AO Auction Results: Sotheby’s Masterpieces of Contemporary Art, July 1, London

July 2nd, 2008

Study for Head of George Dyer, Francis Bacon (1967) via NYTimes

Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Sale in London took place yesterday on July 1st and brought in an encouraging total of $188.8 million.  Francis Bacon’s painting of the profile of his lover and companion, George Dyer, was a highlight of the auction. This intimate portrait based on a photograph by John Deakin, was originally predicted to collect $15.5 million, but sold at a much higher $27.4 million to an anonymous collector. Although the sellers of the Bacon painting were kept anonymous, the New York Tims reported that experts speculate that it was sold by Ian and Mercedes Stouker, London Philanthropists.  Other impressive results of the sale achieved records for 11 different artists, and included the high profile sale of a Basquiat painting from seller U2, and an Andy Warhol from seller John McEnroe. The sold-out collection from the German industrialist, Walther Lauffs, which included work from Yves Klein, was another highlight of the show.

Sotheby’s July 2008 Contemporary Art Evening Sale Triumphs [Artdaily]
U2’s Jean-Michel Basquiat work on Sotheby’s block for $17.7M [Art Observed]
Bacon Stars, 10 Records Set at Sotheby’s; U2 Sell Art [Bloomberg]
Anish Kapoor sculpture attracts $3.87 mn at Sotheby’s sale [Economic Times]
Ten Works Set Records at Sotheby’s Contemporary Auctions [NYSun]
Sotheby’s contemporary art sale reaches £94.7 million [International Herald Tribune]
Contemporary Art Evening Auction Results [Sotheby's]
Bacon Is Again a Top Draw at Auction [NYTimes]

Untitled (Pecho/Oreja), Jean-Michel Basquiat (1982-83) via Artdaily

On Tuesday evening, the untitled Basquiat painting sold for $10.1 million to an anonymous European collector. The painting came from the private collection of the Irish rock band, U2, and therefore has received quite a bit of publicity.

Overseas Nurse, Richard Prince (2002) via Luxist

Richard Prince’s Overseas Nurse sold for $7.4 million, which was a bit under its low estimate of $7.9 million. This was not the only piece that was slightly under estimate. Another painting of Francis Bacon, Figure Turning, did not fare as well as Bacon’s George Dyer portrait. The bidding on the painting stopped at $15.4 million, which was well below Sotheby’s prediction of $19.8 million to $29.7 million. Rapture by Damien Hirst also just barely met it’s low estimate.

Rapture, Damien Hirst (2003) via BBC

This butterfly wing painting by Damien Hirst sold for $2.3 million.

RE 3, Yves Klien (1960) via Artnet

RE 3 by artist, Yves Klien was one of the successful sales from the Lauffs group collection, and sold for $6.3 million; its original estimate was $2.9 million to $3.9 million.

Visitor, Marlene Dumas (1995) via BBC

The oil painting of five women by Marlene Dumas sold for 2 times its high estimate, for $6.3 million. This was a record for the South African artist.

Angel of the North, Antony Gormley (1997) via Bloomberg

Antony Gormley’s, cast-iron, Angel of the North sold for $6.3 million.

Obviously happy with the results of the sale, Cheyenne Westphal, Chairman of Contemporary Art, Sotheby’s Europe said, “Once again, we are witnesses to a market that is driven by art lovers. Buyers have confidence in the artworks they are competing for, and have shown unprecedented determination to win the lots which they desire.”