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Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Auction brings £93.2 million / $122.8 million

CONTEMPORARY ART EVENING AUCTION AT SOTHEBY’S LONDON Brings £93.2 million / $122.8 million / €107.9 million (Est. £75.5-104.5 million)

LUCIAN FREUD’S CAPTIVATING HEAD OF A BOY COMMANDS £5.8 MILLION / $7.6 MILLION / €6.7 MILLION IN AUCTION DEBUT An Intimate Portrait of the Late Guinness Family Heir Garech Browne from 1956 Treasured in the sitter’s collection for over 60 years


JENNY SAVILLE’S JUNCTURE ACHIEVES £5.7 MILLION / $7.5 MILLION / €6.6 MILLION Over 1000% Increase on the £457,250 Achieved for the Work a Decade ago

13 WORKS BY FEMALE ARTISTS OFFERED THE HIGHEST PROPORTION OFFERED IN AN EVENING SALE Louise Bourgeois | Marlene Dumas | Tracey Emin | Agnes Martin | Cady Noland | Toyin Ojih Odutola | Bridget Riley | Jenny Saville | Cindy Sherman | Rebecca Warren

FOUR AUCTION RECORDS SET INCLUDING THOSE FOR Nigerian artist Toyin Ojih Odutola Turner Prize Nominee Rebecca Warren


SALE TOTAL: £93,205,800 / $122,835,924 / €107,932,591 well within the pre-sale estimate of £75.5 -104.5 million / $99.5-137.8 million / €87.4-121 million
66 lots made up the sale – the highest number of lots in a Contemporary Art Evening Auction at Sotheby’s since October 2015
91% sold by lot
Five works sell for over £5 million
80% of works make auction debut this evening
Six collections made up 40% of lots offered, with works from The History of Now: The Collection of David Teiger, The Louis J.C. Tan Collection, The Collection of Marc Jacobs, and three collections comprising Zero art, five works by Dubuffet, and Kippenberger and Oehlen
Chris Ofili’s Afro Love and Envy sells to a US institution for £915,000 / $1.2 million / €1.1 million (est. £500,000-700,000)
Auction records for Adam Pendleton, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Rebecca Warren, and for a sculpture by Martin Kippenberger


In its auction debut, 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), 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. Head of a Boy achieved the highest price for a work by the artist from the 1950s. The painting is fresh to the market, having remained in the collection of the Irish cultural patron, the Hon. Garech Browne since its execution.

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT’s encyclopaedic 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 (est. £12,000-18,000). 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. Saville’s record has been broken three times in the last two years, each time at Sotheby’s, and each time for a work produced within the critical five-year period (1992-1997) in which Saville produced a legendary series of monumental paintings.

ROY LICHTENSTEIN’s Vicki! I—I Thought I Heard your Voice from 1964, a quintessential evocation of the artist’s celebrated Pop vernacular, achieved £5.8 million / $7.7 million / €6.8 million (est. £5,000,000-7,000,000). Born from Lichtenstein’s acclaimed body of Girls paintings, other works from this series are held in museums worldwide from Tate in London to the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

GERHARD RICHTER’s dazzling squeegee painting Abstraktes Bold (2009), sold for £6.9 million / $9.2 million / €8 million (£6-8 million). This work belongs to the very same series that Richter was filmed working on in Corinna Belz’s 2011 documentary, Gerhard Richter: Painting.


Altogether 13 works by female artists were offered in tonight’s sale, with over half exceeding their pre-sale high estimate.

Four bidders competed for REBECCA WARREN’S Fascia III (2010), which set an auction record for the artist, achieving £555,000 / $731,434 / €642,692 (est. £250,000-350,000) in tonight’s sale. The present work embodies the Turner Prize-nominee’s radical fusion of traditional aesthetics with symbols of contemporary culture and feminist politics. An example of Fascia III was also exhibited at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011.

After seeing competition from four bidders, AGNES MARTIN’s Untitled #9 (1994) exceeded its high estimate to realise £2.8 million / $3.7 million / €3.2 million (est. £1.8-2.2 million). The work has remained in the same collection for almost 25 years, and was exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York in 2000.

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  • Sotheby’s Auctioneer Oliver Barker fields bids at Sotheby’s Evening Sale of Contemporary Art on March 5 2019
    Sotheby’s Auctioneer Oliver Barker fields bids at Sotheby’s Evening Sale of Contemporary Art on March 5 2019
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus