FRANCIS BACON
Triptych, 1976
oil and pastel on canvas in three parts
each: 78 by 58 inches
SOTHEBY'S, N.Y., "Contemporary Art Evening Session", N08441
lot #33
est.: $70,000,000   realized: $86,281,000
Illustration courtesy SOTHEBY'S IMAGES, 2008
*WORLD RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION

*WORLD RECORD FOR ANY WORK OF CONTEMPORARY ART AT AUCTION

Spring 2008 / N.Y. Post-War & Contemporary Art Auction Re-Cap
By Brian Appel


Christie’s

MARK ROTHKO
No. 15, 1952
oil on canvas
91 3/8 by 80 inches
CHRISTIE'S, N.Y., "Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale", #1997
May 13, 2008
lot #23
est: $40,000,000-$45,000,000   price realized: $50,441,000
Illustration courtesy: CHRISTIE'S IMAGES, 2008

 

“No. 15”, a 7 ½ by 6 ½ foot Mark Rothko from 1952 took the top lot on Tuesday evening, May 13th at the Christie’s spring evening sale. Christopher Burge, the house’s erudite chief auctioneer started the bidding of the blood-red against yolk-yellow Ab-Ex masterwork at $26 million and quickly brought it up by one million increments until it reached its $45 million zenith ($50.4 million with buyer’s premium) in less than three minutes.

It was the second highest Rothko ever sold at auction. The Sotheby’s brokered “White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose)” oil on canvas from last spring with the impeccable David and Peggy Rockefeller provenance is still number one. It went for an astounding $72.8 million.

Roger Evans, the consignor of “No. 15”, bought the painting nine years ago through Sotheby’s for $11 million, a record at the time.

The San Francisco collector has had success with Christie’s in the past as well. In the fall of 2006, the collector sold a 20 by 16 inch “Orange Marilyn” through the house for $16.3 million. He bought it five years earlier from Christie’s for $3.7 million.

Evans was also the consignor of two other American Ab-Ex masterworks that broke world auction records for their artists. Sam Francis’s “Black” of 1955, a prime example of his important early series known as the “Black” paintings surpassed the artist’s previous record landing at $5.2 million. “Cool Blast” a signature work from 1960 by the under-rated Adolph Gottlieb put to rest his previous $1.4 million record landing in at $6.5 million.
 

LUCIEN FREUD
Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, 1995
oil on canvas
59 5/8 by 86 1/4 inches
CHRISTIE'S, N.Y., "Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Session", #1997
May 13, 2008
lot #37
est.: $25,000,000-$35,000,000   realized: $33,641,000
Illustration courtesy CHRISTIE'S IMAGES, 2008
*WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR THE ARTIST
*WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR A LIVING ARTIST


“Benefits Supervisor Sleeping”, (1995), a fleshy portrait of a 280-pound nude woman sleeping on a sofa by British artist Lucien Freud, shattered the record for the world’s most expensive painting by a living artist. “Big Sue”, as the oil on canvas painting is affectionately referred, sold to an anonymous bidder on the phone for a whopping $33.6 million. Freud’s previous record of $19.4 million — a 1992 portrait entitled “Ib and Her Husband” — was struck at Christie’s, New York, just last fall.

The 5 foot by 7 ¼ foot, life-size painting, is a hyper-perfect example of Freud’s realism. It illustrates his extraordinary “… ability to capture the startling actuality of life in all its awkwardness.” The physical presence of “things” no doubt helped the work land in the number two spot in the house’s top ten and makes a fine foil to Rothko’s entry into the immateriality of the abstract sublime.

Freud’s lushly expressive brushwork trumped the previous world auction record work for a living artist — Jeff Koons’ stainless steel “Hanging Heart (Magenta/Gold)” sold through Sotheby’s via Larry Gagosian to a billionaire Russian collector back in November of 2007.

Koons sold another monumental sculpture last fall through Christie’s — a giant (6 ½ foot tall) engagement ring (“Diamond-Blue)” that was purchased by jeweler/collector Laurence Graff for $11.8 million.
 

