Sotheby's Contemporary Art Day Auction Achieves $105.8 Million in New York
NEW YORK, 17 May 2019 – Sotheby’s marquee May sales concluded today in New York, with the Contemporary Art Day Auction achieving $105.8 million – the third-highest total for this sale at Sotheby’s worldwide.
Nicole Schloss, Head of Sotheby’s Day Auctions of Contemporary Art in New York, commented: “We were thrilled to achieve one of our highest-ever sale totals today, and to extend our success in establishing new benchmark prices for artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. In a continuation of a theme we have seen throughout this week of marquee sales in New York, we saw continued demand for works emerging from the distinguished private collections we have been privileged to present, highlighted by exceptional pieces from the Blema and H. Arnold Steinberg Collection, the Gerald L. Lennard Foundation Collection, the Richard E. Lang and Jane Lang Davis Collection, and more. It was a particular honor to conclude our offering of Artists for the Hammer Museum – a group of 40 works donated to support the museum’s pioneering exhibition program and work with emerging artists, which were 100% sold and far-exceeded expectations.”
ARTISTS FOR THE HAMMER MUSEUM
Throughout this spring, celebrated artists with strong ties to the Hammer Museum at UCLA donated work for auction at Sotheby’s. All 40 donated works from Artists for the Hammer Museum were sold across our Evening and Day Auctions of Contemporary Art, together achieving $12.4 million – well in excess of the group’s $8.1 million high estimate.
Auction records were set last night for donated works by Rashid Johnson and Charles Gaines, and additional records were achieved this afternoon for Jimmie Durham, Shio Kusaka and Kevin Beasley. Today’s offering from Artists for the Hammer Museum was led by Laura Owens’s Untitled, which fetched $1.1 million – more than double its high estimate of $450,000.
Full proceeds from these sales will support the creation of an Artist Fund at the Hammer, which will directly support the museum’s pioneering exhibition program and work with emerging artists. The fund is part of the museum’s $180 million capital campaign, which also includes a major transformation of the Hammer’s facility and an expansion of its endowment.
Ann Philbin, director of the Hammer Museum, said: “I am exceedingly grateful to the artists who donated their artworks on behalf of the Hammer Museum. The Hammer has been dedicated to supporting artists early in their careers, and the success of this auction ensures that we will continue that aim with a new fund created by artists, for artists.”
Pool and Pink Pole
Estimate $1.8/2.5 million
Sold for $3.1 million
Today’s auction was led by David Hockney’s Pool and Pink Pole, a colorful oil on canvas from 1984. After leaving his home in England in 1978, Hockney ultimately settled in Los Angeles. Reinvigorated by his fresh surroundings, the artist often painted his home in painstaking detail, giving viewers a glimpse into his intimate environment. Embodying his famed stylistic characteristics, the blue porch depicted in the present work became one of Hockney’s most iconic motifs.
Works by Hockney proved in demand throughout today’s auction, including his Steps with Shadow (Paper pool 2) from 1978 which achieved $2.4 million – besting its $1.5 million high estimate. The work belongs to a series of Paper Pools from his stay with friend and artist Ken Tyler at his home in Bedford Village, New York.
Estimate $1.8/2.5 million
Sold for $3.1 million
Mark Tansey’s Portage is an exceptional example of one of the artist’s first paintings, belonging to his standout series of ultramarine blue works. At first glance, the work depicts a roaring stream of water cascading down a serrated rock face. Upon closer inspection, the viewer sees a couple strolling hand in hand, the head of a sphinx carved into the rock face, and more hidden symbols. Creating a compass-like diagram on the reverse of the canvas, the artist intended for the work to have no set orientation in order to be viewed from all angles.
Estimate $1.4/1.8 million
Sold for $2.8 million
Richard Prince’s Untitled (Cowboy) represents the apex of the artist’s fascination with the cowboy motif throughout his forty-year career. A quintessential American symbol representing freedom, lonesome independence, chivalry and rugged masculinity, Prince seeks to expose the very mechanisms that construct this perceived mythical status of Cowboys. In doing so, the artist created some of the most instantly recognizable and thought-provoking works of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
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