Top 5 Contemporary Art Auctions This Fall

Andy Warhol's "A Group of Four Portraits of São Schlumberger"

Contemporary art auctions have caused quite a stir in recent years with buyers bidding record-breaking numbers. For those who want in on the action, these five fall auctions are not to be missed.

1. Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Auction
New York, NY, November 11

First shown in 1952 at the Museum of Modern Art New York's exhibition "15 Americans," Mark Rothko's "No. 21 (Red, Brown, Black and Orange)" is one of the major highlights of the contemporary art auctions taking place in New York this fall. A treasure of an exceptional private collection amassed by French oil tycoon Pierre Schlumberger and his wife São, the piece was purchased directly from the artist's estate and has been part of their esteemed collection for over 40 years. Sotheby's expects the work to fetch over $50 million when it hits the block on November 11, joining a trove of other masterpieces from the Schlumberger Collection as well as other distinguished private collections, including Gerhard Richter's "Abstraktes Bild" (1991) and a group of four portraits of São Schlumberger by Andy Warhol.

Dennis Hopper returned to painting in the 2000s after decades devoted to photography. "Roy Lichtenstein in his Studio, 1964" is an exemplary piece from a period when the artist began turning his own photographs into billboard-scale paintings. Estimated at $130,000 to $180,000, the work is among the most sought after pieces at Bonham's Post-War and Contemporary Art Auction in New York. It joins fresh to the market artworks from important East and West Coast private collections, including George Condo's "Green on Green Collage Painting" (2000), a pair of photographs by Thomas Struth, and an untitled enamel on paper piece by Christopher Wool.

3. Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale
New York, NY, November 12

After the excitement of last fall's Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale at Christie's, when a Francis Bacon triptych set a record for the highest amount paid at auction for a work of art, $142.4 million, the November 12 event will surely be on every collector's calendar. Highlights of the affair include a rare grouping of 21 of Cindy Sherman's "Untitled Film Stills, and a cache of works from the Cy Twombly foundation by Roy Lichtenstein, Bruce Nauman, Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg that present a view of four artists who had a powerful impact on Post-War American art in the 1960s.

4. Phillips Contemporary Art Evening
New York, NY November 13

Phillips upped their game last month with the inauguration of their posh new London flagship building, but the long-standing auction house is turning up the heat Stateside as well. Their Contemporary Art Evening on November 13, in New York, will include some of the most prominent artists of the present day including Dan Flavin, Yayoi Kusama, Richard Prince, Robert Ryman, and Rudolf Stingel, as well as young rising stars like Tauba Auerbach, Wade Guyton, and Julie Mehretu. Iconic pieces by Robert Indiana and Jean-Michel Basquiat round out the offerings.

5. Sotheby's Art Contemporain
Paris, France, December 3, 7pm

Across the pond the art world is aflutter over Kazuo Shiraga, an important member of the Gutai movement (one of the first major art movements to emerge from post-war Japan) whose recent sales have far bypassed their estimated values, breaking records in the process. Dating from 1961, "Chishusei Kanchikotsuritsu," is among the artist's most sought after works. It joins a piece from the same year, by the Chinese-French abstract painter Chu Teh-Chun, several works by Pierre Soulages, and a rare painting by Jean Dubuffet at Sotheby's Art Contemporain sale in Paris this December.

Explore all of our Top 5 and Top 10 lists

--Celeste Sunderland has lived in New York, Berlin, Paris and the San Francisco Bay Area. A graduate of The University of Rhode Island's Journalism School, she spent nearly a decade working in digital media production, and has been writing professionally for print and online publications for over fifteen years. In addition to writing for ARTPHAIRE, Celeste has her own blog, Inspired by a photograph by the German photographer Olaf Otto Becker.