Additionally, Sotheby’s Chief Executive Officer Charles F. Stewart stated the collection “stands in a league of its own as the greatest collection of Modern and Contemporary Art ever to come to the market.” Stewart also predicted, “the sale will make history as one of the landmark events defining the art market and the history of Sotheby’s over the past 277 years.”
So, while the numbers achieved in this first installment are impressive, they were not necessarily unexpected. Still, as one of the most valuable auctions of all time, these results are worthy of a closer look.
Overall, approximately 70 percent of items featured surpassed the high end of their estimated sale price. Within the auction, two items exceeded $70 million—Mark Rothko’s No. 7 and Alberto Giacometti’s Le Nez. Additionally, four artworks sold for more than $50 million, twelve surpassed $20 million, and twenty exceeded $10 million.
Rothko’s No. 7 achieved the highest price of the day and the second-highest of all time for the artist. After an eight-minute bidding battle, the 1951 artwork went for $82.5 million. And, of course, Giacometti’s sculpture Le Nez followed close behind, achieving $78.4 million.