Here’s What’s Headlining Next Week’s New York Sales at Sotheby’s

May brings works by Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Joan Mitchell, Francis Bacon and more to the auction house.

A person looks at a large framed impressionist painting in a dark room
Here’s what’s on at this year’s May New York Sales at Sotheby’s. Courtesy Sotheby's

The New York Sales at Sotheby's run concurrently with Christie’s Spring Marquee Week auctions and offer a similar lineup of storied masterpieces and works seemingly handpicked for the serious (and wealthy) art collector. The lineup of auctions of works from the 19th, 20th and 21st Centuries kicks off on May 13 with the Now Evening Auction and runs through the Modern Day Auction on May 16. Across the sales, several career-defining masterworks and rare-yet-recognizable pieces stand out.

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Francis Bacon’s Portrait of George Dyer Crouching (1966)

Oil portrait of naked man crouching over shirt
Francis Bacon, Portrait of George Dyer Crouching, (1966). Courtesy Sotheby's

Francis Bacon’s Portrait of George Dyer Crouching, making its auction debut in Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening auction, is the first in a series of ten single-panel paintings Bacon painted of his greatest love and muse, George Dyer, whose intertwined relationship with the artist brought him many highs and lows and inspired some of his most recognizable works. High estimate: $50 million.

Lucio Fontana’s Concetto spaziale, La fine di Dio, (1964)

Lucio Fontana, Concetto spaziale, La fine di Dio, (1964). Courtesy Sotheby's

Lucio Fontana’s Concetto spaziale, La fine di Dio, or Spatial Concepts, The End of God, is one in a series of six egg-shaped canvases exploring the artist’s spirituality and ideas of matters and space. The Argentine-Italian Fontana, who famously said that he did not want to make a painting but wanted to open up space instead, could have his auction record broken at the Contemporary Evening sale (currently the record stands at $29.2 million). High estimate: $30 million.

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Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled (1984)

Large scale canvas filled with graphics, numbers, colorful swatches of paint and paintings of heads
Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled, (1984). Courtesy Sotheby's

Untitled, one of the most notable of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s artistic collaborations, is a high point of the Contemporary Evening auction. Noted by Sotheby’s as the most significant collaborative painting to appear at auction in over a decade, it actually invoked a lukewarm response upon its reception. But art lovers have warmed up to this Warhol-Basquiat collaboration in recent years. Fellow artist Keith Haring remarked that the work was seemingly effortless and described it as “a physical conversation happening in paint instead of words.” High estimate: $20 million.

Claude Monet’s Meules à Giverny (1893)

Painting depicting large haystack in middle of green tree-lined field
Claude Monet, Meules à Giverny, (1893). Courtesy Sotheby's

A fine example of Claude Monet’s late period of haystack paintings, Meules à Giverny, will be sold in Sotheby’s May 15 Modern Evening Sale in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the First Impressionist Exhibition in Paris in 1874. This painting, the first of Monet’s pieces to come to the U.S., has been in the same collection for decades and is being sold along with some of his other works. High estimate: $30 million.

Joan Mitchell’s Noon (1969)

Vertical abstract painting with large blue and green swathes of paint
Joan Mitchell, Noon, (1969). Courtesy Sotheby's © Estate of Joan Mitchell

Joan Mitchell’s Noon is one of four of the artist’s defining masterworks that will go on the block in the Contemporary Evening auction; combined the works are expected to realize $50 million. After her mother’s passing in 1967, a grief-stricken Mitchell moved to the countryside of Vétheuil, France where she discovered the color palette seen in this painting. High estimate: $20 million.

Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park #126 (1984)

Vertical abstract painting with blue and yellow horizontal lines.
Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park #126 (1984) Courtesy Sotheby's © Richard Diebenkorn

Richard Diebenkorn’s vertical abstract painting Ocean Park #126, one of several iconic works inspired by the beaches of Santa Monica, California, will go on the block in the Contemporary Evening auction. At the time of its execution, Diebenkorn transformed his art style from a figurative style to abstracts, which he rendered in the sunny coastal color palette of blues, golds and sandy beige that can be seen in this painting. High estimate: $25 million.

Leonora Carrington’s Les Distractions de Dagobert (1945)

Large-scale surrealist painting depicting figures in scenes with fire, water, earth and air.
Leonora Carrington, Les Distractions de Dagobert, (1945). Courtesy Sotheby's

Les Distractions de Dagobert by surrealist Leonora Carrington is the artist’s “magnum opus” with its striking animal/human hybrid beasts and magical gothic imagery. Painted at the height of Carrington’s career, it could break the British-Mexican painter’s record at the Modern Evening sale. High estimate: $18 million.

René Magritte’s Le Banquet (circa 1955-58)

Horizontal landscape painting of trees at dusk.
Rene Magritte, The Banquet, (circa 1955-58) Courtesy of Sotheby's

René Magritte’s Le Banquet, one of four paintings in a series, depicts a slightly sinister forest at sunset with a vivid red sun invading the foreground. This mysterious and suspenseful nocturnal work, painted using oil and gouache, renders what is expected to be invisible visible, making it one of many classic works of surrealism by Magritte. High estimate: $20 million.

Here’s What’s Headlining Next Week’s New York Sales at Sotheby’s