A Record Year: 11 of the Top Lots Sold Online in 2016

Launch Slideshow

Location didn't stop collectors from buying art in 2016. Whether in the auction room or behind a screen, 2016 achieved new records for lots sold online. At twice the high estimate, a pair of important fancy blue and fancy orangy pink diamond earrings sold for $5.8 million in Geneva, thus succeeding in becoming the highest priced lot ever sold online. Online bidding and buying continues to grow in popularity with collectors at Sotheby's across our global sales. Additionally, Sotheby’s offers online-only auctions. Discover how you can bid online at our next auction.

A Record Year: 11 of the Top Lots Sold Online in 2016

  • Pair of important fancy blue and fancy orangy pink diamond earrings. Sold for CHF5,850,000 ($5,844,739).
    Each earring is set with a pear-shaped fancy blue and fancy orangy pink diamond that weighs 8.85 and 8.79 carats respectively.

  • Important Diamond Ring. Sold for CHF4,730,000 ($4,729,054).
    This important ring is set with a heart-shaped diamond weighing 53.53 carats.

  • The Celebrated King Farouk Magician Box, circa 1820. Sold for $1,210,000.
    This lavish magician box is composed of colour gold and gilt brass, and a mechanism that creates motion and music within the box when opened. One of the few magician boxes produced in its time, this box probably has the most complex of the miniature automata produced in Switzerland in the early 19th century.

  • Sigmar Polke, Druckfehler. Sold for £785,000 ($980,465).
    Sigmar Polke pushed pictorial boundaries from an early state of his career. He was interested in the way motifs are manipulated from being recognisable to unrecognisable. Druckfehler uses the artist's original expression to render abstraction in an elusive and rich manner. The depthless, pale blue on which vibrated black dots and figures sit over a quick and composed white line offers an utterly unique insight into the elusive, but crucially important practice of one of Germany's most influential twentieth-century artists.

  • Ronald Ventura, Forest. Sold for HK$7,880,000 ($1,015,915).
    Stepping away from his usual cartoonish characters, Ronald Ventura takes to oil paint and turns toward the human psyche to reveal the human unconscious. Forest, experiments with linear patterns that create a prismatic that zigzags across the canvas that are grounded with a certain realism provided by the haunting allure of the animals and figure head. Unlike Ventura's past works where he references commercial images such as Mickey Mouse and Angry Bird, this piece is more soft, introspective and relatable. 

  • An Exceptionally Fine and Rare Pair of Polychrome Enamelled Ruby-Back Wine Cups Marks and Period of Yongzheng. Sold for HK$7,280,000 ($938,561).
    Don't be deceived by the simple and small design; This pair of exquisite and rare wine cups require the highest level of skill and precision during each stage of its manufacture. The slightest mistake could cause defect in the delicate process of potting, firing and glazing. These wares are among the earliest famille-rose pieces that were produced from the last years of the Kangxi reign.

  • Maximilien Luce, Paris, Rue Animée Le Soir. Sold for $730,000.
    The ground and storefront gleam from the reflection of the street lamps and glisten from the illuminated storefronts in Paris, Rue Animée Le Soir. Maximilien Luce's warm and free application of yellow and green begin on the streets, and echo throughout the sky, exemplifies his fascination with urban street lighting. 

  • Rufino Tamayo, El Juglar. Sold for $672,500.
    Among Rufino Tamayo's most recognisable characters, El Juglar is cherished for his physical abilities. In this painting, the figure is balancing several objects, while spinning in space. El Juglar is an example of work within Tamayo's mature period in the 1960's.

  • Jules Bastien-Lepage, Fleur Du Chemin (La Petite Bergère). Sold for $ 670,000.
    Painted before a bed of wild flowers, the subject’s gaze is all the more compelling. Through the language of flowers, Jules Bastien-Lepage explores the meaning of birth and death, youth and age, innocence and lost love. Flower symbolism and close attention to surface detail connect Fleur du Chemin to the works of the British Pre-Raphaelites who made such an impact in Paris at the Exposition Universelle.

  • Mahmoud Mokhtar, Al Amira (The Princess). Lot sold £545,000 ($669,097).
    Al Amira, a rare example of Mahmoud Mohktar's translation of Egyptian aristocracy during the 1920s, was the artist's first marble sculpture to appear at auction. Despite its Art Deco panache, this work provides a glimpse into ancient Egypt.  

  • Statue, Kota Ndasa, Kota Ndasa Figure, Gabon. Lot sold €547,500 ($582,255).
    From the Viviane de Witt Collection, this great reliquary figure, known as an mbulu ngulu, is the effigy of a male spirit. This work is also politically significant when it comes to territorial conflicts. For a community to settle into a claimed territory, it needed, above all, consent from the local, supernatural spirits.


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