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Caroline Lang

Sotheby's London sales of Contemporary Art total £109.3 million

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    Sotheby's London sales of Contemporary Art total £109.3 million
    07.03.2019
Caroline Lang

Caroline Lang places the top bid of the week on behalf of a Swiss collector, as Sotheby's London sales of Contemporary Art total £109.3 million

CONTEMPORARY ART AT SOTHEBY’S LONDON – SALES THIS WEEK TOTAL £109.3 million / $144 million / €126.7 million

CAROLINE LANG, CHAIRMAN OF SOTHEBY’S SWITZERLAND, SECURES THE TOP LOT OF THE WEEK FOR A SWISS PRIVATE COLLECTOR JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT’S APEX FETCHES £8.2 MILLION / $10.8 MILLION / €9.5 MILLION

STRONG PARTICIPATION BY SWITZERLAND ACROSS THE EVENING SALE

“I was thrilled to secure this superb work by Jean-Michel Basquiat for a Swiss private collector, winning an intense five-way bidding battle. Tuesday’s evening sale saw participation from all over the world – with 40 countries represented. The depth of bidding during the sales for important fresh-to-the market works is confirmation that the market for Contemporary Art is thriving.” Caroline Lang, Chairman of Sotheby’s Switzerland

AMONG THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK:

Contemporary Art Evening Sale, 5 March 2019

Tuesday’s “Contemporary Art Evening Auction” totalled £93,205,800 / $122,835,924 / €107,932,591 (est. £75.5 -104.5 million). The sale was characterised by fresh-to-the-market works, with 80% of lots appearing at auction for the first time. A total of 66 lots were offered - the highest number in a Contemporary Art Evening Auction at Sotheby’s since October 2015 – and the sale was 91% sold by lot.

A highlight of the evening, LUCIAN FREUD’s exquisite Head of a Boy (1956) sold for £5.8 million / $7.6 million / €6.7 million (est. £4.5-6.5 million) in its auction debut, or £118,000 per square inch (49 square inches). Executed when Freud was just 34 years of age, works from the 1950s are incredibly rare to come to auction – only 10 examples ever having appeared at auction previously.

The most valuable artwork sold this week was JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT’s Apex (1986), sold for £8.2 million / $10.8 million / €9.5 million (est. £5,000,000-7,000,000) - last sold at auction in 1988 for £16,500 / $28,190. Three further works on paper by the artist exceeded their high estimates and achieved a combined total of £2.9 million / $3.8 million / €3.3 million.

A further highlight was JENNY SAVILLE’s towering three-metre Juncture (1994), which achieved £5.7 million / $7.5 million / €6.6 million (est. £5,000,000-7,000,000), more than a 1000% increase on the £457,250 the painting achieved in its last appearance at auction in 2009. Altogether 13 works by female artists were offered in last night’s sale, with over half exceeding their pre-sale high estimate. New artist records were set for Turner Prize nominee REBECCA WARREN, and Nigerian artist TOYIN OJIH ODUTOLA, who also made her auction debut.

Full information is included in the attached press release, and high resolution images are available to download here.

Contemporary Art Day Sale, 6 March 2019

Yesterday’s “Contemporary Art Day Sale” totalled £16,106,625 / $21,175,380 / €18,651,464, sitting well within the pre-sale estimate of £14.2-20.1 million.

The sale was led by KEITH HARING’s electric Untitled from 1983, which was snapped up for an above estimate £975,000 / $1.3 million / €1.1 million (est. £400,000-600,000). Boldly rendered in the artist’s universal visual language, the work embodies and celebrates a vivacious moment of converging social stratospheres in the vibrant zeitgeist of New York in the early eighties – an epitome of Haring’s unique ability to convey feeling and emotion through forms distilled to their most basic, essential components.

The sale also saw strong demand for works by German artists with GERHARD RICHTER’s Abstraktes Bild from 1993, soaring above its pre-sale estimate to achieve £879,000 /  $1.2 million / €1 million (est. £500,000-700,000). Part of the artist’s critically acclaimed series Abstraktes Bild, the mystic white canvas harks back to Richter’s famed overpainted photographs and landscape paintings. Also appearing in the top five results of the sale, ANSELM KIEFER’s Walfisch (2000), a dazzling panorama spanning three metres in width, sold for £495,000 /  $650,776 / €575,786 (est. £400,000-600,000).

Attracting a lot of attention ahead of the sale was MARIO KLINGEMANN’s pioneering Artificial Intelligence artwork Memories of Passersby I, which sold to an online bidder for £40,000 / $52,588 / €46,528 (est. £30,000-40,000). Heralding the latest development in the rapidly emerging field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Art, today marked the first time that a self-contained, generative work of Artificial Intelligence has ever appeared on the market.

Additional notable results include ROBERT INDIANA’s larger-than-life sculpture LOVE (1966-2000), which sold for £675,000 / $887,422 / €785,163 (est. £500,000-700,000) and ROSE WYLIE’s vibrantly colourful Listening to Miss S from 1993, achieving £106,250 / $139,687 / €123,590 (est. 50,000-70,000) in the artist’s auction debut.

This week’s sales follow stellar results for our Contemporary Curated sale in New York last week, which achieved $36.8 million – the highest ever total for the Sotheby’s series. Sotheby’s next sales of Contemporary Art will be held in Hong Kong on 31 March and 1 April.








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  • Caroline Lang - Jean-Michel Basquiat - 5 March 2019
    Caroline Lang - Jean-Michel Basquiat - 5 March 2019
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • Mario Klingemann, Memories of Passersby 3
    Mario Klingemann, Memories of Passersby 3
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • Lot 123- Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild, 61 by 71cm (£500,000-700,000)
    Lot 123- Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild, 61 by 71cm (£500,000-700,000)
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • Lot 131- Anselm Kiefer, Walfisch, oil, acrylic, charcoal, wire and lead laid down on canvas, 2000, 195 by 333 cm
    Lot 131- Anselm Kiefer, Walfisch, oil, acrylic, charcoal, wire and lead laid down on canvas, 2000, 195 by 333 cm
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • Lot 182- Keith Haring, Untitled, 1983 acrylic on canvas, 80 by 80 cm
    Lot 182- Keith Haring, Untitled, 1983 acrylic on canvas, 80 by 80 cm
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • Lot 200-Robert Indiana, Love
    Lot 200-Robert Indiana, Love
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
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