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Christie's tops Sotheby's in monster week for auction sales

Caleb Melby

Bloomberg

| Sun, November 18, 2018 | 01:05 pm
Christie's tops Sotheby's in monster week for auction sales

A woman looks at David Hockney’s 'Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)' during a press preview on September 13, 2018 at Christie's New York. (AFP/Timothy A. Clary)

Christie’s beat out rival Sotheby’s in a billion-dollar week for both auction houses, thanks in part to eight-figure sales by bold-faced artists.

Christie’s sold $1.1 billion in art this past week, while Sotheby’s moved $835 million of art, plus more in jewelry and watches, according to press releases from both companies.

The Christie’s haul was padded by the $90.3 million sale of David Hockney’s “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” -- who eclipsed Jeff Koons as the most expensive living artist to sell at auction. A new record for American art was also set by the company with the $92 million sale of Edward Hopper’s “Chop Suey.”

Billionaire currency trader Joe Lewis was the seller of the Hockney. The Hopper came from the collection of deceased businessman Barney A. Ebsworth. The buyers weren’t disclosed.

Read also: Raden Saleh painting, rare Hermès bags to be auctioned in Hong Kong

The highlight at Sotheby’s was the sale of a pearl and diamond necklace once owned by Marie Antoinette. The jewels sold for $36.2 million. The auction house said it’s had a 15 percent increase over last year in sales of impressionist, modern and contemporary works.

Phillips, a smaller auction house, announced $88.5 million of sales, with works from Joan Miro, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat bringing in the largest sums.

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