Auction Reports : What happened
Matisse and Dali top May sale of Impressionist and Modern Art
The spring Evening Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art brought a total of $195,697,000, nearly reaching the high end of the presale estimate (est. $141/204 million). Forty-three works achieved prices over $1 million, ten works exceeded $5 million, four works brought prices over $10 million, and two works sold for over $15 million. The sale was 87.7% sold by lot and 92.4% sold by value. Two artist records were set: Isamu Noguchi's Undine (Nadja) soared to $4,226,500 (est. $600/900,000) and Salvador Dalí's Spectre du soir sur la plage totaled $5,682,500 (est. $4/6 million). The evening's top price was achieved by Henri Matisse's spectacular Bouquet pour le quatorze juillet, the artist's emotional celebration of the first Bastille Day following World War I, which totaled $28,642,500 (est. $18/25 million).
“Tonight's sale result of $195.7 million was close to the high estimate, and it was wonderful to see things moving in the right direction,” said Simon Shaw, Head of Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art Department in New York. “We saw very vigorous and spirited bidding and achieved a total that surpassed that of November and tripled the results achieved in May 2009. We are absolutely delighted with these results.”
Andrew Warhol tops Contemporary Art Evening Sale
Sale of Contemporary Art in New York totaled $189,969,000, well over the pre-sale estimate of $114/162 million (excluding buyer's premium). Five new artist records were set and the sale was 94.3% sold by lot. Highlights of the sale were Andy Warhol's Self Portrait from 1986, which more than doubled the high estimate to sell for $32,562,500, and an Untitled Mark Rothko painting from 1961, which soared over the high estimate to sell for $31,442,500 (est. $18/25 million).
“When you sail past a high estimate of $162 million* and achieve $189 million, that is a great result,” commented Tobias Meyer, Worldwide Head of Contemporary Art and the evening's auctioneer. “It was interesting to see that there was a lot of movement in classic material -- Pollock, de Kooning, Mitchell but there was also a lot of activity and great results for younger artists such Cattelan and Wool,” noted Alex Rotter, Head of the Contemporary Art Department in New York. “We're thrilled with the overall result we achieved this evening, which was our best since spring 2008.”
“Sculpture was an important story tonight,” said Anthony Grant, International Senior Specialist of Contemporary Art. “Strong prices were achieved for Serra, de Kooning, Bourgeois, Koons, Flavin, Judd, Kapoor and Muñoz, among others. We saw collectors stretch for great masterpieces, willing to double and triple the estimate as was the case with Tuttle's Silver Picture and Martin's Kyrie, both of which were absolute gems.”
At least six bidders competed for Andy Warhol's Self Portrait from 1986. The iconic and rare painting is from Warhol's final series of Self Portraits - widely acknowledged as the most important of his career. Other works by Warhol achieved strong prices, including Four Flowers which sold for $7,642,500, above the high estimate ($5/7 million) and Statue of Liberty, which sold for $4,330,500 (est. $ 2.5/3.5 million). Mark Rothko's radiantly beautiful and monumental masterpiece Untitled from 1961 sold for $31,442,500 following competition from five different bidders (est. $18/25 million). Rothko's genius is amply demonstrated as he reduces colors to their essence, transforming them into form, space, and light. Rothko almost seems to breathe color onto the canvas, alternating the surface between softly ethereal background and decadent saturation of subsequent rich layers, in this case in tones of red.
Brody Picasso breaks all records
Art market history was made at Christie's when the Brody Picasso, Nude Green Leaves, and Bust sold for $106,482,500 (£70,278,450 €81,991,525) to an unidentified telephone bidder, setting a new world record for any work of art sold at auction. Silence fell over the packed saleroom as Christopher Burge conducted nine minutes of bidding that involved eight clients. Christie's lead auctioneer took bids from a client in the saleroom as well as those on the phone before the competition settled down to two bidders at the $88 million mark and a one-on-one battle ensued. The final bid was hammered down at 7.32 p.m. at $95 million. Buyers premium takes the price of the painting to a record breaking $106.5 million. Nude, Green Leaves and Bust is the star lot of the Collection of Mrs. Sidney Brody, a stellar assemblage of Modern Art purchased primarily in the 1940's and 50's and kept in the family home since. Known among experts as the "lost" 1932 masterpiece because it had never before been published in color, Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust is a sensuous depiction of Picasso's muse and mistress Marie-Therese Walter. In previous years, Christie's has successfully sold six paintings from Picasso's celebrated 1932 series. As befitting its importance within the canon of Picasso's work, the $70-90 million pre-sale estimate was the highest placed yet on an artwork offered at Christie's New York. The previous highest price for a work at auction was $104,327,006 paid for L'homme qui marche I, bronze, 1960, by Alberto Giacometti on February 3, 2010. The previous highest price for a work of art by Pablo Picasso was $104,168,000 paid for Garçon à la pipe, 1905 on 5 May 2004.
