5 Takeaways From the November Auctions

What last month's auctions tell us about the auction market.

Claude Monet, Meule (1891). Courtesy Christie's Images Ltd.

Each month, 1,700 auction houses from New York to Lagos hold auctions. Data culled from these sales often tell an interesting tale, whether about people finding artwork selling well below its market value or an artist coming to the secondary market for the first time. Often it’s the blockbuster sales in May and November that grab the headlines, but how is the auction market performing throughout the year?

In this monthly series, with the help of the artnet Price Database, we’ll attempt to fill you in with some of the more interesting facts, numbers, and stories that we find.

  1. The most expensive Fine Art lot sold in November 2016 is Claude Monet’s Muele. The oil painting was auctioned by Christie’s New York on November 16, 2016 in the Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale. It sold for $81,447,500.

    Courtesy Sotheby's.

    Courtesy Sotheby’s.

  2. Sotheby’s Geneva shines at the top spot for most expensive Decorative Art auction lot sold in November. The 07 carat pink diamond ring went for a whopping 20,825,000 CHF ($20,825,000) on November 16, 2016 in the Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale. Rings was one of the top five collecting categories searched in the artnet Decorative Art Price Database in November.
Edvard Munch, Girls on the Bridge (1902). Courtesy Sotheby's.

Edvard Munch, Girls on the Bridge (1902). Courtesy Sotheby’s.


  1. Out of 103 cities across the globe that offered artworks at auction, New York had the highest total sales. There were 10,261 lots sold for a total of $1,992,660,669. Hong Kong came at a close second with a total of $672,735,589. New York and Hong Kong were also the top cities in total sales in November 2015 and 2014.

    R. Crumb. Courtesy of Heritage Auctions, Dallas.

    R. Crumb. Courtesy of Heritage Auctions, Dallas.


  1. Heritage Auctions sold the most expensive Robert Crumb of all time during their Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction on November 18, 2016. The original set of four drawings sold for $143,400. The work had a low estimate of $45,000. Heritage has been a key contributor to the rise in value of Crumb’s works over the years.

    Keith Haring, <i>Untitled</i> (1983) Courtesy of Phillips

    Keith Haring, Untitled (1983) Courtesy of Phillips

  2. There were 332 new artists added to the Price Database last month, including contemporary Chinese artist Michael Lau. His painting, Wall of Jordan (triptych), sold for 1,375,000 HKD during the Asian Contemporary (Day Sale) at Christie’s Hong Kong on November 27, 2016. A portion of the sale from this lot will be donated to the charity Youth Outreach.


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