Sotheby's Contemporary Art Sale Smashes Records
The Contemporary Art Evening Sale at Sotheby's last night was the highest total ever achieved in London by a contemporary sale in history. £108,803,550 / $174,129,201 /€120,923,897 was sold, all pre-sale expectations were smashed (estimate: £74-105 million). Buyers from around the globe participated in the auction. Record sell-through rates of 89.8% by lot and 93.9% by value establishing five new artist records. Twenty-nine works sold for over £1 million, and 45 lots sold for over $1 million.
Evening High-points included, Andy Warhol’s shocking pink acrylic and silkscreen on canvas of the lead singer Debbie Harry from Blondie sold for £3,737,250/$5,981,095/€4,153,567 (est. £3.5-5.5 million). Three works from the collection of Eurythmics legend Dave Stewart sold for a total of £1,851,750/$2,963,567 ahead of the pre-sale low estimate of £1.3 million for seven works in the collection. The group was headlined by the sale of Damien Hirst’s early spot painting Dantrolene (Being God for Dave) which sold for the above-estimate total of £1,105,250/$1,768,842/€1,228,371 (est. £600,000-800,000). The two further works from Stewart’s collection were Damien Hirst’s 1992 Acridine which brought £601,250/$962,240/€668,227 (est. £400,000-600,000) and Mouth by Gilbert and George which sold for £145,250/$232,485/€161,430 (est. £150,000-200,000).
The top-selling lot of the sale was Francis Bacon’s Crouching Nude from 1961 which has never before been offered at auction and achieved £8,329,250/$13,330,132/€9,257,100 within estimate (est. £7-9 million), and the second-highest price established tonight was for an early and authoritative Jean-Michel Basquiat painting, Untitled, which brought £5,417,250/$8,669,767/€6,020,713 (est. £5-7 million). The five new artists records established tonight were for Sigmar Polke, Eugen Schönebeck, Blinky Palermo,Markus Lüpertz and the popular Georg Baselitz.