E very May and November, Sotheby’s holds its biannual New York Sales, featuring exceptional works of Modern and contemporary art. 2022 was an exceptionally thrilling year for the Contemporary Art team in the United States, who took part in a billion-dollar week of auctions in May and sold the auction house’s most valuable work of art in November: Andy Warhol’s White Disaster [White Car Crash 19 Times] ($85.4 million).
In May, the conclusion of The Macklowe Collection saw the unparalleled group of 65 masterworks, sold over two white-glove auctions, achieve a combined total of $922.2 million and become what was then the most valuable collection ever sold at auction. The extraordinary collection was complemented during a $856.3 million week in November by The David M. Solinger Collection, assembled by one of New York’s most influential cultural patrons and a visionary collector. The group was led by Willem de Kooning’s pivotal Collage, which set a new record for a work on paper by the artist at $33.6 million.
The two week-long sales series also saw the second and third iterations of The Now Evening Auction, a presentation of the most desirable artists on the market. Both thrilling sales were white glove – meaning every lot sold – and collectively saw 14 art records set, including for Matthew Wong, Avery Singer, Elizabeth Peyton and Salman Toor.
Kelsey Leonard, VP, Head of the Contemporary Evening Sale, New York, notes that the year’s auctions underscore a growing demand for work by women artists. “The art world can expect continued demand for Contemporary female artists in 2023, both established names such a Joan Mitchell, Helen Frankenthaler and Yayoi Kusama, as well as newcomers, following major records made for some artists, like Lucy Bull, in their very first auction debut,” she says. “19 auction records were set for women artists in our Contemporary Evening, The Now and Contemporary Day sales across May and November.”
“The art world can expect continued demand for contemporary female artists in 2023.”
The year also saw wonderful results for multiple works and collections sold to benefit charity. Between The William S. Paley Collection in November’s Contemporary Evening, sold to benefit the MoMA among other causes; the debut of Sotheby’s ‘Artist’s Choice’ program in the September Contemporary Curated auction, which earned over $100,000 to benefit six charities of the artists’ choosing; and a group of artworks sold to benefit Planned Parenthood in the November Contemporary Day sale, among numerous others, the department anticipates a continued interest in art offered for important causes and institutions in 2023 – from collectors and consignors alike.