Yes, it is summer season, but it certainly does not mean that we didn’t get to see some remarkable results at auctions in the last couple of weeks, since the summer has begun. For example, only the Post War and Contemporary Day Auction at Christie’s London, which took place on July 1 2015, gathered $17.920.570. Similarly, the Contemporary Art Evening Auction at Sotheby’s London gathered $176.370.689, in an amazing art sale event held on July 1 2015 (a way superior from Christie’s auction that took place the same day). And there were even more auctions with works that were bought for astronomical prices. Indeed, some masterpieces of contemporary art were put on sale at these auctions, yet many of them were not sold. We could think and contemplate why that is, but the fact is that some true masterpieces remained unsold.
In this article, we present 10 most interesting unsold lots at major summer auctions in 2015. Why do we say interesting unsold lots? For example, some amazing pieces by Gerhard Richter, Andy Warhol and Francis Bacon remained unsold, although they achieved significant results in previous auctions (during spring) with the same price estimates. However, this time, some great pieces of these masters remained unsold at major summer auctions. Additionally, some works by Peter Doig were not sold either, although Doig’s work achieved some remarkable results during the spring season. Quite interesting outcome and results at major summer auctions 2015, and some surprises, particularly when it comes to these interesting unsold lots. Let’s take a look at some amazing pieces that did not find new buyers.
Images in Slider:
Gerhard Richter – Abstraktes Bild, detail (courtesy of Sotheby’s)
Gerhard Richter – Bäume im Feld (Trees in Field), detail[courtesy of gerhard-richter.com]
Francis Bacon – Study for a Pope I
For art historians and well-informed art collectors, it’s a known fact that Francis Bacon was fascinated by portrayals of the Pope. He repeatedly returned to this theme over a twenty-year period of his career. Study for a Pope I is a reinterpretation of Diego Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X. The Study for a Pope I was painted in 1961, for the artist’s career retrospective at the Tate the following year, and it was one of the highlights of the Contemporary Art Evening Auction at Sotheby’s London, on July 1 2015. The work was estimated at $39.044.250-$54.661.950; but, it wasn’t sold. In general, this auction was not so bad for Bacon’s works. His Three Studies For Self-portrait from 1980 was sold for $20,303,010.
Featured Image: Francis Bacon – Study For A Pope I, 1961, detail
Andy Warhol – Front and Back Dollar Bills
Andy Warhol’s Dollar Bills series is one of the most recognized bodies of works in the oeuvre of this famous American artist. These works eventually transformed the artist into a living legend. The first pieces from the series were executed in 1962. Front and Back Dollar Bills is the only diptych from the Dollar Bills series – a work where Warhol explored the graphic potential of the ubiquitous United States note to its fullest. He separated a dollar bill into its black and green constituent parts – whereby the left panel articulates the front of the bill in a sumptuous jet black and the right panel illustrates the back of the dollar in rich, hookers green. The whole work is characterized by the recognizable Pop Art aesthetic. At Contemporary Art Evening Auction at Sotheby’s London, on July 1 2015, this work was one of the highlights of the auction sale, however it wasn’t sold. Estimated at $18.741.240-$28.111.860, it did not find a buyer. On the other hand, his One Dollar Bill (Silver Certificate) was sold for $28,892,745.
Featured Image: Andy Warhol – Front and Back Dollar Bills , detail (courtesy of Sotheby’s)
Peter Doig – Pelican
Quite strange that Peter Doig’s Pelican remained without a buyer at Contemporary Art Evening Auction at Sotheby’s London, on July 1 2015. Doig’s works were usually sold out at auctions during the spring season, for the same price as the Pelican was estimated for this Sotheby’s auction. The Pelican was created when Doig visited the island of Trinidad in 2000, when the artist saw a man killing an injured pelican. This painting is characterized by a dreamlike mood, often associated with Doig, while the artist’s recognizable technique can be identified in the composition. Estimated at $9.370.620-$12.494.160, Pelican was not sold.
Featured Image: Peter Doig – Pelican, detail (courtesy of Sotheby’s)
Andy Warhol - Two Dollar Bills (Back) (40 Two Dollar Bills In Green)
As it was the case with Front and Back Dollar Bills at Contemporary Art Evening Auction at Sotheby’s London, on July 1 2015, Andy Warhol’s Two Dollar Bills (Back) (40 Two Dollar Bills In Green) was not sold either. Estimated at $7.808.850-$10.932.390, the work remained unsold. Two Dollar Bills (Back) (40 Two Dollar Bills In Green) is one of the most important works from the Dollar Bills series, that Warhol created in 1962. The artist was fascinated by the design of these rare two dollar bills, he would go to banks to stock up on them – not for their monetary value (obviously), but purely to marvel at the beauty of their design.
