The November sales continue this week as Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Phillips de Pury offer over half a billion dollars worth of Contemporary art over the next few days. After uneven results during last week’s Impressionist and Modern sales, the performance of these auctions may be a truer indication of the state of the art market. Phillips inaugurates the week on Monday with their 45-lot evening sale, which is immediately preceded by a 22-lot benefit auction for the Guggenheim Foundation. Christie’s will also host two back-to-back sales on Tuesday evening. First are 26 lots from the Peter Norton Collection, which will be followed by the 65-lot evening sale. Sotheby’s wraps up on Wednesday with a 74-lot sale.
The headlining lot at the Phillips sale is a suite of Warhol‘s Marilyns from the artists Reversal Series. The work is being sold by a Japanese collector and is estimated to fetch as much as $10 million.
A freestanding Calder sculpture is among the top lots at Phillips. The late work was last sold at Sotheby’s in 1999 for $1.5 million. This time around it is estimated to bring $7-10 million. A Richard Prince nurse painting is estimated to bring $5-7 million.
All the lots in the Guggenheim benefit auction were donated directly by the artists to be included in the sale. The group is led by a flock of taxidermied pigeons by Maurizio Cattelan, whose retrospective is currently on view at the museum. The sale also includes work by George Condo, Anselm Kiefer, Subodh Gupta, Bharti Kher, and Richard Serra.
Christie’s Tuesday auction is headlined by a playful Roy Lichtenstein canvas that is also the most expensive lot to be offered during the week’s sales. I Can See the Whole Room!…and There’s Nobody in it! carries a hefty estimate of $35-45 million. The work is reportedly being sold by the widow of former Time Warner CEO Steve Ross, who picked it up in 1988 at Christie’s for $2 million. A mostly orange Mark Rothko painting is the evening’s second most expensive lot and is expected to bring as much as $25 million.
Christie’s will also offer a monumental Louis Bourgeois spider that carries a $4-6 million estimate. Last week the auction house placed the piece outside its Rockefeller Center location in order to stage a PR stunt that involved actor Craig Henningsen, who plays Spider Man in the Broadway production, in full costume posing on and around the sculpture.
The 26-lot auction of work from the collection of entrepreneur and art collection Peter Norton is lead by a group of Takashi Murakami sculptures titled B in the Strange Forest (Blue DOB) that could fetch as much as $3.5 million. On Wednesday the artist will be hosting a charity auction at Christie’s, with all proceeds donated to the relief effort in Japan.
The Sotheby’s sale on Wednesday evening features four Clyfford Still paintings from the collection of Patricia Still, the late artist’s widow. The group is led by 1949-A-No. 1, which carries an estimate of $25-35 million. The paintings are being sold to support the endowment of the new Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, which will open on November 18, 2011.
Amongst the top lots at Sotheby’s is a fresh to market Francis Bacon triptych. Three Studies for a Self Portrait was exhibited at the Marlborough Gallery in London in shortly after it was painted 1967 and was acquired by the selling party later that year. It is estimated to bring $15-20 million.
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Phillips evening sale e-catalog [Phillips de Pury]
Phillips benefit auction e-catalog [Phillips de Pury]
Christie’s evening sale e-catalog [Christie's]
Works from the Peter Norton Collection sale at Christie’s e-catalog [Christie's]
Sotheby’s evening sale e-catalog [Sotheby's]