JEFF KOONS
New Hoover Convertibles, New Shelton Wet/Drys 5-Gallon, Double Decker, 1981-1986
two Hoover convertibles, two Shelton Wet/Drys,
acrylic and florescent lighting
99 by 41 by 28 inches
CHRISTIE'S, "Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale", #1997
May 13, 2008
lot #16
est.: $10,000,000 plus   realized: $11,801,000
Illustration courtesy: CHRISTIE'S IMAGES, 2008


This time out, Christie’s had his “New Hoover Convertibles, New Shelton Wet/Drys 5-Gallon, Double Decker”, (1981-1986) consisting of two brand new vertical standing Hoover Convertible cleaners and two, also pristine, Shelton Wet/Dry drum vacuum cleaners presented and preserved in a monolithic Plexiglas box illuminated from below by tubes of fluorescent lighting. Acquired by Michael and B.Z. Schwartz at the International With Monument Gallery in Manhattan’s East Village the year it was first shown, it created a flurry of heated interest ending with a determined (and rich) telephone bidder who got to take it home for $11.8 million.

Christie’s has been the house most able to bring Andy Warhol’s important works to market, and this year’s “Double Marlon” from 1966 hit the mark.
 

ANDY WARHOL
Double Marlon, 1966
silkscreen ink on unprimed canvas
84 by 95 3/4 inches
CHRISTIE'S, "Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale", #1997
May 13, 2008
lot #12
est.: $30,000,000-$35,000,000   realized: $32,521,000
Illustration courtesy CHRISTIE'S IMAGES, 2008


Estimated in the $30 million plus range, the silkscreen ink and unprimed canvas worked double-duty for fans of both the raw machismo of Brando’s iconic biker “Johnny-Boy” — an appropriation from the 1953 Stanley Kramer film, “The Wild One” — and the sublime formal beauty of the large swath of unprimed canvas left in reserve on the left. Here Warhol ‘lifts’ another image from popular culture raising it into the rarefied canon of high art and accompanies it with the sensual texture of the unprimed canvas whose raw tactility and overall ‘authorless’ color form tips a hat to Clement Greenberg’s advocacy of Post-Painterly Abstraction. It brought $32.5 million.

The winning paddle, #1729, was also successful with a 1986 Warhol diptych, “The Last Supper” for $8.8 million — lot #8’s meditation on the role of religion in contemporary art and life.

The Warhol buying spree continued with “Campbell’s Soup (Pepper Pot)” of 1962, one of the first examples of the use of the medium of the silk screen through which the artist was to forever transform the landscape of the late 20th Century.

A 20 by 16 inch casein and graphite on linen “early version” of the Pepper Pot soup can that was featured in the storied, 32 soup cans at the infamous Ferus Gallery show in Los Angeles — identical save for the absence of metallic paint — went for $7.1 million to an anonymous telephone bidder.

Purchased originally by collector George S. Rosenthal just weeks after the Ferus exhibition, it was gifted by descent to his son, Henry, a film producer and punk rocker. The painting had been in storage for some 30-odd years in a skid row warehouse in San Francisco.

“It was difficult to sell”, said Rosenthal, 53. “But as the painting became absurdly valuable, it became more nerve-wracking to keep it.”
 

ANDY WARHOL
Self-Portrait, 1986
synthetic polymer and silkscreen inks on canvas
22 by 22 inches
Christie's "Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale", May, 13, 2008
lot #4
est.: $2,500,000-$3,500,000   price realized: $3,513,000
Illustration courtesy: CHRISTIE'S IMAGES, 2008


A Jackson Pollock parody/homage (take your pick) “Oxidation (Piss) Painting”, pulled down $1.9 million, a black on yellow, 6 by 13 foot synthetic polymer, metallic paint and silkscreen ink on canvas “Shadow Painting” brought $6.2 million, a 22 by 22 inch, Peter Brant consigned, purple-hued “Self-Portrait (Fright Wig)” was fought over for $3.5 million, “Four Jackies”, (1964), a multifaceted depiction of the First Lady as a response to the John F. Kennedy assassination on Nov. 22nd of 1963 in white and blue brought $4.3 million, and a $4.4 million “Flowers” diptych from 1964 were served up to collectors only too happy to pay top dollar for some of the Pop master’s magic.

