed as the number one restaurant in the world. The last dish was served in the summer of 2011, but the vision lives on, partly thanks to sale of the legendary elBullicellar, which raised $2.7 million to benefit elBullifoundation, Adria's experimental centre to explore the leading edge of culinary innovation. | APRIL, NEW YORK AND HONG KONG

Doha Contemporary Art Sale

Sotheby's auction in Qatar set the record for an auction of Contemporary Art in the Middle East region at $15.2 million. Records were also achieved for nine artists, including Chant Avedissian, with Icons of the Nile (above) climbing to $1.56 million, a record for the work of any living Arab artist. Demand was also high for international artists, including Donald Judd, whose Untitled (Bernstein 90-01) went for an impressive $3.5 million. | APRIL, DOHA

 

Falangcai "Double Lotus" Bowl

At Sotheby's spring sales in Hong Kong, a world auction record was set for Qing Kangxi porcelain, among the most desirable collecting categories in Asian art, when this magnificent Falangcai "Double Lotus" Bowl (above) from the collection of Dr. Alice Cheng hammered in at the astonishing price of $9.5 million. A testament to the bowl's rarity and refinement, it was also a fitting tribute to the impeccable provenance of this renowned collection. | APRIL, HONG KONG

 

Ding Bowl, Northern Song Dynasty

In a fairytale come true, a Rare and Important Ding Bowl (above) from the Northern Song Dynasty turned up five years ago at a tag sale and was purchased on its aesthetic merits alone for just $3. Offered during NY Asia Week, it quickly soared beyond its $300,000 high estimate to find a buyer at the remarkable sum of $2.2 million. | MARCH, NEW YORK

 

Pablo Picasso, Femme assise pres d'une fenetre

Picasso's monumental portrait of his "golden muse," Marie-Therese Walter, Femme assise pres d'une fenetre (above) is a Modern masterpiece from among the most creative and coveted period of the artist's career. The staggering $45 million it achieved, Sotheby's highest price, year-to-date, helped to set the pace of our highly successful sale of Impressionist & Modern Art, which reached our second-highest overall total ever for an auction in London. | FEBRUARY, LONDON

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