Giacometti, De Chirico and Alfa Romeo cars lead Sotheby's $283m New York sales after major museum works abruptly pulled

Oct 31, 2020 723

BY: Margaret Carrigan

Only a few days from Halloween and it was hard to tell a trick from a treat at Sotheby’s back-to-back Contemporary and Impressionist and Modern evening sales in New York, moved up from their usual mid-November dates. Live streamed from the auction house’s headquarters in Manhattan but with the auctioneer, Oliver Barker, on the rostrum in the London sale room, the evening brought in a total of $238.7m ($283.9m with fees) across the two sales, just below a $239.2m-$344.3m estimate, with roughly a 97% sell-through rate of the works offered.

Overall, works were conservatively priced and most hammered around their low estimates; 51% of the lots in the contemporary sale and 36% of those in the later Impressionist and Modern sale were backed by guarantees. Among the top lots of the night was Giorgio de Chirico’s early work, Il Pomeriggio di Arianna (1913), which sold for $13.6m ($15.9m with fees), setting a new record for the artist in the Impressionist and Modern sale. 

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