In was a big night for Warhol. The artist was responsible for $68.7 million of Christie’s $331.4 million evening haul, making the Pop prince easily the number one performer at the house.

Francis Bacon has been the crème de la crème with ultra-high net worth individuals looking to invest in works that have a global cache. His paintings have soared in art-market value in the last two seasons.
 

FRANCIS BACON
Three Studies For Self-Portrait, 1976
oil on canvas, in three parts
each: 14 by 12 inches; overall: 14 by 39 3/4 inches
CHRISTIE'S, N.Y., "Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale", #1997
May 13, 2008
lot #10
est.: $25,000,000-$35,000,000   realized: $28,041,000
Illustration courtesy: CHRISTIE'S IMAGES, 2008


His cinematic, slide-like progression of images in “Three Studies For Self-Portrait”, (1976) was acquired for just over $28 million in a crush of paddle pointing. The oil on canvas in three parts — each 14 by 12 inches — had been acquired for $5.1 million by the Seattle collectors Richard and Elizabeth Hedreen at Sotheby’s, New York three years ago.

“Study of Portrait of John Edwards”, a 14 1/8 by 12 1/8 inch, 1989 Bacon rendering of the artist’s closest companion, brought $4.5 million. The psychological intensity and inner life of the subject caught in the act of turning his head against a deep black background helped bring Bacon’s total for the night to $32.5 million — the same amount paid for Warhol’s painting starring Brando.

Gerhard Richter, Clyfford Still, Willem de Kooning and Roy Lichtenstein — all established names/global brands —rounded out the top ten for the evening.

Eight world auction records were set including a white-hot Richard Prince “nurse” painting.
 

RICHARD PRINCE
Man-Crazy Nurse #2, 2002
ink-jet print and acrylic on canvas
78 by 58 inches
CHRISTIE'S, N.Y., "Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Session", #1997
May 13, 2008
lot #13
est.: $6,000,000-$8,000,000   realized: $7,433,000
Illustration courtesy CHRISTIE'S IMAGES, 2008
*WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR THE ARTIST


Originally purchased for approximately $100,000 by television producer Douglas S. Cramer at the work’s debut at the Barbara Gladstone Gallery in 2002, “Man-Crazy Nurse #2”, a 78 by 58 inch ink-jet print and acrylic on canvas brought a cool $7.4 million.

To say these works have “struck a chord” with the collecting cognoscenti is this season’s biggest understatement. His nurse paintings (estimated to be over 100) simultaneously deconstruct and pay homage on an epic scale to the original illustrators of pulp fiction nurse books from the 1960s-1970s, who worked on the fringe of the art world.

Prince was also represented by a “check painting”, ($1.5 million), a “joke painting”, ($1.2 million), and one of his now classic “Marlboro cowboys”, ($802,600). He was the most represented artist in the sale after Andy Warhol.

Surprisingly, given the present state of the U.S. economy, Christie’s reported that 70 percent of the evening’s buyers were American, 26 percent European buyers (including a strong Russian presence) and 4 percent were Asian. Only three of the auction’s tightly curated assemblage of 57 lots failed to sell.

Christie’s morning and afternoon sales brought in an additional $82.6 million with 276 lots sold at an average lot price of $300,000. 69 lots were bought in.
 

DAVID PARK
Louise, 1959
oil on canvas
48 by 56 inches
CHRISTIE'S, N.Y., "Post-War and Contemporary Art
Morning Session", #1998
lot #120
est.: $900,000-$1,200,000   realized: $2,729,000
Illustration courtesy CHRISTIE'S IMAGES, 2008


David Park’s “Louise” was the day sales biggest seller at $2.7 million. A powerful figurative nude with a mask-like face, the oil on canvas came with a $900,000-$1.2 million pre-sale estimate.
 

