Monday evening at Sotheby’s in Manhattan was a memorable one for the famed auction house. Pablo Picasso’s ‘Guitar on a Table’ sold for $37.1 million, closing the evening at one of its highest-ever tallies of $392 million.
The cubist from 1919 was part of CBS founder William Paley’s private collection. Following his passing in 1990, a couple dozen pieces were put into the care of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. A foundation for Mr. Paley decided to begin auctioning off some of the famed works in an effort to raise $70 million for various causes. One of the main goals of the sales is to help fund an expansion of MoMA’s digital footprint, with the possibility of developing a museum-run streaming art channel or pairing up with a university to offer art degrees.
During the auction, two bidders competed diligently for the Picasso piece, driving up the price tag. While the colorful “Guitar on a Table” had expected to sell for an estimated $20 million, a telephone bidder closed the sale at over $37 million.
Other pieces from Mr. Paley’s estate were also sold on Monday night and an additional painting was auctioned earlier this month at Sotheby’s in London.
In a record-breaking sale, the famous 1964 Andy Warhol portrait of Marilyn Monroe has sold for $195 million. The sale took place at Christie’s auction house in New York.
While estimates before the event had the artwork priced at $200 million, this auction has set new records for 20th century American art. It is the most expensive piece of American artwork ever sold at an auction. It is also the second priciest auctioned piece of art, after Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” sold for $450 million in 2017.
The sale of the iconic silk-screen portrait was encouraging for many art dealers. Andrew Fabricant, COO of Gagosian Gallery and a top art dealer, explained: “This shows that quality and scarcity are always going to push the market forward. It will give a bump psychologically to everyone’s thinking.”
The artwork, entitled Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, was painted by Warhol two years after Monroe’s death in 1964. It is one in a series of five versions of the portrait, each featuring a different color scheme. After a woman entered Warhol’s studio and fired gunshots at a stack of the paintings, the portraits inherited their titles.
Since the 1980s, Shot Sage Blue Marilyn had been owned by a Swiss art dealer. Proceeds of this memorable sale will go to charity in support of education and health programming for children.
Brooklyn Commons is the new name of the Brookfield Properties 16-acre business and cultural campus between Flatbush Avenue and Jay Street. Once named MetroTech Center, Brooklyn Commons has everything: offices for rent, trendy eateries, cultural programming, lush parks, and inviting open spaces. With an investment of $50 million, three Brooklyn Commons buildings are being overhauled and outfitted with new lobbies, terraces, and retail spaces on the entrance level.
The renovations also include Brooklyn Commons Park, the 3.5-acre public park at the heart of the campus. With an ice skating rink that is open now, and new seating and lounging areas planned for the future, the space is already a great option for a day out. Brooklyn Commons also offers cultural programming for the public. The Arts Brookfield program at Brooklyn Commons has a robust schedule of educational lectures, art exhibits, film viewings, theater performances, concerts, food festivals, and holiday festivities.