Featured Image: Andy Warhol – Two Dollar Bill, detail (courtesy of pictify.com)
Gerhard Richter - Bäume im Feld (Trees in Field)
It’s strange that many of Gerhard Richter’s works were unsold at Post War and Contemporary Evening Auction at Christie’s London, that took place on June 30 2015. The auction gathered an amazing sum of $128,932,283. During the spring season, Richter’s works were regularly sold, but this evening in London was not so successful for the German artist’s works. His beautiful piece Bäume im Feld (Trees in Field) remained unsold. It was estimated at $6.260.520-$ 9.390.780; unfortunately no buyer was interested.
Featured Image: Gerhard Richter – Bäume im Feld (Trees in Field), detail[courtesy of gerhard-richter.com]
Gerhard Richter - Stadtbild M 6
Another surprise at Contemporary Art Evening Auction at Sotheby’s London, on July 1 2015 – Gerhard Richter’s Stadtbild M 6 was not sold. Estimated at $3.123.540-$6.247.080, this beautiful piece did not find a buyer. Stadtbild M 6 is a painting inspired the famous Stadtbilder series, created between 1968 and 1970. Thirty-seven paintings were created within this series. Of this number, almost half reside in museum collections. In the process of creation of these paintings, Gerhard Richter used aerial photographs of cities culled from 1960s architectural books and magazines.
Featured Image: Gerhard Richter – Stadtbild M 6, detail (courtesy of gerhard-richter.com<)
Gerhard Richter - Abstraktes Bild
Abstraktes Bild is a masterpiece by Gerhard Richter, a painting that was executed in 1986. It was created after the artist’s nascent abstractions executed between the years of 1980-1985. Abstraktes Bild imparts glorious light effects that verge on the experiential. This amazing work is not among the largest abstract paintings by the artist; it is also one of the most chromatically, compositionally and redolently astonishing. Richter is generally very popular at art markets, but it seems that Post War and Contemporary Evening Auction at Christie’s London, that took place on June 30 2015 was not a perfect day for artist’s pieces. Estimated at $3.912.825-$5.477.955, it was not sold, but there is no doubt it will change its owner very soon.
Featured Image: Gerhard Richter – Abstraktes Bild, detail (courtesy of Sotheby’s)
Gerhard Richter – Kine
Gerhard Richter was often mentioned during the summer, not because of the auction results, but because of the controversial law that is planned to be passed in Germany. According to that law, the export of artworks (from Germany) older than 50 years, and valued at €150,000 ($165,900) or more would be restricted. As a protest, Richter warned he would withdraw his works from German Museums. However, Richter is always mentioned when major auctions are taking place. Still, Post War and Contemporary Evening Auction at Christie’s London that took place on June 30 was not successful for German artist’s works. His amazing work Kine was estimated at $3.130.260 -$4.695.390. Unfortunately, it did not find a buyer.
Featured Image: Gerhard Richter – Kine, detail (courtesy of gerhard-richter.com)
Domenico Gnoli - Scarpa Vista Da Dietro
Scarpa Vista Da Dietro is certainly one of the most famous works by Domenico Gnoli. A bit provocative, this piece is an exceptional example from a series of five works that illustrate the outside of women’s shoes in close cropped detail. With elements of erotica, this composition is dominated by the undulating curves of the shoe’s heel. Unfortunately, the piece was not sold at Contemporary Art Evening Auction at Sotheby’s London, on July 1 2015. It was estimated at $3.123.540-$4.685.310.
Featured Image: Domenico Gnoli – Scarpa Vista Da Dietro, detail (courtesy of Sotheby’s)
Robert Ryman – Manual
It is not easy to classify the amazing Robert Ryman’s work called Manual. Traditionally, artists have worked in one of two modes: representation or abstraction. However, this piece could hardly be described as abstraction. The artist himself described his style as “Realism”, since he believes that aesthetic is real. It is about aesthetic, not about subjects. However, Ryman’s works are quite popular on art market. Unfortunately, Manual was not sold at Post War and Contemporary Evening Auction at Christie’s London that took place on June 30 2015. Estimated at $2.347.695-$3.130.260, it was not sold.
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Featured Image: Robert Ryman – Manual, detail (courtesy of Christie’s)
All Images used for illustrative purposes only.