Auction House Glut of Trophy Art Reaches $1.8 Billion

Next week's New York City auctions at Christie's and Sotheby's could break several records.

November 11, 2018 11:39 am
Edward Hopper's 1929 painting, Chop Suey (Photo credit: Christie's)
Edward Hopper's 1929 painting, Chop Suey (Photo credit: Christie's)

If you’ve ever been in the market for work by a big-name artist, next week will offer numerous opportunities to reach your goal—provided you have the wherewithal.

In New York City, auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s are primed to sell off massive collections that are expected to fetch around $1.8 billion combined. The sales will include works from two major collectors: Barney Ebsworth, at Christie’s, and David Josefowitz, at Sotheby’s.

Ebsworth’s batch will feature Edward Hopper’s 1929 “Chop Suey”—estimated to go for between $70 million to $100 million—David Hockney’s “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)”—which could bring in more than $80 million—and Pablo Picasso’s “La Lampe,” estimated to fetch between $25 million to $35 million. Other Picassos and a Kandinsky are on offer as well.

Meanwhile, the highlight of Sotheby’s Josefowitz auction is the 1915 painting by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner,“Das Soldatenbad,” which depicts a disturbing scene of naked men clustered together showering under the close watch of a guard. The canvas work, painted after the artist left the military had been formerly in the possession of the Guggenheim as well as the Museum of Modern Art and is estimated to bring $15 million to $20 million.

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