American Art


Sotheby’s is leading the market with an innovative strategy that accurately reflects the evolving tastes of collectors worldwide by becoming the first major auction house to integrate 20th Century American art into our Global Fine Art live and online auctions. Contextualizing American works within the larger art historical cannon signals their importance and generates greater visibility among the world’s most discerning collectors.

This strategy has proved immensely successful. Yielding tremendous results for our consignors and regularly setting world record prices, works of American art offered in this context outperformed their low estimates by an average of 49% in 2023. In May 2023, the American Art department presented 66 lots within the Modern and Contemporary Marquee Auctions, achieving $19m in total sales across the Modern Evening, Modern Day, and Contemporary Day sales. We engaged 86 bidders across four continents, 49% of whom participated in online bidding, which is a testament to the global reach that is possible when presenting 20th Century American art within integrated Modern and Contemporary sales at Sotheby’s.

In January 2023, we debuted a new sale series alongside Americana Week dedicated to 19thCentury American and Western Art. This live auction, entitled Art of America, showcases a tightly curated selection of paintings, drawings and sculpture by American masters such as Gilbert Stuart, Winslow Homer, Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Remington. During this year’s inaugural Art of America sale, we offered 47 lots totaling $4.5m in sales, with 42% of lots selling above their high estimates. By presenting 19th Century American material in a designated live sale each January, we benefit from the exposure of Americana Week and ultimately offer the finest selection of traditional American art.

Lastly, in April 2023 Sotheby’s was pleased to present The Wolf Family Collection at auction across a series of ten sales. This monumental single-owner sequence achieved $68m in sales, and American Art comprised $39m of the total sale prices. The sell-through rate of American Art across all Wolf Family sales was an impressive 94%. Achieving a remarkable 140% of its presale high estimate, The Wolf Family Collection became the most valuable collection of American art and objects ever offered.

The passion and expertise of our specialists, combined with the global reach of our auctions, has consistently produced outstanding results and numerous auction records. In addition to our rolling calendar of auctions, your American art can also be sold privately with us. We would be delighted to provide you with a free and confidential valuation.

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If you wish to enquire about the possibility of offering a work in one of Sotheby's American Art sales, please click here.

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American Art Highlights from The New York Sales

American Art Available to Buy Now

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