Auctions have long been heralded the art world’s blood sport – and for good reason. Wealthy collectors and speculators convene to wage a bidding war for the most coveted works coming into the market. The results of this eternal dance can be unpredictable to the hilt, and in addition, they set the tone for movement in art sales. Successful sales and record auction prices are indicative of market sentiment and can buoy the market in a particular direction, unrelentingly. On the converse side, subpar auctions can undermine confidence and market sentiment, rippling through the art world.
We take a look at the recent Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction and Christie’s Post War & Contemporary Art Evening Auction held in London early March, where record-breaking prices and remarkable sell-through rates have indicated a clear signal that this is a seller’s market. Sales came in at the second-highest total ever for a London post-war and contemporary evening auction season, with the last peak reached in February 2015. Here are the top five pieces that were sold at the auctions. As all would have expected, the most expensive art pieces each commanded eight-figure price tags.