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First Post-Election Evening Sale at Sotheby’s Raises $157.7 Million

New York Sotheby’s Impressionist and modern art evening sale netted $157.7 million Monday night, despite concerns that the presidential election results would have a negative effect on the market.

Led by Edvard Munch’s Girls on the Bridge, 1902, which sold for $54.5 million—the second-highest auction price ever paid for a work by the artist—the auction’s selling rate was 81 percent. Only eight of its forty-two lots didn’t sell. While the sale raised less than the $306.7 million it brought in last November, buyers cited a lack of supply over postelection anxiety as the reason.

“The sales are thinner,” James Roundell, the director of Impressionist and modern art at the London- and New York–based advisory firm Dickinson, told the New York Times. “People have wondered, ‘Do I sell now, or wait?’ There was an argument for waiting.”

Mary Hoeveler, a New York art adviser, said, “Not a single one of my clients has held back because of the election. But there is a supply issue. We’ve seen this over the last couple of years. So much of this auction was day-sale quality.”

As the second highest sale, Picasso’s Le Peintre et son modele, 1963, raised $12.9 million, which was on the lower end of its $12 million to $18 million estimate. Fetching $6.1 million, László Moholy-Nagy’s EM 1 Telephonbild (EM 1 Telephone Picture), 1922, broke the previous record ($1.6 million) for a work by the artist.

Helena Newman, appointed chairman of Sotheby’s Europe in July, was the first female auctioneer to lead an evening sale in New York.