Art Market Must Be Hot If $266.6 Million Is a Middling Auction

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Sotheby's $266.6 million contemporary art auction in New York Wednesday night would have made a much bigger splash if it hadn't come a day after Christie's $388.5 million night set a record in the field. As it is, the best we can call Sotheby's sale is "solid," as The Wall Street Journal did. The total fell right in the middle of the $215.6 million to $303.9 million Sotheby's had predicted, The New York Times' Carol Vogel reports. "And although the Sotheby’s sale was a more sober affair than the one at Christie’s on Tuesday, both showed that collectors from all over the world continue to be drawn to parking their cash in art they can enjoy, particularly when it is universally recognizable."

The highly recognizable works made up the bulk of Sotheby's income Wednesday, with Roy Lichtenstein's Sleeping Girl fetching $44.8 million -- a record for the artist. But Andy Warhol's Double Elvis only sold for a paltry $37 million -- on the low end of the predicted $30 to $50 million range. Either way, The Times'is right that art is a hot place to park cash these days. Auctioneer Tobias Meyer told Reuters: "The top end of the market performed beautifully ... due to a global demand for masterpieces that is almost unparalleled." If you're starting to feel left out of the contemporary art bonanza, there's hope yet: Phillips de Pury is holding yet another auction in New York Thursday night. Bring your checkbook.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.