Two weeks of auction in New York brings in $2.5 billion

(Bloomberg) — On the same day that a sell-off wiped $1.5 trillion of value from the stock market, Asher Edelman was in the audience at the Phillips auction house in New York. Million-dollar lots sold in quick succession – $8.4 million for a Rothko, $15.6 million for a Calder, $85 million for a Basquiat – and many sold well at above their high estimates.

“It doesn’t surprise me at all that we had a great day,” says Edelman, former financier and current chairman of the board of ArtBnk. “I think most people had a lot of things pre-decided, and they weren’t going to back down because the market was down. There is a lot of money circulating.

In six months, it will be a different story, warns Edelman. “It’s pretty simple,” he says. “In 1989 and in 2008, you had very similar activities. In 1989 the economy began to collapse, and by 1990 no art was being commercialized. But in 1989, I sold 30% of my art collection by value in the November sales.

In 2008, everyone witnessed the same thing: “In May 2008, we still had a very hot art market, even though people were already starting to be very affected by subprime mortgages”, says -he. “And then six months later the art market crashed, and it wasn’t until 2010 or 2011 that you saw it pick up again.”

May of this year’s landmark auctions in New York, Edelman predicts, will be remembered similarly: “Here we are again in what will probably be the deepest recession since the 1970s.” It’s true, the art market has collapsed. In just two weeks, Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips sold around $2.5 billion worth of artwork. This week’s biggest sales winners, shown below, took in $759 million, with works by Monet and Rothko dominating the list.

Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, $195 million

Painted in 1964 and sold at Christie’s

Untitled by Jean-Michel Basquiat, $85 million

Painted in 1982 and sold at Phillips

Claude Monet’s Parliament, Setting Sun, $75.9 million

Painted between 1900 and 1903 and sold at Christie’s

Reclining Naked Woman by Pablo Picasso, $67.5 million

Painted in 1932 and sold at Sotheby’s

Untitled (Shades of Red) by Mark Rothko, $66.8 million

Painted in 1961 and sold at Christie’s

The Grand Canal and Santa Maria della Salute by Claude Monet, $56.6 million

Painted in 1908 and sold at Sotheby’s

Water Lilies by Claude Monet, $56.5 million

Painted in 1907 and sold at Christie’s

Jackson Pollock’s Number 31, $54.2 million

Painted in 1949 and sold at Christie’s

Fields near the Alpilles by Vincent van Gogh, $51.9 million

Painted in 1889 and sold at Christie’s

Mark Rothko’s No. 1, $49.6 million

Painted in 1962 and sold at Christie’s

©2022 Bloomberg LP

Laura J. Boyer