ANDY WARHOL
Crosses, 1981-1982
synthetic polymer and silkscreen inks on canvas
90 by 70 inches
CHRISTIE'S, N.Y., "Post-War and Contemporary Art
Morning Session", #1998
lot #127
est.: $2,500,000-$3,000,000   realized: $2,001,000
Illustration courtesy CHRISTIE'S IMAGES, 2008

 

DAMIEN HIRST
N-(9-Acridinyl) Maleimide, 1992
gloss household paint on canvas
68 by 60 inches
CHRISTIE'S, N.Y., "Post-War & Contemporary Art Afternoon Session, #1999
May 14, 2008
lot #342
est.: $1,000,000-$1,500,000   realized: $1,217,000
Illustration courtesy CHRISTIE'S IMAGES, 2008


Joseph Albers, Norman Bluhm, Louise Bourgeois, Sam Francis, Helen Frankethaler, Conrad Marca-Relli, Joan Mitchell, Milton Resnick and Ed Ruscha in the morning session, and Wang Guangy, Sherrie Levine, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, Sturtevant, Andy Warhol and Fheng-Jie in the afternoon session had lots that brought in at least double their high estimates.

Sotheby’s

FRANCIS BACON
Triptych, 1976
oil and pastel on canvas in three parts
each: 78 by 58 inches
SOTHEBY'S, N.Y., "Contemporary Art Evening Session", N08441
lot #33
est.: $70,000,000   realized: $86,281,000
Illustration courtesy SOTHEBY'S IMAGES, 2008
*WORLD RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION

*WORLD RECORD FOR ANY WORK OF CONTEMPORARY ART AT AUCTION
 

The world’s top price for a contemporary work of art edged up to just shy of $90 million on the following evening — Francis Bacon’s monumental oil and pastel on canvas “Triptych, 1976” brought an astronomical $86.3 million in a stellar evening at Sotheby’s where a 15 by 19 inch Warhol “Skull” painting brought $1.6 million and an editioned black-and-white Jeff Wall photograph (whose previous world auction record was $351,150) brought $993,000. 73 out of 83 lots found buyers.


JEFF WALL

The Forest, 2001

Gelatin silver print

94 1/8 by 119 1/4 inches

from an edition of two plus one artist's proof

lot #80, SOTHEBY'S, "Contemporary Art Evening Auction", N08441

May 14, 2008

est.: $600,000-$800,000   realized: $993,000

*World Auction Record for the Artist

illustration courtesy: SOTHEBY'S IMAGES 2008


Wearing a grey, nipped-at-the-waist, double breasted Savile Road suit with dark tie and white handkerchief, Tobias Meyer, the house’s ebullient auctioneer and world-wide head of contemporary art took three telephone bidders on a ride that ultimately concluded with an antidote to fears of a faltering art market — especially at the top.

At the post-auction press call, Mr. Meyer crowed that it was Sotheby’s “healthiest sale” in the house’s 245 year history. In fact, its $362 million payday was the highest total for any auction save for the mega-huge Christie’s evening auction in May of last year where Warhol’s $71.7 million “Green Car Crash” carried the house to its highest take-home with $385 million.

The depiction of a headless tormented figure being devoured by vultures in the 6 1/2 foot by 5 foot central panel of the triptych is arguably the artist’s own angst. It is said to be derived “… from magazine photographs of pelicans diving, Eadweard Muybridge’s photographs of animals in motion, and the blur of early sports photography.” Almost as if they are other identities of the artist that exist parallel to the eviscerated figure, two heads to the left and right of the center panel loom large, implicated by their proximity to such violence.

This was the first time the three-panel work was introduced to the market since its purchase through the Marlborough Gallery in London in 1977.
 

