What to Expect at a Painting Auction

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Before you attend a Painting Auction, learn about the various terms that are used in the art market. Hammer Price is the amount of money paid for a particular piece at auction, before buyer’s premium. “Bought In” refers to artwork that does not sell at auction, and is returned to the consignor. Sell-Through Rate (STR) is the percentage of total bids over estimated value. Rates below 80 percent are considered lackluster.

The auction houses publish an online catalog of the works they are auctioning. These catalogs usually include photographs, prices, and additional information about the artists and works of art. However, this is not a foolproof method of evaluating the art, and so it is advisable to consult with an art expert before buying.

The artist Anna Weyant, a New York-based artist, had works featured at all three major auction houses. Her dark, figurative paintings of women evoke the work of early 20th century masters such as RenĂ© Magritte. In Sotheby’s “The Now” evening auction, her painting Falling Woman sold for $1.6 million.

Paintings have become one of the most popular mediums at auctions. Some of the biggest and most expensive paintings sell for record prices. In 2017, Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, for example, fetched over 450 million dollars. Other record-breakers include works by Paul Gaugin, Jackson Pollock, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. However, paintings are not limited to big name artists; smaller auction houses have catalogs of paintings in their prices range.

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