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A collection of belongings from Hollywood legend Lauren Bacall’s Manhattan apartment sold for $3.6m (£2.45m) after a two-day auction at Bonhams in New York.

Bonhams said more than 1,500 bidders from 34 countries vied for the collection belonging to the Hollywood star, who died in August at age 89.

“We have been humbled by the worldwide outpouring of enthusiasm for this sale,” said Jon King, director and vice-president at Bonhams, as well as a friend of the actress. “Bacall’s legacy will live on in the homes of her countless admirers.”

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On March 17, Christie’s hosted its first-ever evening sale dedicated to Asian art in New York. The occasion was the first offering from the prized Robert Hatfield Ellsworth Collection, regarded as the most prestigious — not to mention largest — private collection of Asian art to hit the auction block. Thanks to the freshness of the material and the pedigreed provenance, the house had no trouble securing buyers for all 57 lots, and with a whopping $61,107,500, total, the results demonstrated strength across all areas of the market for Indian, Himalayan, Southeast Asian, Chinese, and Japanese art.

The sale began promptly at 6 p.m., with fierce participation from telephone bidders and individuals in the room for a superb gilt-bronze figure of a seated bear from China’s Western Han Dynasty (206 BC).

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Mark Rothko once said that his formula for a good painting included a dollop of hope – “10 percent to make the tragic concept more endurable.” When bidders gather on May 13 at Christie’s to do battle for the next big Rothko to come to auction – a blazing red and black work, “No. 36 (Black Stripe),” painted in 1958, a banner year for the artist – they will have to bring a lot more than hope.

The painting, being sold by the German collector Frieder Burda, who has given it pride of place in his museum in Baden-Baden for several years, is estimated to sell for $30 million to $50 million. But prime Rothkos have become so rare and sought-after that the competition is likely to be fierce. Rothko’s auction record was set at Christie’s in 2012, when “Orange, Red, Yellow,” another of his trademark horizontal color-slab paintings, from 1961, sold for almost $87 million.

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A 9.75-carat fancy vivid blue diamond from the collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon sold for more than $32.6 million, shattering its high estimate of $15 million at Sotheby’s New York Thursday. The price set a world auction record for any blue diamond; and at more than $3.3 million per carat, it set a world auction record for price-per-carat for any diamond.

The pear-shaped diamond was sought after by seven bidders who competed for 20 minutes for the gem, Sotheby’s said. It ultimately sold to a Hong Kong private collector who named it “The Zoe Diamond.”

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One of Georgia O’Keeffe’s iconic flower paintings has shattered the auction record for a work by a female artist. On Thursday, November 20, “Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1” (1932), a commanding painting with an impressive provenance, sold for $44.4 million during Sotheby’s American Art sale in New York. The work, which belonged to the artist’s sister, Anita O’Keeffe Young, and hung in the White House’s private dining room during the George W. Bush administration, was offered for sale by the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. The Santa Fe-based institution sold the painting, along with two other works by O’Keeffe, to benefit its Acquisitions Fund.

Seven bidders competed for “Jimson Weed,” driving the price to a record height and nearly tripling the work’s high estimate of $15 million.

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A mystery worthy of the one of the great writer’s own books reached its conclusion in Bonhams Jewelery sale in Knightsbridge.

Setting the room buzzing with excitement, bidders in the room, on the telephones, and online competed for Christie’s diamond brooch and three-stone diamond ring, pushing the prices ever higher. The ring, originally estimated at £3,000-5,000, sold for £21,875 (including buyer’s premium), and the brooch, estimated at £6,000-8,000, sold for a whopping £27,500 (including buyer’s premium).

The two pieces were long thought to be lost, having been mentioned as family heirlooms by Christie in her autobiography, but their whereabouts were unknown.

