Bonhams: Post-War & Contemporary Art Auction Analysis
On Tuesday, May 12, at Bonhams New York, a modestly successful Post-War & Contemporary Art took place. It was a small auction, with 33 lots of selected artworks over the last 70 years – from 1940(-ish) to 2007. The complete sale managed that around two-thirds of exhibited lots change owners, and for more money that was initially expected. And while Alexander Calder’s work The Mountain from 1960 (Lot 6) was sold for the biggest amount, Robert Indiana‘s Love was the most successful lot of the auction, as it more than doubled its high estimate.
The Story About the Artwork: Robert Indiana’s Love (1965)
Indiana’s Love was executed in 1965, and almost immediately won the hearts of audience. It became somewhat of an icon of American pop culture, and it was the artwork that elevated Robert Indiana’s career, who became one of the first Pop artists. Just seven years after it was made, the U.S. Postal Service issued an eight-cent LOVE stamp, designed by the artist, and 330 million of them were produced. Indiana’s work was a perfect fit for the whole movement of free love that induced the sexual revolution in the sixties. The success of the painting surprised Robert Indiana himself – as he said later, he wasn’t even thinking about the love generation and hippies. The simplicity and power of this and other Indiana’s works influenced many contemporary artist – Christopher Wool, Tracey Emin, Yoshitomo Nara and Jenny Holzer.
The Overview of Bonhams: Post-War & Contemporary Art Auction
We have decided to stir things up a bit, so from now on, in our auction analyses, when you take a look at images of lots that are just bellow this text, you will immediately find out information of its estimated value and hammer price – hope you’ll like this. As for Post-War & Contemporary Art auction at Bonhams, out of those 33 lots, 21 was sold, or 63.6 percent. The auction gathered almost $2.9 million, and the sum of high estimates for sold lots was just bellow $2.8 million, so this will give you a hint of a pretty solid auction, when it comes to money. The highest hammer price had the mentioned Calder’s work The Mountain, which was sold for $700,000 – average hammer price $87,424, while hammer price median was $25,000 (this means that the same number of lots were sold for more than $25,000 and for less than $25,000). The difference between average hammer price and median was -71.4 percent, which means that many more lots were sold bellow this auction’s average price than above it, but those several lots that scored big, molded this final average hammer price.
We’ve mentioned Calder’s and Indiana’s work, and several more were notable at Bonhams: Josef Albers’ Homage to the Square: Suspended, Andy Warhol’s Heaven and Hell Are Just One Breath Away (Positive and Negative), and two works by Victor Vasarely – OND-III and Attam. On the other hand, Richard Stankiewicz’s Untitled, Richard Pettibone’s Jasper Johns ‘Shade’, 1959 and Sol LeWitt’s Incomplete Open Cube underperformed, and Jean-Paul Riopelle’s Untitled (Lot 30) was the highest priced lot that wasn’t sold (estimated at $150,000 – $200,000).
Bonhams: Post-War & Contemporary Art Auction in Details
Please, scroll down to find out more about each lot that was auctioned at Bonhams: Post-War & Contemporary Art Auction – find out their estimated values, hammer prices and find out which lots weren’t sold.
|Total number of lots:||33|
|Number of sold lots:||21|
|Sold lots [%]:||63.6|
|Number of sold lots over high estimate:||8|
|Over high estimate (Total) [%]:||24.2|
|Over high estimate (Sold) [%]:||38.1|
|Number of sold lots in range of estimated values:||10|
|In range of estimated values (Sold) [%]:||47.6|
|Number of sold lots under low estimate:||3|
|Under low estimate (Sold) [%]:||14.3|
|Results were under estimate spread of [%]:||31.3|
|Max Hammer [$]:||700000|
|Average Hammer [$]:||87424|
|Median Hammer [$]:||25000|
|Median Hammer Average Hammer Difference [%]:||-71.4|
|Lot No.||Artist Name||Artwork Name||Low Estimate $||High Estimate $||Hammer Price $||Hammer High Estimate Difference [%]||Hammer Low Estimate Difference [%]|
|1||Alexander Calder||Untitled||30000||50000||Not Sold||Not Sold||Not Sold|
|3||Joseph Cornell||Carrousel||60000||80000||Not Sold||Not Sold||Not Sold|
|4||Studio Of Willem De Kooning||Leda and the Swan: Sitting, Standing and Reclining||120000||180000||Not Sold||Not Sold||Not Sold|
|6||Alexander Calder||The Mountain||600000||800000||700000||-12.5||16.7|
|7||Christo||Running Fence (Project for Sonoma County and Marin County, State of California)||50000||70000||50000||-28.6||0|
|8||Alex Katz||Maine Woods||20000||30000||32000||6.7||60|
|9||Andy Warhol||Hermann Hesse||20000||30000||Not Sold||Not Sold||Not Sold|
|10||Tom Wesselmann||Study for Bedroom Painting #42||50000||70000||65000||-7.1||30|
|11||Keith Haring||Untitled||100000||150000||Not Sold||Not Sold||Not Sold|
|13||Jean-Michel Basquiat||Untitled||100000||150000||Not Sold||Not Sold||Not Sold|
|14||Maurizio Cattelan||Untitled||60000||80000||Not Sold||Not Sold||Not Sold|
|15||Andy Warhol||Heaven and Hell Are Just One Breath Away (Positive and Negative)||200000||300000||230000||-23.3||15|
|16||Louise Nevelson||Dark Star||40000||60000||62000||3.3||55|
|17||Josef Albers||Homage to the Square: Suspended||300000||500000||400000||-20||33.3|
|18||Bernard Aubertin||Tableau Clous||20000||30000||22000||-26.7||10|
|19||Sol Lewitt||Incomplete Open Cube||10000||15000||8000||-46.7||-20|
|20||Robert Mangold||Untitled||30000||50000||Not Sold||Not Sold||Not Sold|
|21||Richard Pettibone||Jasper Johns 'Shade', 1959||10000||15000||9000||-40||-10|
|22||Mark Di Suvero||Sioux||60000||80000||60000||-25||0|
|25||Ken Price||Turning Green||50000||70000||Not Sold||Not Sold||Not Sold|
|29||Victor Vasarely||Tridim-C||80000||120000||Not Sold||Not Sold||Not Sold|
|30||Jean-Paul Riopelle||Untitled||150000||200000||Not Sold||Not Sold||Not Sold|
|32||Paul Jenkins||An Elizabethan||25000||35000||25000||-28.6||0|
|33||Hermann Nitsch||Untitled||30000||40000||Not Sold||Not Sold||Not Sold|
|TOTAL (Sold lots):||1910000||2790000||2885000||3.4||51|
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All images courtesy of Bonhams.