AO Auction Recap – London: Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening Auction, June 30th, 2014

June 30th, 2014

Francis Bacon, Three Studies for Portrait of George Dyer, via Sotheby's
Francis Bacon, Three Studies for Portrait of George Dyer, via Sotheby’s

The sales have closed at Sotheby’s and another week of Contemporary Art Sales are underway in London.  The evening’s sales performed well above estimate, bringing in a final sales tally of $159 million for 51 of the 59 available lots.Peter Doig, Country-Rock (Wing-Mirror), via Sotheby's
Peter Doig, Country-Rock (Wing-Mirror), via Sotheby’s

All eyes were turned towards Peter Doig’s Country-Rock (Wing Mirror) which saw early buzz over the work’s potential to break the sales record for a living British artist, but bidding stalled as the work neared the $8.5 million mark, and ultimately sold for the final tally of $14.5 million, falling shy of the record, but still managing to set a new record for the artist at auction.  Damien Hirst, who was also hinted at a high sales figure for his work Kingdom of Heaven, also fell shy of a potential new record, bringing in a somewhat stale $1.8 million for the butterfly work.

Andy Warhol, Dollar Sign, via Sotheby's
Andy Warhol, Dollar Sign via Sotheby’s

Even so, the auction still managed to see its fair share of higher energy across the board.  Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for a Portrait of George Dyer was the high seller for the night, beating an already impressive $25 – $34 million to bring in a final auction price of $45.4 million.  Yves Klein’s impressive fire and blue paint piece also sold well above estimate, doubling a $2.5 million high estimate to sell at $5.4 million.  A colorful Mark Rothko, composed from several divergent streaks of color, sold for $4.1 million, over a $1.3 million high estimate.

Mark Rothko, No. 10, via Sotheby's
Mark Rothko, No. 10, via Sotheby’s

A number of works also failed to find a buyer, among them Anselm Kiefer’s Wege, which failed to meet its estimated $850,000 low estimate, as well as Cy Twombly’s Lycian Drawing, which failed to meet its $1.1 – $1.4 million price tag.  An Anthony Caro sculpture also failed to meet a presale estimate of $1.3 – $2 million.  Conversely, record prices were set for Adrian Ghenie ($2.3 million), and Frank Auerbach ($3.9 million)

The sales will continue tomorrow night at Christie’s.

Yves Klein, Untitled Fire Coulour Painting (FC 28) (1962), via Sotheby's
Yves Klein, Untitled Fire Coulour Painting (FC 28), via Sotheby’s

Cy Twombly, Lycian Drawing (Nimphidia) (1982), via Sotheby's
Cy Twombly, Lycian Drawing (Nimphidia), via Sotheby’s

— D. Creahan

Read more:
Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction [Sotheby’s]
Small Francis Bacon Triptych Sells for $45 Million at Sotheby’s London [Artnet]
Peter Doig painting of DVP rainbow tunnel sets auction record for the artist [Globe and Mail]