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    In New York Sotheby’s evening sale of contemporary art on Wednesday May 12 brought in a total of $189,969,000, well over the pre-sale estimate of $114/162 million. Five new artist records were set and the sale was 94.3% sold by lot. Highlights of the evening were Andy Warhol’s Self Portrait from 1986, which more than doubled the high estimate to sell for $32,562,500 and an Untitled Mark Rothko painting from 1961 which made $31,442,500. Jackson Pollock’s Number 12A, 1948: Yellow, Gray, Black, made $8,762,500.

    At Christie’s in New York on Tuesday evening the collection of late author Michael Crichton realized $93,323,500 (£63,459,980/€ 73,725,565) and sold 100% by lot and by value.  Jasper Johns’ Flag, 1960-1966 made $28,642,500 million (£19,476,900/€ 22,627,575) (estimate: $10 million-$15 million), the highest price ever achieved for a work by Johns at auction.

    The revival in the contemporary art market is demonstrated by the fact that the series of May auctions in New York brought in $592 million, more than 175 per cent higher than the $213 million achieved in May 2009.

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