20 Artworks that Topped $5 Million this Week

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What a week! In four successive auctions devoted to art from the Impressionist era through today, $484 million worth sold at Sotheby’s New York. A total of 500 lots found buyers, making the average sale price close to $1 million. The week culminated in the Contemporary Art Evening Auction, which attracted bidders from 34 countries and saw the highest sell-through rate of this decade. Click through to see the 20 sensational works – from Monet to Warhol – that achieved the highest prices.

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale results

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale results

Contemporary Art Evening Auction results

Contemporary Art Day Auction results

20 Artworks that Topped $5 Million this Week

  • © 2016 Cy Twombly Foundation
    Cy Twombly, Untitled (New York City), 1968. Sold for $36.7 million.
    Hidden from public view since 1968, the year it was painted, Twombly’s only Blackboard painting executed in blue wax crayon was the highlight of the Contemporary Art Evening Auction.



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  • © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved. / DACS, London / ARS, NY 2016
    Francis Bacon, Two Studies for a Self-Portrait, 1970. Sold for $35 million.
    Francis Bacon, Two Studies For A Self-Portrait . Sold for $34,970,000. Five bidders fought for the right to own Bacon’s finest self-portrait, which sold for $5 million above its high estimate.



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  • Auguste Rodin, L'Éternel Printemps, 1901–1903. Sold for $20,410,000.
    Auguste Rodin, L'Éternel Printemps . Sold for $20,410,000. A new auction record was set for Rodin, whose sensuous marble of embracing lovers  soared above its presale estimate of $8–12 million to lead the Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale .




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  • Maurice de Vlaminck, Sous-bois, 1905. Sold for $16,378,000.
    Several vivid Fauve canvases performed strongly this season, and Vlaminck’s colourful Sous-bois became the top-selling painting in the Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale .



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  • © 2016 Cy Twombly Foundation
    Cy Twombly, Untitled [Bacchus 1st Version V], 2004. Sold for $15.4 million.
    Twombly’s late-career masterpiece from the Bacchus series made a sensational pairing at auction with his earlier Untitled (New York City) ; sold just minutes apart, the paintings brought more than $50 million in total.



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  • Christopher Wool, Untitled, 1990. Sold for $13.9 million.
    Purchased by a high-profile Japanese businessman and collector, this classic example of Wool’s Black Book series achieved the top price for the artist this week at any auction house.



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  • © 2016 Sam Francis Foundation, California / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
    Sam Francis, Summer #1, 1957. Sold for $11.8 million.
    This quintessential, large-scale Francis last sold at auction in 1986 for $825,000; 40 years later, it brought close to $12 million, a new auction record for the artist.



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  • Paul Signac, Maisons du port, Saint-Tropez, 1892. Sold for $10,666,000.
    This stunning Pointillist canvas came with a perfect provenance: it had been in the legendary Loeb family collection for almost six decades, and had never before appeared at auction.



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  • Claude Monet, Marée basse aux petites-dalles, 1884. Sold for $9,882,000.
    Three paintings by Monet sold for more than $5 million each, led by this dramatic seascape from the collection of New York philanthropists Mamdouha and Elmer Holmes Bobst.



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  • Claude Monet, Camille à l'ombrelle verte, 1876. Sold for $9,434,000.
    This captivating painting, a portrait of the artist’s wife, dates from the early years of Impressionism, a critical period in art history but also a time of domestic bliss for Monet.



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  • David Smith, Zig I, 1961. Sold for $9.2 million.
    This muscular sculpture from David Smith’s mature 1960s period echoes the Cubist forms invented early in the century, making it easy to imagine the conversation Smith might have had with one of his heroes, Pablo Picasso.



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  • © 2016 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
    Alexander Calder, Untitled, circa 1942. Sold for $8.3 million.
    Demand for Calder is always strong, but the distinguished provenance of this standing mobile – it was a gift from the artist to Alfred H. Barr, Jr., the founding director of MoMA – inspired eight bidders to drive the price to $8.3 million, more than double the high estimate.



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  • Franz Kline, Elizabeth, 1961. Sold for $8 million.
    Like Monet’s Camille à l'ombrelle , another painting that topped $5 million this week, Elizabeth is named for the artist’s wife – although Kline’s gestural abstraction suggests a domestic drama that is worlds apart from Monet’s garden idyll.



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  • © 2016 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (Ars), New York
    Andy Warhol, Self-Portrait (Fright Wig), 1986. Sold for $7.7 million.
    Created in 1986, just months before the Warhol’s unexpected death, Self-Portrait (Fright Wig) is the perfect embodiment of his transformation from artist to celebrity.



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  • Alberto Burri, Sacco, 1954. Sold for $7.3 million.
    From Burri’s most celebrated series, Sacco , had resided in the highly esteemed Morton G. Neumann Family collection since 1957, a testament to its importance and quality.



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  • Claude Monet, Près Monte-Carlo, 1883. Sold for $6,970,000.
    Ever fascinated with light and colour, Monet gravitated to environs conducive to painting en plein air and the light of the Mediterranean gave license to employ dazzling yellows and pinks.



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  • Jean-Michel Basquiat, Onion Gum. Sold for $6,600,000.
    In 1983, the year Onion Gum was  created, Basquiat was included in the Whitney Biennial, signaling a shift in institutional recognition for the young artist and leading to commercial success.



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  • Louise Bourgeois, Spider III. Sold for $6,522,000
    Perhaps most famously towering over the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2000, Bourgeois’ spider became one of her most iconic motifs and was a theme that she returned to many times and in various scales.



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  • Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild. Sold for $5,850,000.
    The texture, colour and structure that typify Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes Bild series are deployed in this 1988 canvas with spectacular force and sensitivity.



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  • Joan Mitchell, Untitled. Sold for $5,738,000.
    The large swathes of colour concentrated in the upper left quadrant of this canvas seem almost to burst from the serene covering of thinly applied white pigment that mute the splashes of colour through the rest of the composition.



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