That figure comes from two weeks of evening sales across Impressionist, Surrealist, Modern, post-war, and contemporary art at Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Phillips, and Bonhams. Together they brought in £573.2 million, up from the £351.4 million achieved in 2016. This week’s sales of primarily contemporary work also saw solid returns. Overall, Sotheby’s made £118 million with fees, against an upper estimate of £112.6 million. This represents a 70% increase from last year’s sale. Fifteen of the 61 lots on offer were guaranteed either by Sotheby’s or by a third party. Sales of those works made up 46.6% of the evening’s value, or £55 million. Last year just four lots were guaranteed, with a combined low value of £3.8 million. Christie’s was more sparing with its guarantees in its contemporary sale, which made a total of £96.4 million with fees (the estimate ranged from £67.6 million to £101.6 million)—up 65% from last year’s total. Guarantees represented £14.6 million or 21.6% of the overall value of the sale, compared with £15 million or just under 30% in February 2016. Phillips guaranteed four out of 30 lots in its March 8th sale, down from 11 in 2016. Phillips made £14.7 million with fees against an estimate of £13.3–£19.2 million.
03 Howard Hodgkin, a highly admired post-war British painter, died on Thursday at the age of 84.