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Cecily Brown's 2004 painting Bonus sold from the collection of Ed Cohen and Victoria Shaw at Sotheby's was one of the top lots of the Armory Week sales in New York. The painting sold for twice the high estimate which, along with works by Gerhard Richter, and Brice Marden, helped the collection make $7.2m at Sotheby's. Across town, Christie's middle market contemporary art sale was also boosted by $2m because of the addition of the Earl McGrath collection.
Altogether, this year's round of auctions accompanying Armory Week and its art fairs were up 15.6% on the previous year's sales totals. That's not as big a leap as what took place in London over the last two weeks. Considering the price-points and consistent volumes in the Contemporary middle market, though, the jump is significant and worth exploring at greater length.
The results shown below indicate a Contemporary art market that may be deeper and stronger than many suspect. Sotheby's ability to sell the majority of the lots in their sale above the high pre-sale estimate is only one of the important indicators.
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