Sotheby's Rises After Basquiat Painting Sets New Record

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Shares of art auctioneer Sotheby's (BID) are trading higher after the company auctioned off a work of art by painter Jean-Michel Basquiat for a record $110.5M.

WHAT'S NEW: The 1982 Basquiat painting, called "Untitled," was bought by Japanese billionaire and Zozotown founder Yusaku Maezawa after just ten minutes of bidding, Sotheby's said. The painting surpassed the previous record for a work by a U.S. artist at auction, which was $105.4M paid for Andy Warhol's "Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)." Sotheby's said "Untitled" was a critical landmark in Basquiat's career because it "declared the arrival of the brilliant, then virtually unknown young artist into a world that would be forever transformed by his paintings."

WHAT'S NOTABLE: Sotheby's announced earlier this week that it sold a pair of diamond earrings for $57.4M, making the set the most expensive earrings ever sold at auction. The set consists of the 14.54-carat "Apollo Blue" earring, which sold for $42.1M, and the 16-carat "Artemis Pink" diamond, which brought in $15.3M. Tad Smith, Sotheby's chief executive officer, suggested earlier this month that fine art prices have room to grow based on the spending power of the world's billionaires, CNBC reported.

PRICE ACTION: Shares of Sotheby's rose nearly 2% to $50.40 in late morning trading.

Disclosure: None.


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