Notable 21st century Sotheby’s auctions


Rosie the Riveter (auctioned in 2002)

Norman Rockwell’s painting “Rosie the Riveter” sold for $4.96 million.

Dora Maar au chat (auctioned in 2006)

Pablo Picasso’s “Dora Maar au Chat” sold for $95 million.

Artemis and the Stag (auctioned in 2007)

Artemis and the Stag

The “Artemis and the Stag” sculpture sold for $28.6 million at an auction held at Sotheby’s in Buffalo, New York, breaking the world record for most expensive sculpture ever sold at public auction. This Roman-era bronze sculpture also broke the world record for most expensive work from antiquity ever sold at public auction.

White Center (acutioned in 2007)

Mark Rothko’s “White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose)” grossed $72.8 million, making it the world’s most expensive piece of contemporary art sold at auction.

Lullaby Spring (auctioned in 2007)

Damien Hirst’s “Lullaby Spring” pill cabinet grossed the equivalent of 19 million USD when sold at Sotheby’s in London. This made it the world’s most expensive work sold at public auction by a living artist.

Guennol Lioness (auctioned in 2007)

The Guennol Lioness sold for 57 million USD, breaking the old world record for most expensive sculpture sold at public auction. The Guennol Lioness is a limestone sculpture from ancient Mesopotamia and its age is estimated to be at least 5,000 years.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard (auctioned in 2007)

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

In December, Sotheby’s auctioned out a limited edition leather bound copy of “The Tales of Beedle the Bard”. It’s author, J.K. Rowling, was selling the book to raise funds for The Children’s Voice charity. The book was mentioned in the Harry Potter novel series, but Rowling didn’t write it until 2007. She created seven copies only; and each handwritten and illustrated by Rowling herself, and each with a unique cover. Six books were given away as gifts, with the seventh being sent to Sotheby’s for auction.

The book was expected to sell for the equivalent of $100,000 but ended up selling for a hammer price of $3,835,980 to a buyer acting on behalf of

Magna Carta (auctioned in 2007)

A 710 year old copy of Magna Carta was sold for 21.3 million USD. Only 17 copies are known to exist and this was the only one that was privately owned at the time.

The Scream (auctioned in 2012)

Edvard Munch made four versions of The Scream and one of those were auctioned out by Sotheby’s in 2012. The price landed on 119,922,500 USD.

Abstraktes Bild (auctioned in 2012)

A new record for most expensive work of art by a living artist was set in 2012, when the painting “Abstraktes Bild” by Gerhard Richter was purchased for 34 million USD.