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A monumental Fencai Imperial Qing Dynasty vase auctioned for $24.7 million at Skinner last night, setting a record as the top grossing lot ever sold in New England, and topping all sales of Qing Dynasty vases in the U.S. The Skinner "Asian Works of Art" auction coincides with Asia Week, and this vase has surpassed all other objects sold during the event to date.

An intensely focused and enthusiastic crowd packed the auction room, and most rose to their feet as the vase soared past the $10 million mark. After spirited bidding from multiple bidders present in the room and participating by phone, the hammer fell to a round of applause.

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As established and start-up companies alike jump in the race to serve online auction bidders, several regional auction houses have announced a new platform. Bidsquare was developed by six houses—Brunk Auctions, Cowan’s Auctions, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, Pook & Pook, Rago, and Skinner—with the aim of bringing together “like-minded audiences as well as exceptional property.” The new platform will provide access to a wide variety of property, from fine art and estate jewelry, to design, and historical artifacts. Lots will be available on an “intuitive, easy-to-use website” that will allow buyers and the auctioneers to conduct business directly in an online forum, according to a Bidsquare press release.

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Christie’s evening auction of Old Master & British Paintings realised £44,986,000/ $77,016,032/ €56,547,402. The sale attracted 145 registered bidders from 27 countries across 5 continents. The top price was paid for Venice, the Bacino di San Marco with the Piazzetta and the Doge's Palace by Francesco Guardi From The Baron Henri de Rothschild Collection, a masterpiece dating from the artist’s full maturity which realised £9,882,500/ $16,918,840/ €12,422,303, setting the second highest price for a work by the artist at auction (estimate: £8-10 million). New artist record prices at auction were achieved for works by Willem Claesz. Heda (lot 31); Matthias Stomer (lot 34); The Master of the Annunciation to the Shepherds (lot 36); Luca Giordano (lot 38); and Sir Henry Raeburn (lot 64), among others.

Henry Pettifer, Head of Old Master & British Paintings at Christie’s London: “This sale drew strong and enthusiastic bidding from around the world for the rarest works of the highest quality. The continued breadth of demand for Old Masters was reflected by the fact that bidders from 27 countries across 5 continents registered to bid in this auction. We are very pleased with the results of the works from The Barbara Piasecka Johnson Collection which was led by Vermeer's Saint Praxedis and included a group of Italian Baroque paintings which set new record prices at auction for The Master of the Annunciation to the Shepherds (lot 36: £2,434,500) and Luca Giordano (lot 38: £962,500). Notable prices were also achieved for the masterpiece by Francesco Guardi from The Baron Henri de Rothschild Collection (lot 19: £9,882,500) and the Brueghel the Younger "Road to Calvary‟ (lot 13: £5,514,500), each respectively setting the second highest auction price for the artist.”

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Christie’s Evening Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art on Tuesday, May 6, realized $285,879,000 (£168,668,610/€205,832,880), selling 89% by lot and 96% by value. This marks the highest total for Christie’s New York in this category since May 2010. Of the 53 works offered, 9 lots sold for over $10 million, 18 for over $5 million, and 43 for over $1 million. The sale was led by works from distinguished private collections, including Monet’s Nymphéas from The Clark Family Treasures and Picasso’s Portrait de femme (Dora Maar) from the Viktor and Marianne Langen Collection. Two additional sales, Works on Paper and the Day sale, will complete the series on Wednesday, May 7.

Brooke Lampley, Head of Department, Impressionist & Modern Art, Christie’s New York, commented, “Our strong performance tonight, the highest since May of 2010, is a testament to the continued strength of the global market for Impressionist and Modern works of art. Bidders from 36 countries competed in our sale tonight for a wide variety of works, from Monet’s classic Nymphéas and Modigliani’s engaging portrait of a red-haired man, to bold, modern works by Picasso and Kandinsky. Our global team has worked tirelessly to source the best works available this season, many of which had never been offered at auction, including star lots from the leading collections of the season: the Clark Family Treasures, the Estate of Edgar M. Bronfman and the Viktor and Marianne Langen Collection.”

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