A Record-Breaking $107.9 Million Contemporary Art Day Auction at Sotheby's
HIGHEST TOTAL FOR A DAY AUCTION OF CONTEMPORARY ART AT SOTHEBY’S – Total $107.9 Million – – 87.4% Sold – 30 WORLD AUCTION RECORDS, INCLUDING: Helen Frankenthaler | Alex Katz | Kehinde Wiley | Gabriel Orozco Wolfgang Tillmans Work on Paper | Kerry James Marshall Work on Paper 23 LOTS OVER $1 MILLION Led by Mark Tansey’s $3.1 Million Study for Push/Pull
NEW YORK, 17 May 2018 – Records fell across Sotheby’s $107.9 million Day Auction of Contemporary Art in New York – the highest total for this sale in Sotheby’s history, which set 30 benchmark prices for artists including Helen Frankenthaler, Alex Katz, Kehinde Wiley and Gabriel Orozco. A staggering 23 lots exceeded $1 million throughout the 10-hour sale.
Courtney Kremers, Head of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Day Auction, New York, commented: “Following the tremendous results of yesterday’s Evening Auction, we are elated to have reached new heights for Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Day Auctions. In addition to surpassing a decades-long record for a Day Auction, today’s sale attracted a flurry of activity across the board – from the wonderful works donated by artists to benefit the Studio Museum in Harlem to the significant prices for artists like Mark Tansey, Alex Katz, Fernando Botero and Julie Mehretu.”
Mark Tansey, who established a new auction record last night for Source of the Loue, led today’s offerings with Study for Push/Pull. Carrying a pre-sale estimate of $1.5/2 million, the highly-detailed work of art achieved an outstanding price of $3.1 million.
Helen Frankenthaler led today’s record-breaking artists with Blue Reach, an awe-inspiring panoramic work that stretches nearly 15 feet in length. Flying past its pre-sale estimate of $1/1.5 million, this rare large-format monochromatic work set a new auction record for the artist with its final price of $3,015,000. Alex Katz’s The Light I, a large-scale work by the artist, also surpassed the artist’s record at auction, set at Sotheby’s New York over a decade ago; estimated at $300/500,000, the painting fetched $951,000.
Kerry James Marshall continued to realize exceptional results, with all five works by the artist in today’s Day Auction sold. The group was led by Lost Boys: AKA Black Al from a private West Coast collection. Carrying a pre-sale estimate of $500/700,000, the painting sold to a bidder in the room for $2.7 million. Moments later, Study for ‘Slow Dance’ – a rare glimpse into Marshall’s creative process – attained a new auction record for a work on paper by the artist when the ink, gouache and graphite on paper achieved $362,500; two hours later, two bidders again bested Kerry James Marshall’s record for a work on paper when Untitled (Stono Drawing) soared past its pre-sale estimate and realized $435,000.
Throughout the spring, an intergenerational group of 42 prominent artists with close ties to the mission and history of The Studio Museum in Harlem have donated important works for auction at Sotheby's. Full proceeds from the sales of their works will support the campaign to construct the museum’s new home on 125th Street. Further background available at sothebys.com/studiomuseum.
Following the selection of five works that electrified yesterday’s Evening Auction, an additional 37 donated works were sold today, raising the group’s overall auction total to $20.2 million – double the overall high estimate, with 100% of the lots sold and a staggering 24 new auction records established in the process. In addition to the record for Njideka Akunyili Crosby set last night, the Day Auction added new benchmarks for Kehinde Wiley, Rashid Johnson, Theaster Gates, Lorna Simpson and more. Today’s offering was led by Gates’s Stars Over Harlem, a work created from fire hose and wood in 2015 that achieved $459,000 (estimate $250/350,000).