5 Key Auctions to Watch in May 2017

See what's hitting the auction block this month, from New York to Stockholm

Pablo Picasso, Femme assise, robe bleue (1939). Courtesy Christie's Images Ltd.

From New York to London to Stockholm, a wide range of work by artists including Henri Cartier-Bresson, William Kentridge, and Jeff Koons is hitting the auction block this month.

In anticipation of these May sales, with the help of the artnet Price Database, artnet News has compiled a list of five of the most interesting events taking place around the globe this month.

May 8

Henri Cartier-Bresson, <em>Fire Breather in Paris </em> (1953). Courtesy of Bukowskis, Stockholm.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, Fire Breather in Paris (1953). Courtesy of Bukowskis, Stockholm.


Henri Cartier-Bresson: E171 at Bukowskis Stockholm

Bukowskis presents select works by Cartier-Bresson, taken during his time working at Magnum, a cooperative photo agency that the famed French photographer started with Robert Capa and others. The agency, which turns 70 this year, aimed to use photography in the service of humanity—an initiative that is clearly visible in the small collection of works up for auction.

May 11

Roy Lichtenstein, <i>Composition (Picture without a Frame)</i> (1955). Courtesy Swann Galleries.

Roy Lichtenstein, Composition (Picture without a Frame) (1955). Courtesy of Swann Galleries.

Contemporary Art at Swann Galleries

Some of the biggest names in contemporary art are on the block, including Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein and Jeff Koons. This auction covers every major artistic movement from the last 75 years. David Hockney’s etching The Artist and Model and a unique mixed-media with color monotype by Robert Motherwell are highlights of the sale.


May 15

Constantin Brancusi, <i>La muse endormie</i> (1913). Courtesy Christie's Images Ltd.

Constantin Brancusi, La muse endormie (1913). Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd.


Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale at Christie’s New York

This sale will kick off 20th Century Week at Christie’s New York with 56 works. A standout is Picasso’s Femme assise, robe bleue, which has an estimate of $35 million to $50 million, making it the highest-valued lot for the month of May to date. Sotheby’s New York will have its major Impressionist and Modern Art sale the following evening, on May 16.

May 16

Irma Stern, <i>Still Life with Flowers</i> (1942). Courtesy Sotheby's.

Irma Stern, Still Life with Flowers (1942). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Modern and Contemporary African Art at Sotheby’s London

This is Sotheby’s inaugural auction of modern and contemporary African art. Artists from across the continent are represented, including Irma Stern, Yinka Shonibare, and William Kentridge. One of the highlights of the sale is Earth Developing More Roots by El Anatsui, a wall sculpture made from aluminum bottle caps and copper wire.

May 16

Helen Frankenthaler, <i>Summer Angel</i> (1984). Courtesy Bonhams

Helen Frankenthaler, Summer Angel (1984). Courtesy of Bonhams

Post-War & Contemporary Art at Bonhams New York

In another auction packed with popular artists of the 20th century, Hans Hofmann’s colorful canvas A Certain Mood is one of the most eye-catching works up for sale. Helen Frankenthaler’s large-scale abstract painting, Summer Angel, and Roy Lichtenstein’s pop-art sculpture are also highlights.

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