AO Auction Recap – London: Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening Sale, October 17th, 2014

October 21st, 2014

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (1981), via Sotheby's
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (1981), via Sotheby’s

This past Friday, Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening Sale concluded the week of auctions during Frieze Week in London, with a £28,203,200 final tally.  Following the results of the previous two evenings, the sales were relatively staid affairs, with few works exceeding their original estimates.

Pierre Soulages, Peinture 125 X 202CM, 30 OCTOBRE 1958 (1958), via Sotheby's
Pierre Soulages, Peinture 125 X 202CM, 30 OCTOBRE 1958 (1958), via Sotheby’s

The sale’s highest figures go to a Pierre Soulages from early in the artist’s career, a vivid yellow and black composition that drew strong interest, and sold for the final price of £2,658,500.  A Martin Kippenberger from late in the artist’s career was also one of the top sales of the evening.  The hyper-loaded canvas drew substantial attention, and sold for the final price of £2,322,500.

Andy Warhol, Fragile - Handle With Care (1962), via Sotheby's
Andy Warhol, Fragile – Handle With Care (1962), via Sotheby’s

The sale also saw a number of mid-career painters exceed estimates quite quickly.  An Adrien Ghenie from 2009 surged past its £400k to £600k estimate quickly, settling at £1,022,500, just shy of the artist’s auction record.  A piece by Jia Aili also beat estimates, selling for double its estimate at £674,500, while a Danh Vo piece from the artist’s Numbers series set a new auction record for the artist at £314,500.

Adrien Ghenie, Duchamp's Funeral I (2009), via Sotheby's
Adrien Ghenie, Duchamp’s Funeral I (2009), via Sotheby’s

Despite strong performances, a number of works struggled to find a buyer, among them a subdued Gerhard Richter, and a work from Kippenberger’s Krieg Böse series.

Gerhard Richter, Dschungelbild (1971), via Sotheby's
Gerhard Richter, Dschungelbild (1971), via Sotheby’s

As the week in London wraps, attention turns to New York, where the fall auction season will conclude with a series of major sales.

Jia Aili, Untitled (2009), via Sotheby's
Jia Aili, Untitled (2009), via Sotheby’s

— D. Creahan

Read more:
Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening Sale [Sotheby’s]
Basquiat, Soulages Works Lead Sotheby’s $45 Million London Sale [Bloomberg]