Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

With Wall Street stocks at an all-time high, Sotheby’s were able to claim their two-day total of $242m (£150m) as “the highest we have had in nine years” and Christie’s were in similarly bullish mood after their November 9 evening sale of 20th Century Art – including the single-owner collection of works from the Estate of Madeleine Haas Russell – turned over $100m (£62m). Auctioneer Christopher Burge described bidding as “consistently competitive”, with Christie’s and Sotheby’s enjoying lottage selling rates of 92 and 80 per cent respectively for their Impressionist sales.

Picassos from the 1930s continue to be the market’s hottest commodity. Sotheby’s November 10 single-owner sale of works from the Collection of Eleanore and Daniel Saidenberg was topped by the $45m (£27.9m) given for Picasso’s 1938 Femme assise dans un Jardin, while the ex-Haas Russell 1932 oil Nu au Fauteuil Noir headed Christie’s Part I sale with a price of $41m (£25.5m). These were respectively the second and fourth highest prices ever paid for a Picasso at auction.

Further highlights were the $20.5m (£12.7m) paid at Christie’s for Monet’s 1906 Nymphéas and the record $15.25m (£9.5m) at Sotheby’s for Modigliani’s 1917 Nu assis sur un Divan (La Belle Romaine).