Sotheby’s Achieves Highest Total For London Contemporary Art Auction

Sotheby’s has achieved the highest total for any auction of Contemporary Art ever held by the auction house in London. The sale which took place last night (1st July 2015) realised £130,376,500 / $204,730,218 / €183,870,150.

Warhol’s One Dollar Bill (Silver Certificate) his landmark first ‘dollar’ painting, hand-painted in 1962, sold for £20.9m / $32.8m / €29.4m tonight – the highest price achieved across all auctiWarhol,Richteron houses this week (est. £13- 18m). This marks the fourth consecutive sale season in London that Sotheby’s has achieved the top lot across all auction houses. One of the defining works of the artist’s career, this work not only set the foundations for the entire ‘dollar bill’ series, it is also the only painting from this body of work to have been painted entirely by hand. his was one of eight works sold this evening that took the dollar as their subject, which made a combined total of £34.3m / $53.9m / €48.4m. The remaining 11 works from the collection will be sold in the Contemporary Art Day auction today.

Other major sales included two major self-portraits by Francis Bacon, re-discovered in a European private collection earlier this year, sold for a combined total of £30m. Acquired soon after they were painted in 1975 and 1980 respectively, they had never been on public exhibition before this year: Francis Bacon’s, Self-Portrait (1975) realised £15.3m / $24m / €21.5m (est. £10-15m). Francis Bacon’s, Three Studies for Self-Portrait (1980) fetched £14.7m / $23.1m / €20.7m (est. £10-15m).

Gerhard Richter’s A B, Brick Tower (1987), also did well. It was created for the artist’s first major commercial exhibition in London, held at Anthony d’Offay Gallery in 1988, sold for £14.1m / $22.2m/ €20m (est. £12-16m). The last time this work appeared at auction in 2001 it realised $534,000 or £367,000.

British art accounted for over 30% of this evening’s sale total (£42m) Seven bidders drove Four Eggs on a Plate (2002), a treasured gift from Lucian Freud to the late Dowager Duchess of Devonshire to £989,000 / $1.6m / €1.4m, nearly 10 times

the pre-sale low estimate (£100,000-150,000), equating to almost £250,000 per egg.

The auction record for Paula Rego was broken twice this evening when the sale of Looking Out (1997), for £965,000 / $1.5m / €1.4m, was swiftly followed by The Cadet and his sister which soared to £1.1m / $1.8m / €1.6m (est. £600,000-800,000).

Frank Auerbach’s early portrait of his cousin Gerda, Head of Gerda Boehm (1961), soared to £2.2m / $3.5m / €3.1m (est. £250,000-350,000) – a new auction record for any work on paper by the artist, and the second-highest price achieved for the artist at auction.

New Auction Records Included, Paula Rego: her record was broken twice this evening when the sale of Looking Out (1997) for £965,000 / $1.5m / €1.4m was swiftly followed by The Cadet and his sister which soared to £1.1m / $1.8m / €1.6m (est. £600,000-800,000). A record for a work on paper by Frank Auerbach: Head of Gerda Boehm (1961) soared to £2.2m / $3.5m / €3.1m (est. £250,000-350,000). David Hockney’s view of his beloved Yorkshire Wolds, Arranged Felled Trees (2008) recently exhibited at The Royal Academy and The Guggenheim Bilbao, totalled £3.4m / $5.3m / €4.8m, above its high estimate (£1.5m – 2m).

Pre-sale estimate: £142.2 – 202.6m ($223.3-318.2m/ €200.6m-285.8m) Sotheby’s previous highest total for any auction of Contemporary Art in London: £123.5m (February 2015). 84.5% sold by lot – Sotheby’s 11th consecutive Evening Sale of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art worldwide with a sell-through rate over 80%.

Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Day Sale continues today includes 293 lots, estimated to raise £13.1- 18.5m (US$21-30m)

Led by Peter Doig’s Bird House (small) (1995), est. £600,000-800,000; a group of never- before-seen letters written by a teenage Lucian Freud to the poet Stephen Spender; and 28 works being sold to benefit Ikon gallery on its 50th anniversary. 


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