RICHARD PRINCE

Untitled (Cowboy), 1994

Ektacolor photograph

61 by 41 inches

ed.: '1/2'

lot #10, SOTHEBY'S, "Contemporary Art Evening Auction", N08441

May 14, 2008

est.: $800,000-$1,200,000   realized: $1,385,000

illustration courtesy: SOTHEBY'S IMAGES 2008


Roman Abramovich, the billionaire Russian investor, soccer club owner and yachtsman has been reported to be the lucky new owner.

Mr. Abramovich, who recently resigned as governor of Chukotka — an impoverished, icy expanse close to Alaska in Russia’s far east — is also credited with purchasing the world’s most expensive painting for a living artist at Christie’s. He was the collector who paid $33.6 million for Lucian Freud’s “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping” the night before.

Abramovich, who purchased two out of three of the most expensive paintings in New York this season, is a glaring example of a slow shifting of collectors from America (who five years ago accounted for an estimated 60%-70% of the art auction market) to centers of rapidly emerging economies like Moscow, Dubai and Shanghai. Sotheby’s itself estimates that 15% of sales of Impressionist and Modern works were purchased by Russians (up from 9% the year before), and although percentages are opaque as yet for contemporary art sales, it is safe to say that it is shifting gradually to a truly international arena including Russia and the former Soviet Republics (CIS), the Middle East, India and China.

Besides Abramovich (estimated fortune $22 billion), Victor Vekselberg, another Russian oligarch and Vistor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian billionaire who lives in Kiev are said to be big investors in contemporary work at the auctions in New York and increasingly, in London where they own several luxury homes.
 

ARSHILE GORKY
Untitled, circa 1943
graphite and wax crayon on paper
20 1/2 by 27 3/4 inches
SOTHEBY'S, N.Y., "Contemporary Art Morning Auction"
May 15, 2008
lot #128
est.: $400,000-$600,000   realized: $2,449,000
Illustration courtesy SOTHEBY'S IMAGES, 2008


Sotheby’s was responsible for 17 other artist records on the evening of May 14th including Tom Wesselman’s “Great American Nude No. 48”, ($10.7 million), Georg Baselitz’s “B.J.M.C.-Bonjour Monsieur Courbet”, ($4.6 million), Piero Manzoni’s “Achrome”, ($10.1 million), Hans Hofmann’s “Gloria in Excelsis”, ($4.3 million), Brice Marden’s “Glyphs”, ($3.1 million), Robert Smithson’s “Alogon”, ($4.3 million), Subodh Gupta’s “Saat Samunder Paar V11”, ($825,000) and others. 47 lots out of the 73 lots that found buyers achieved seven figures; eight more entered the eight-figure club.
 

TAKASHI MURAKAMI
My Lonesome Cowboy, 1998
oil, acrylic, fiberglass and iron
100 by 46 by 36 inches
from an edition of 3 plus 2 artist's proofs
SOTHEBY'S "Contemporary Art Evening Sale", N08441
May 14, 2008,
lot #9
est.: $3,000,000-$4,000,000   realized: $15,161,000
Illustration courtesy SOTHEBY'S IMAGES, 2008

(c)1998 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All rights reserved


Takashi Murakami’s “My Lonesome Cowboy”, an eight foot tall, cartoon-like nude sculpture of an anime man standing frontally posed like a super hero who is “… welding himself in place of a weapon ejaculating his own milk lasso” realized just over $15 million.

The sculpture — a representation of the melding of fine art with popular culture — was executed in 1998 from an edition of three plus 2 APs. The life-size work was expected to bring between $3 million and $4 million. Marianne Boesky, who for years had represented the artist, saw Mr. Murakami defect to Larry Gagosian just two years before. His previous world auction record was $2.7 million.
 

ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG
Overdrive, 1963
oil and silkscreen ink on canvas
84 by 60 inches
SOTHEBY'S "Contemporary Art Evening Sale", N08441
May 14, 2008
lot #27
est.: $10,000,000-$15,000,000   realized: $14,601,000
Illustration courtesy SOTHEBY'S IMAGES, 2008


Robert Rauschenberg (who passed at 82 just days before the start of the post-war season), along with Andy Warhol (who would have been 80 this year) and Roy Lichtenstein (who died in 1997 at 74), are widely seen as shifting the artistic focus away from the mythology of the painter baring his soul, to canvases that utilize the vernacular of the everyday.

