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Sotheby's Contemporary and Impressionist & Modern Art Auction Series Totals $431.3 Million in NY

Series of 5 Evening & Day Auctions Is 85% Sold

Including First-Ever Online Auctions in May
8 Works Exceed $1 Million This Week in Live Day Sales, Led by Robert Ryman’s Contract from 1998, Selling for $2.7 Million

Titus Kaphar | Derek Fordjour | Kehinde Wiley | Anna Guntner | Jonathan Winters | Mario Carreño | Vija Celmins | Leonor Fini | Helen Frankenthaler | Wifredo Lam | Alice Rahon |  Remedios Varo |Matthew Wong | Jean-Michel Basquiat (Work on Paper)

Property from The Collection of Harry W. And Mary Margaret Anderson Totals $69.3 Million
Works from The Ginny Williams Collection Total $73.2 Million
Next Auction: Photographs from The Ginny Williams Collection on 14 July
Works from The Vanguard Spirit, a Private Collection of Latin American Surrealist and Modern Art Total $30.2 Million
Works from the Collection of Sidney & Bernice Clyman Total $7.9 Million

Sotheby’s Has 100 Live and Online Auctions Scheduled for July & August, Including our Marquee Series in Hong Kong (5 - 11 July) and a New Cross-Category Live Evening Sale Event in London on 28 July

NEW YORK, 1 July 2020 – Sotheby’s marquee June sales of Contemporary Art and Impressionist & Modern Art concluded yesterday in New York, achieving $431.3 million across a series of five auctions that was a strong 85% sold by lot and set 14 world auction records.

Sotheby’s spring Day Sales totaled $91.8 million, including our live auctions on 29 & 30 June as well as our first-ever online Day Sales that were held in May, with more than 10 works achieving $1 million or more.

Charles Stewart, Sotheby’s CEO, commented: “These unprecedented times demand innovation, and Sotheby’s delivered this week with a groundbreaking series of auctions. Whether we evaluate these sales through the lens of historical comparisons, or with an eye towards the future of Sotheby’s, or as a barometer for the global art market, or against the backdrop of the global pandemic, the results are simply extraordinary. Thinking back to February and March, it’s difficult to capture the magnitude and dimensions of what our global teams have been able to accomplish – the 100+ auctions we have held across fine art and luxury in recent months demonstrate strong market leadership. We are incredibly proud to have delivered on behalf of our clients and the larger industry, who have been eager for proof that the market remains healthy. And these results leave no doubt.”

30 June 2020
Auction Total $51.5 Million | 83.3% Sold by Lot

Nicole Schloss, Co-Head of Sotheby’s Day Auctions of Contemporary Art in New York, commented: “Building on the success of our inaugural Online Day Sale for Contemporary Art in May, we were very pleased to see such a confident and enthusiastic response from collectors in our return to a live Day Sale yesterday. The sale continued the success for a group of distinguished private collections that have featured throughout our sales this week, and we saw lively and active bidding at all levels of the market. Led by a sensational painting by the late Robert Ryman as well as remarkable examples by George Condo, Ruth Asawa, and Keith Haring, the top prices achieved today reflect the full breadth and depth of the contemporary category.”

Max Moore, Co-Head of Sotheby’s Day Auctions of Contemporary Art in New York, said: “Yesterday's Day sale continued to set new records and benchmarks for emerging and fresh to market artists including Derek Fordjour, Titus Kaphar, and Kehinde Wiley. It is exciting to see the market respond so enthusiastically to an increasingly diverse range of artists—there were also strong results for Noah Davis, Simone Leigh, and Charles Gaines—and as the market continues to expand, we look forward to breaking new ground with more artist records and auction debuts in the future.”

Alternate text
Our Spring Day sales were led by Robert Ryman’s Contract from 1998, which sold for $2.7 million (above, estimate $3/4 million). The work is an elegant articulation of the artist’s career-long investigation of the possibilities, limitations, and truths of abstract painting. Ryman’s monochrome palette of white paint allows the artist to fully explore its varied possibilities and properties: color, texture, density, light, and reflectivity. Different light conditions and times of day change every interaction with the work, making it extraordinarily visceral and enticing.

Executed circa 1956, Ruth Asawa's Untitled (S.853) achieved $2.7 million (estimate $2/3 million). A masterfully constructed lattice of mesmerizing interlocking forms, the work is an archetypal example of her revered wire sculptures. While Asawa had initially made wire sculptures inspired by baskets she observed on a trip to Mexico in 1947, she created her most ambitious wire works in the mid-1950s. Suspended effortlessly in the air, this sculpture recalls the splendor of forms found in nature - cocoons, sonic waves and the quality of light filtered through a canopy.

29 June 2020
Auction Total $16.7 Million | 83% Sold by Lot

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  • Illustrated from Left to Right: Robert Ryman, Contract, sold for $2.7 million; Paul Delvaux, L’Impératrice, sold for $1.2 million
    Illustrated from Left to Right: Robert Ryman, Contract, sold for $2.7 million; Paul Delvaux, L’Impératrice, sold for $1.2 million
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus