Great gaps in the world of art auctions

Our last data-visualization for La Lettura explores the world of art auctions.
The visualization explores the art pieces hammered during last 10 years by Sotheby’s auction company.
Visualized are the 532 pieces which a selling prices greater than 4 milions or Euro.
Pieces are positioned horizontally according to the hammer price (x axis) and vertically according to the date of the auction (y axys).
Each piece is represented through: its’ final hammer price, the gap between the minimum and the maximum initial estimated sale price, the city and season of the auction.

Sotherby ENGL-01

(click on the image for a large version)

It is interesting to notice that the two thirds of the artworks have been awarded for a greater sale price than their highest esteem; and with a strong participation form Asiatic and Russian collectors.

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 15.02.13

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 15.02.35

The most expensive pieces have been indeed hammered in auctions taking place in London and New York through time, followed at a long distance by Hong Kong and Geneva. It is also interesting to notice an apparent lack in pricey auctions during the year 2009, and a general distance that separates the most expensive artworks from the average.

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 15.06.20

Thus, the visualization also explores the 11 pieces that have ben sold for more than 40 millions of Euro, displaying their main sizes and colors, the order of the piece’s call among the auction’s batches and illustrating them with a little pictogram.

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 15.09.17 Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 15.09.25 Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 15.09.30

Sources: sotheby’
*The time span starts on May 1st, 2004 and ends on April 30, 2014.
** The price of each piece has been actualized according to: the current inflaction rate (as of June 2014), the local monthly currency exchange, and then converted in Euro.


Data analysis and visualization by Accurat (
Giorgia Lupi, Simone Quadri, Gabriele Rossi with Davide Ciuffi, Stefania Guerra, Alex Piacentini

original italian version here



About giorgia lupi

1981 I am an architect that never built any house (luckily). I work with information, designing, researching and drawing a lot. I am co-founder ad design director at Accurat ( I am a PhD student at Milan Politecnico (


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