Roy Lichtenstein, The Ring (Engagement), Oil on canvas sold at Auction. Price Realized: $41,690,000 (£26,762,100). Image courtesy of Sotheby’s
Sotheby’s May Contemporary Art Evening Sale Totals $380 Million with records for seven artists
NEW YORK, NY.- Mark Rothko ’s Untitled (Yellow and Blue) stole the lime light at Sotheby’s May Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York. The painting which had been in the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Melon for 30 years sold for $46,450,000 to an anonymous clients after it was underbidded by an Asian collector.
The sale of Mark Rothko’s painting helped Sotheby’s achieve the second highest price in the auction house’s history of Contemporary Art Evening Sale. The auction realized a total of $379, 697.000 with 87. 3 sold lot. 94% of sold works at the auction achieved prices at or above their estimate.
Speaking on the sale, Alexander Rotter, Co-Head of Sotheby’s Global Contemporary Art Department, commented:
With a total of $380 million, an outstanding sell-through rate, and records for artists spanning the gambit of Contemporary Art, the sale tonight was a great success. In a sale that saw bids coming thick and fast from all corners of the room and all corners of the globe, tonight’s total was just a heartbeat away from being our best ever.
Seven artist auctions records were set at the Contemporary Art Evening Sale. Christopher Wool’s Untitled (Riot), an enamel and aluminium painting sold for $29,930,000 (£19,212,993), a record for the artist at the auction. Estimated at $12,000,000 – 18,000,000, the painting had been in the same collection since 1991.
Sigmar Polke’s Dschungel (Jungle), Dispersion on canvas sold for $27,130,000 (£17,415,586), a record for the artist at auction. It was estimated in the region of $20 million). When the painting appeared at Sotheby’s London sale of the Duerckheim Collection, it sold for $9.2 million. Other artists whose works set record at the auction include Mark Bradford, Mark Grotjahn, Danh Vô, Thomas Struth, and Helen Frankenthaler.
Works by Andy Warhol made great impact in the Contemporary Art Evening Sale. All five works by the artist found buyers. When Superman came to the floor, 7 collectors from around the world set off a bidding way. The piece which was estimated at $6/8 million fetched $14,362,000, a record for the Myths series at auction. Warhol’s Mao from 1973 which was estimated at $13/16 million sold for $14,474,000. It was estimated at $13/16 million.
One of the major highlights of the auction was Roy Lichtenstein ’s The Ring (Engagement). Created in the artist’s traditional style, the painting raises and questions the issue of marriage. The work has had only two owners in 50 years and came from the collection of Stefan T. Edlis. The last time it appeared at auction in November 1997 at Sotheby’s, it realized $2,202,500. The May auction was different. With bidding from several collectors, the piece sold for $41,690,000, 20 times the amount it made in 1997.
Eight works donated by artists to benefit The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles got the attention of collectors. The works realized a total of $15,920,000, surpassing its estimate of $7.5/10.5 million. The sale opened with two MOCA works. Smear by Mark Bradford got the attention of collectors when ten bidders fought to own the painting. The bidding war drove the price over estimate, selling for $4,394,000, a new record for the artist at auction. Untitled by Mark Grotjahn sold for $6,522,000 after many bidders competed to own it. It was a new auction record for the artist.
The success recorded at Sotheby’s May Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York shows that the demand for contemporary art continues to grow across the globe. The auction was global and it drew participation from across the world. Works were consigned from 11 countries and collectors bidded from 40 countries, with significant participation from Latin America and Asia.
Here are the top lots at the Sotheby’s May Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York. Estimates do not include buyer’s premium
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