Auction Analysis: Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening

February 12, 2015

Every auction has its twists and turns – there are surprises and then there are letdowns. Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening, held on February 10th 2015 will most definitely be remembered for a long period to come. For, if some art auctions tend to bring disappointment or don’t live up to expectations, there are those which excite us with very interesting outcomes! Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening has been such an event!

Sotheby's
Anselm Kiefer - Des Herbsters Runengespinst - fur Paul Celan (lot 35)

Big Players, Big Money!

Let us start with the total numbers from Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening. The sum of hamerprice values adds up to $165,101,127, which makes the difference between this number and the sum of high estimated values of sold lots to be some 4,5% in favor of high estimated total. Although this can be considered to be a “negative” value, things become more clear if we have a look at other date. Namely, 86,7% of total lots was sold, i.e. 65 out of 75 lots. A number of 29 lots were sold for a price higher than the high estimated value. This is almost 40% of all lots, or 44,6% out of sold lots. 20 pieces have found new owners for a price which was in range of estimated values (30%). Number of sold lots under low estimated value was 16. But, there is a much more interesting number to ponder than these…

Sotheby's
Gerhard Richter - Abstraktes Bild (lot 37)

Gerhard Richter’s Piece Breaks a Record and More…

Piece under lot 37 is most definitely the biggest highlight of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening auction. Namely, Gerhard Richter’s Abstractes Bild has found a new owner for $41,473,388. Richter’s piece was bought by an anonymous American buyer and it is now a record for a European artist who is still creating. This piece achieved a difference between hammerprice and high estimated value of 35,7%. Another piece by Gerhard Richter – Wolken (Clouds) – under lot 43 found a new owner for $5,553,168, which is some 19% lower in terms of the high estimated value. It is quite interesting to have a look at how other German artists took a part of the spotlight during the evening of February 10th. Anselm Kiefer’s Des Herbsters Runengespinst - fur Paul Celan (lot 35) achieved a price of $1,259,754, which means that the piece was sold for a price 37% different from high estimated value. Three pieces by Sigmar Polke had found new owners – piece under lot 40 achieved a price 28% higher than the high estimated value. On the other hand, piece under lot 45, was sold for a price which was in range of high estimated values. As for the third piece by Polke (lot 42), it reached a price of 15% higher than the high estimated value. Finally, Martin Kippenberger’s piece, Fickn (lot 41), reached a price of $464,925, which makes the difference between the hammerprice and high estimated value to be 69%.

Sotheby's
Jonas Wood - Studio Hallway (lot 1), detail

Other Highlights of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening

Apart from Gerhard Richter and mentioned German painters, there were some other interesting results… Under lot number 1, a piece by Jonas Wood achieved a hammerprice which was 238% higher in terms of high estimated value. Two Studies for a Self-Portrait (lot 18) by Francis Bacon sold for $20,074,108 which was the second highest hammerprice at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening after record-breaking sale of Gerhard Richter piece (the piece has found a new owner for a price which was in range of the estimated value. In terms of hammerprice / high estimate difference, first place belongs to a piece by James Rosenquist. The piece under lot 11 has found a new owner with a price of 256% higher than the high estimated value. It is, also, interesting to see that all three pieces by Yves Klein have found new owners, but only one for a price higher than the high estimate. Out of 4 pieces by Andy Warhol, lots 52 and 53 are the most interesting ones. Namely, piece under lot 53 has achieved a hammerprice of a 50% difference in relation to the high estimated value. On the other hand, piece under lot 52 remained unsold. As for unsold pieces, we also divert your attention to lot 62, a piece by Takashi Murakami, estimated to reach a price as high as $917,166, which remained unsold. Finally, lot 10, a piece by Robert Rauschenberg, estimated to reach a price higher than $1,8, also went unsold…

In order to see the entire picture, be sure to check out our Detailed Auction Figures on the next page!

Next Page: Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Detailed Figures

Sotheby's
James Rosenquist - Beach Call (lot 11)

Sotheby's
Lucio Fontana - Concetto Spaziale, Attese (lot 8)

Featured image: Martin Kippenberger - Fickn (lot 41), detail

Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Detailed Figures

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Featured image: Francis Bacon - Two Studies for Self Portrait (lot 18)
All images courtesy of Sotheby's

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