By the Numbers: A Breakdown of Results From Sotheby’s Emily Fisher Landau Sale

Get the stats behind the spin.

The room at Sotheby's evening auction of the collection of Emily Fisher Landau. Courtesy of Sotheby's.

As we proceed with caution through New York’s fall auction season, the white-glove sale of Emily Fisher Landau’s collection stands out as a decisive win for Sotheby’s. Last night, it became the most valuable sale devoted to a female collector in history. The record for an Agnes Martin and robust appetite for three Ed Ruscha works affirmed the strong energy in the room.

The sale was also bolstered by the knockout Pablo Picasso piece Femme à la montre (1932), which accounted for about 34% of the evening’s total sales value—a welcome boost given that ten works sold for below their low estimates. That said, the house came away with $6.5 million more than its low estimate. Here are some more key numbers from the auction…


  • Total Sales After Fees:  $406.4 million
  • Hammer Total: $351 million
  • Top Seller: Pablo Picasso’s Femme à la montre (1932) for $139 million
  • Lots on Offer Before Withdrawals: 31
  • Lots Sold (including guaranteed lots): 31
  • Lots Withdrawn Presale: 0
  • Lots Bought In: 0
  • Sell-through Rate Counting Withdrawals: 100%
  • Presale Low Estimate: $344.5 million
  • Hammer Total vs. Presale Low Estimate (adjusted for withdrawals): + $6.5 million
  • Lots with Third-Party Guarantees: 24
  • Lots Guaranteed: 31
  • Next Up: Christie’s 20th Century evening sale
  • Parting shot: Single-owner sales continue to be a safe-bet for the auction houses during murky times in the art market, as made evident by this sale as well as the London auctions last month.

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