AO Auction Preview – New York: Contemporary and Post-War Evening Sales November 11th-13th, 2014

November 11th, 2014

Andy Warhol, Triple Elvis [Ferus Type] (1963), via Christie’s

The second week of fall auctions in New York is set to kick off this week, as a series of three sales at Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips that will look to test the ongoing strength of the Contemporary and Post-War Markets.  With major works on sale at all three auction houses, the initial estimates are impressive.

Mark Rothko, No. 21 (Red, Brown, Black and Orange) (1951), via Sotheby’s

The sales begin Tuesday at 6:30PM at Sotheby’s York Ave. headquarters, where the auction house is putting forward an impressive selection of works.  While an initial total estimate has not been announced, the strength of the works on view indicate another strong night of sales for an auction house bouncing back from several turbulent months.

Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild (1991), via Sotheby’s

The event is dominated by a group of works from the collection of Pierre and São Schlumberger, including Mark Rothko’s No. 21 (Red, Brown, Black and Orange), a seminal work valued at over $50 million, and one which initial estimates have valued at over $50 million.  The sale is also boasting a pristine Andy Warhol portrait of Liz Taylor, a 1963 work that is anticipated to achieve over $30 million on the block, as well as one of Jasper Johns’ iconic Flags, which holds a pre-sale estimate of $15 to $20 million.  Also of note is a Robert Ryman composition from 1961, also carrying a $15 to $20 estimate, an estimate that would easily shatter the artist’s prior auction record should it be met.

Andy Warhol, Liz #3 (Early Colored Liz) (1963), via Sotheby’s

The sales continue the next night at Christie’s, where the rival auction house seems poised to pull out all the stops in its fall Contemporary sale.  The evening is lead by a pair of immediately recognizable Andy Warhol prints, one of Elvis Presley and another of Marlon Brando, both of which have already garnered exceptional attention for their pre-sale estimates of $70 million each.

Roy Lichtenstein, Reflections on the Prom (1990), via Christie’s

What’s more, an additional three works are offered which could very well top $50 million each, including a pair of Roy Lichtenstein paintings.  But one sleeper lot could bring the biggest surprise of the evening, Peter Doig’s Pine House (Rooms for Rent).  Despite the artist’s current auction record of $16.9 million, the work’s pre-sale estimate is only available upon request, potentially signaling what could be a sudden jump in his sales price.  The sale also includes a deeply hued Francis Bacon pope painting(valued at $40 to $60 million), as well as a Cy Twombly piece from 1970 that is estimated at $35 to $55 million.  But these monumental prices are only the beginning, with the sale’s 82 lot offering 22 lots with a low estimate over $10 million.  If sales hold even remotely close to what estimates are initially promising, Christie’s could stand to handily demolish its $745 million world record for a single auction with ample room to spare.

Peter Doig, Pine House (Rooms for Rent) (1994), via Christie’s

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Bird as Buddha (1984), via Phillips

Following what promises to be a high-stakes shootout between auction houses early this week, the proceedings will conclude Thursday at Phillips with a comparatively staid 48 lot sale of contemporary works.  The sale is led by a minimal Robert Ryman work from 2001, valued at $5 to $7 million, as well as Wade Guyton piece from $4 to $6 million.  The sale is also offering a unique Jean-Michel Basquiat piece, Bird as Buddha from 1984, also anticipated to sell for $4 to $6 million.

Art Observed will be covering the auctions on our Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Wade Guyton, Untitled (2006), via Phillips

— D. Creahan

Read more:
Sotheby’s Contemporary and Post-War Evening Sale [Sotheby's]
Christie’s Contemporary and Post-War Evening Sale [Christie's]
Phillips Contemporary Evening Sale [Phillips]
2 Mark Rothko Paintings Highlight NYC Auction [ABC]