(Bloomberg) -- On the same day that a selloff wiped $1.5 trillion of value from the stock market, Asher Edelman was in the audience at Phillips auction house in New York. Million-dollar lots sold in quick succession—$8.4 million for a Rothko, $15.6 million for a Calder, $85 million for a Basquiat—with many selling well above their high estimates.

“It doesn’t surprise me at all that we had a great day,” says Edelman, an ex-financier and the current chairman of the board of ArtBnk. “I think most people had pre-decided on a lot of things, and they weren’t going to un-decide because the market was down. There’s plenty of cash rolling around.”

Six months from now will be a different story, Edelman cautions. “It’s pretty simple,” he says. “In 1989 and in 2008, you had very similar activities. In 1989 the economy began to collapse, and by 1990 no art traded at all. But in 1989 I sold 30% of my art collection by value in the November sales.”

In 2008 everyone witnessed the same thing: “In May, 2008, we still had a very hot art market, even though people were already starting to get very hurt by subprime mortgages,” he says. “And then six months later the art market collapsed, and it wasn’t until 2010 or 2011 that you saw it spark again.”

This year’s marquee May auctions in New York, Edelman predicts, will be remembered the same way: “Here we are again, going into what will be the most serious recession, probably, since the 1970s.” If that’s true, the art market has gone out with a bang. In just two weeks, Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips sold about $2.5 billion worth of art. The biggest winners in this week’s sales, seen below, brought in $759 million, with works by Monet and Rothko dominating the list. 

Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, $195 million

Painted in 1964 and sold at Christie’s

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled, $85 million

Painted in 1982 and sold at Phillips

Claude Monet’s Le Parlement, Soleil Couchant, $75.9 million

Painted between 1900 and 1903 and sold at Christie’s

Pablo Picasso’s Femme nue Couchée, $67.5 million

Painted in 1932 and sold at Sotheby’s

Mark Rothko’s Untitled (Shades of Red), $66.8 million

Painted in 1961 and sold at Christie’s

Claude Monet’s Le Grand Canal et Santa Maria della Salute, $56.6 million

Painted in 1908 and sold at Sotheby’s

Claude Monet’s Nymphéas, $56.5 million

Painted in 1907 and sold at Christie’s

Jackson Pollock’s Number 31, $54.2 million

Painted in 1949 and sold at Christie’s

Vincent van Gogh’s Champs près des Alpilles, $51.9 million

Painted in 1889 and sold at Christie’s

Mark Rothko’s No. 1, $49.6 million

Painted in 1962 and sold at Christie’s

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