The stock and crypto markets went into free fall last month and a recession is looming. But none of that seemed to hinder the multibillion-dollar auction sales in New York last month. In total, the Big Three houses generated a heart-stopping $2.8 billion, more than any other season to date (not accounting for inflation).

To kick off the buying bonanza, Andy Warhol’s 1964 portrait of Marilyn Monroe fetched $195 million, the second-highest result for a work at auction (no matter that it fell short of its $200 million estimate). After months of hype that included a breathless press conference and a projection of the painting onto the side of Rockefeller Center, the work was bought by none other than Larry Gagosian—the very same man who sold it to owner Thomas Ammann in 1986. (It is unclear if Gagosian bought the trophy lot for himself or, more likely, for a client.)

Christie’s was the clear winner when it came to earnings, bringing in $1.25 billion from four evening sales that included the Ammann Collection and the estate of Anne Bass. Sotheby’s netted $937.9 million, bolstered by the second chapter of Harry and Linda Macklowe’s collection. Meanwhile, Phillips delivered $224.9 million, thanks in large part to the sale of Yusaku Maezawa’s 1928 Basquiat, which achieved the second-highest price of the month.

The names on the following list are unsurprisingly blue-chip, with most falling within their presale estimates. Among them is Picasso’s depiction of Marie-Thérèse Walter as a sea creature, consigned by mega-collector Steve Cohen, which fetched $67.5 million.

Perhaps the one surprise here is the remarkable sale of Emanuel Leutze’s rendition of Washington Crossing the Delaware, a smaller version of the painting that holds court in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It fetched a startling $45 million, more than twice its $20 million high estimate.

Below, see the full list of the top artworks sold at auction in May 2022.

 

1. Andy Warhol, Shot Sage Blue Marilyn (1964)

A man looks at Andy Warhol's Shot Sage Blue Marilyn during Christie's 20th and 21st Century art press preview at Christie's New York on April 29, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn during Christie’s press preview on April 29, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Estimate: $200 million

Final Price: $195,040,000

When & Where: Christie’s New York, May 9, 2022

 

2. Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (1982)

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (1982). Image courtesy Phillips.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (1982). Image courtesy Phillips.

Estimate: Undisclosed (in the region of $70 million)

Final Price: $85 million

When & Where: Phillips New York, May 18, 2022

 

3. Claude Monet, Le Parlement, soleil couchant (1900–3)

Claude Monet, Le Parlement, soleil couchant (1900-1903). Image courtesy Christie's.

Claude Monet, Le Parlement, soleil couchant (1900–3). Image courtesy Christie’s.

Estimate: $40 million to $60 million

Final Price: $75,960,000

When & Where: Christie’s New York, May 12, 2022

 

4. Pablo Picasso, Femme nue couchée (1932)

Pablo Picasso, Femme nue couchée (1932). Photo courtesy of Sotheby's New York.

Pablo Picasso, Femme nue couchée (1932). Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s New York.

Estimate: Undisclosed (in the region of $60 million)

Final Price: $67,541,000

When & Where: Sotheby’s New York, May 17, 2022

 

5. Mark Rothko, Untitled (Shades of Red) (1961)

Mark Rothko, Untitled (Shades of Red) (1961). Image courtesy Christie's.

Mark Rothko, Untitled (Shades of Red) (1961). Image courtesy Christie’s.

Estimate: $60 million to $80 million

Final Price: $66,800,000

When & Where: Christie’s New York, May 12, 2022

 

6. Claude Monet, Le Grand Canal et Santa Maria della Salute (1908)

Claude Monet, Le Grand Canal et Santa Maria della Salute (1908). Image courtesy Sotheby's.

Claude Monet, Le Grand Canal et Santa Maria della Salute (1908). Image courtesy Sotheby’s.

Estimate: Undisclosed (in the region of $50 million)

Final Price: $56,625,500

When & Where: Christie’s New York, May 12, 2022

 

7. Claude Monet, Nymphéas (1907)

Claude Monet, <i>Nymphéas</i> (1907). Courtesy of Christie's Images, Ltd.

Claude Monet, Nymphéas (1907). Courtesy of Christie’s Images, Ltd.

Estimate: $35 million to $55 million

Final Price: $56,495,000

When & Where: Christie’s New York, May 12, 2022

 

8. Jackson Pollock, Number 31 (1949)

Jackson Jackson Pollock, Number 31 (1949). Image courtesy Christie's., Number 31 (1949). Image courtesy Christie's.

Jackson Pollock, Number 31 (1949). Image courtesy Christie’s.

Estimate: Undisclosed ($45 million)

Final Price: $54,205,000

When & Where: Christie’s New York, May 12, 2022

 

9. Vincent van Gogh, Champs près des Alpilles (1889)

Vincent Van Gogh, Champs près des Alpilles (1889). Image courtesy Christie's.

Vincent Van Gogh, Champs près des Alpilles (1889). Image courtesy Christie’s.

Estimate: Undisclosed ($45 million)

Final Price: $51,915,000

When & Where: Christie’s New York, May 12, 2022

 

10. Mark Rothko, No. 1 (1962)

Mark Rothko, <i>No.1</i> (1962). Courtesy of Christie's Images, Ltd.

Mark Rothko, No.1 (1962). Courtesy of Christie’s Images, Ltd.

Estimate: $45 million to $65 million

Final Price: $49,625,000

When & Where: Christie’s New York, May 12, 2022

 

11. Pablo Picasso, Tête de femme (Fernande) (1909)

Pablo Picasso, Tête de femme (Fernande (Conceived in 1909). Image courtesy Christie's.

Pablo Picasso, Tête de femme (Fernande) (Conceived in 1909). Image courtesy Christie’s.

Estimate: Undisclosed ($30 million)

Final Price: $48,480,000

When & Where: Christie’s New York, May 12, 2022

 

12. Mark Rothko, Untitled

Mark Rothko, <i>Untitled</i> (1960). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Mark Rothko, Untitled (1960). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Estimate: $35 million to $50 million

Final Price: $48,008,000

When & Where: Sotheby’s New York, May 16, 2022

 

13. Francis Bacon, Study of Red Pope 1962, 2nd Version 1971 (1971)

Francis Bacon, Study of Red Pope 1962, 2nd Version 1971 (1971). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Francis Bacon, Study of Red Pope 1962, 2nd Version 1971 (1971). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Estimate: $40 million to $60 million

Final Price: $46,284,500

When & Where: Sotheby’s New York, May 19, 2022

 

14. Emanuel Leutze, Washington Crossing the Delaware (1851)

Emanuel Leutze, Washington Crossing the Delaware (1851). Image courtesy Christie's.

Emanuel Leutze, Washington Crossing the Delaware (1851). Image courtesy Christie’s.

Estimate: $15 million to $20 million

Final Price: $45,045,000

When & Where: Christie’s New York, May 12, 2022

 

15. Paul Cézanne, Clairière (The Glade)

Paul Cézanne, <i>Clairière (The Glade)</i> (1895). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Paul Cézanne, Clairière (The Glade) (1895). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Estimate: $30 million to $40 million

Final Price: $41,688,500

When & Where: Sotheby’s New York, May 17, 2022

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