Jones' Flag flies high in Chrichton collection
The quality, scope and innovative vision of the late author Michael Crichton's collection of contemporary art found its focal point at Jasper Johns' 'Flag', 1960-1966, selling for $28,642,500 million (estimate: $10 million-$15 million), the highest price ever achieved for a work by Johns at auction. The collection realised $93,323,500 (£63,459,980/€ 73,725,565) and sold 100% by lot and by value, becoming one of the most significant. Four bidders vied for the flag which took two minutes to sell ending at 6:55 pm. The winning bidder was a member of the U.S. art trade. Completed by Johns in 1966, the work, executed in encaustic, was purchased by Crichton over thirty years ago from the artist's own collection. It was last seen in public in 1992 and was a key piece in the comprehensive and prized collection cultivated by the best-selling author of Jurassic Park. Johns' iconic American flag are credited with jumpstarting the Pop art movement; paving the way for the avant garde works of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein in the mid 1960's. The previous record was for Johns' Figure 4, 1959, encaustic and printed paper collage on canvas, sold at Christie's in May 2005 for $17.4
Post War and Contemporary Art Series totals $292 million
The fervor for key pieces from established Post-War and Contemporary artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Christopher Wool is on the rise, as evidenced on Wednesday morning and afternoon sessions at Christie's which brought in $60,156,675. Iconic works from the 1960s and 1970s such as those of Richard Serra and Sol Lewitt prevailed, as well as more recent works of art by the likes of Suzan Frecon.
Lichtenstein's Two Apples, 1972 was the top seller of both sales which included works from The Collection of Michael Crichton realising $2,210,50. Coming in second was Alexander Calder's, Untitled, 1962, which sold at $1,314,500.
Jonathan Laib, Head of the Morning Session of Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art Department remarked on the consistency in demand across the board. “There is no question that the market is healthy and that there is a genuine desire.” Andrew Massad, International Specialist, Head of the Afternoon Session, noted: “The afternoon sale hardly skipped a beat after the success of the morning. There was interest from seasoned, veteran collectors as well as new buyers.”
Jade Collection Sells for £2.3M
A breathtaking collection of jades sold as part of Bonhams Fine Chinese Art Sale in New Bond Street achieved astronomic prices in a frenzy of bidding. The 35 jades made £2.3m in a sale total of £6.6m with 94% by value. Colin Sheaf, International Head of Asian Art at Bonhams, and the sale's auctioneer, said after the sale: “It is very unusual to have such a large jade collection of the highest quality all at one time for sale. These are pieces which are comparable or identical to pieces that are housed in the Palace museum Beijing. They represent a once in a lifetime opportunity for jade enthusiasts to buy the very best of their kind, hence the excitement and enthusiasm we saw in the auction room today.”
Among other highlights of the sale was a large and imposing rare zitan and hardwood screen and stand dating from the 18th/19th century. This was estimated to sell for £50,000-80,000 but made £78,000. The screen is very similar in construction and design to Imperial hardwood screens and is likely that originally it would have been embellished with an inlaid decoration, possibly of hardstone, ivory, kingfisher feather, jade or enamel.
The screen is adorned with crisp carving of acanthus leaves on the apron at the lower section of the stand and at the terminals flanking the screen. This design is comparable to acanthus carving on Imperial screens from the Palace Museum, Beijing, and is related to the European influence on Chinese architecture and works of art, best exemplified in the Yuanming Yuan and the artefacts made to adorn it, produced under special commission or by the Imperial ateliers.
Baroness' Glass Paperweights Smash Estimates to Make £574,080
The auction of 'Fine Paperweights from the collection of the late Baroness de Bellet' held on 19 May 2010 at Bonhams, New Bond Street made an outstanding £574,080 with 95% sold by value. Bidders in the UK were competing against other interested parties in the USA, Europe and Israel.
The top lot of the day was a fine and rare Clichy double paperweight c.1850 which sold for £67,200 against a pre-sale estimate £6,000-8,000. French paperweights were highly sought after in the saleroom with a rare Clichy convolvulus example selling for £28,800 (£3,500-4,500), and a Clichy stylised bouquet paperweight fetching £21,600 (£6,000-8,000).
Phillips de Pury
Five world records set in sale of contemporary Art in NY
Phillips de Pury & Company's sales of the Halsey Minor Collection and Contemporary Art Part I totaled $37,901,000 selling 88% by value and 78% by lot. The much anticipated sales of the Halsey Minor Collection and Contemporary Art Part I offered a unique opportunity for international collectors to acquire works of art by renowned artists and designers. In a buzzing and packed sale-room spirited bidding generated strong results with five new world records with Marc Newson's Prototype “Lockheed Lounge,”1988, Mark Grotjahn's, Untitled (White Butterfly MG01), 2001, Walton Ford's, Loss of Lisbon Rhinoceros, 2008, Urs Fischer's The Grass Munchers, 2007, and Mark Bradford's All I Need is “One” More Chance, 2002.
“We are thrilled with this evening's results which demonstrated the market is as strong as it ever has been,” said Simon de Pury, Chairman. Micheal McGinnis, Senior Worldwide Director, re-marked, “We are delighted with the performance which showed great activ-ity around the world including participation from Asia, Europe and North America with extraordinary prices being achieved for blue chip artists like Richard Prince and Ed Ruscha.”