With $1.45 billion already spent at auctions, it could be a record-breaking week in New York

Sotheby’s totalled $379.7m for its contemporary art auction on Tuesday evening, while Christie's raised $705.9m the night before


Three auctions down, four to go and an extraordinary $1.5bn already spent. Sotheby’s recorded a total of $379.7m for its auction of contemporary art on Tuesday evening, following its $368.3m sale of Impressionist and Modern art last week. Meanwhile, Christie’s pushed the market to new levels on Monday with a standalone sale that raised $705.9m. The 35-lot auction included the record-breaking sale of $179.4m for Les Femmes d’Alger, Version “O” (1955), by Pablo Picasso, now the world’s most expensive work of art sold at auction. If all of the houses match their estimated pre-sale totals, more than $2bn will have been spent at the evening sales. Still to come as we went to press: an auction of post-war and contemporary art at Christie’s on Wednesday; and on Thursday, the auction house's sale of Impressionist and Modern art, along with two sales at Phillips.