A sculpture of an inflatable dolphin by Jeff Koons sold for $5 million. A 1971 Sigmar Polke painting depicting purple monkeys, an alligator and a penis was snapped up for $4.5 million. An abstract painting by Joan Mitchell fetched $1.5 million.
James Tomilson Hill, the Blackstone Group LP vice chairman who runs the company’s $58 billion hedge- fund business, has emerged as a billionaire as the world’s largest private-equity firm and his art collection have surged in value.
China’s Internet sales are surging as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and rivals lure more of the nation’s 618 million users to shop online, suggesting conventional retail-sales figures understate the strength of consumer demand.
Auction houses expect to sell as much as $2.3 billion of art in New York this month as billionaires from China to Brazil compete for trophy works by Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso and Jeff Koons in a surging market.