The fall’s auction season in New York is turning out to be a record-breaking one. Tuesday night Sotheby’s made its highest-ever total with a postwar and contemporary auction that came to $375.1 million. And earlier this evening, a Christie’s sale in the same category brought in $412.3 million, the highest total ever for an auction of contemporary art. Led by house auctioneer Jussi Pylkkänen, the lively sale, which topped its high estimate of $411.8 million, saw new records for Richard Serra, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Franz Kline, Richard Diebenkorn, Donald Judd, Mark Grotjahn and Jeff Koons. Mr. Koons is now the second most expensive living artist at auction, after Gerhard Richter.
Sotheby’s saw its highest-ever auction total last night during a spirited, two-hour-long postwar and contemporary sale in which auctioneer Tobias Meyer hammered $375.1 million worth of art, including buyer’s premium, a sum that peaked just over the house’s high estimate of $374.7 million for the 69 lots on offer. Fifty-eight of those works sold, for a respectable 84.1 percent sell-through rate by lot, with new artist records for a number of Abstract-Expressionists—Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Arshile Gorky and Hans Hofmann—and for the 40-year-old painter Wade Guyton.
While art handlers with Crozier Fine Arts were hanging a painting by Mark Rothko in the home of the painter’s son, the painting fell off the wall and was impaled on nearby furniture, according to the Courthouse News Service.