Rauschenberg’s early silkscreen paintings, of which “Overdrive” is one of his most storied, are “hybrid” works that embrace the swirl of expressionist color effects with the imagery of commonplace found objects. His lifting of images from glossy picture magazines like “Life”, “Newsweek” and “National Geographic” telegraphed the ‘stealing’ of photographs by “appropriation artists” like Richard Prince decades later.

The artist’s oil and silkscreen ink on canvas from 1963 did not disappoint. The vibrant yellow, red and blue of “Overdrive” balance the quadrants of the tableau of birds, stop signs, compasses and clocks and an inverted Statue of Liberty — all within the strong structural use of black and white. The painting, with the stellar provenance of Leo Castelli in New York and Ileana Sonnabend in Paris, brought a giant $14.6 million, surpassing his previous world auction record by just under $4 million.
 

YVES KLEIN
MG9, circa 1962
gold leaf on panel
57 1/2 by 44 7/8 inches
SOTHEBY'S "Contemporary Art Evening Sale", N08441
May 14, 2008
lot #13
est.: $6,000,000-$8,000,000   realized: $23,561,000
Illustration courtesy SOTHEBY'S IMAGES, 2008
*WORLD RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION


Walter Lauffs, a German industrialist (who died in 1981) and his wife Helga offered up more than 20 lots in the sale that were originally assembled with the guidance of Paul Wember, a director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum and a curator of key exhibitions of Yves Klein’s work.


Two saturated monochrome works, (circa 1960), one deep blue (4 ¾ foot by 3 ¾ foot) and one pinkish-red (4 foot by 3 foot) — of dry pigment and synthetic resin on canvas painted by Klein — fetched huge prices. Each painting utilized an extraordinary tactile powdery surface that allows the viewer to “… step into the picture.” “IKB1”, expecting to bring in $5 million to $7 million, took home a heady $17.4 million. “MP13”, with a $2 million to $3 million estimate, brought $4.7 million.

Klein’s “MG9”, a rare, burnished gold leaf on panel monochrome (4 ¾ foot by 3 ¾ foot) with an animated gesso undercoat (circa 1962) came with a $6 million to $8 million pre-sale estimate. Bidding was fierce for the minimalist work that rejected both figuration and narrative. When the hammer fell, “MG9”, from the enfant terrible of the 60s Paris art scene had reached a staggering $23.6 million making it the second highest work of the evening sale and a record for the artist at auction.

The work was purchased by Philippe Segalot from the art advising firm of Giraud, Pissarro, Segalot. Segalot also purchased the record-breaking Piero Manzoni, “Achrome”, a kaolin on folded canvas work from 1958 for $10.1 million.

Another Lauffs work that performed in stellar fashion was Carl Andre’s 36-unit copper square (6 x 6) floor piece ($2.6 million). It set a new world auction record for the artist.

Andy Warhol’s “Set of Four Boxes: Brillo Box, Campbell’s Tomato Juice Box, Del Monte Peach Halves Box, Heinz Tomato Ketchup Box” — also from the Lauffs collection — set a new world auction record for a sculpture at $4.7 million.

Measuring 6 feet by 35 feet, Warhol’s fetishistic “Detail of the Last Supper (Christ 112 Times)”, appropriated from one of Christianity’s most famous and ubiquitous images — Da Vinci’s 1495-1498 masterwork “Last Supper” — was snapped up by savvy Warhol connoisseur/dealer/collector Jose Mugrabi for $9,561,000. Rumored to be from the vast Warhol holdings of Mr. Peter Brant, the yellow on black grid late painting was a relative steal at $1.5 million below its low pre-sale minimum.
 


EDWARD RUSCHA
I Don't Want No Retrospective, 1979
pastel on paper
23 by 29 inches
SOTHEBY'S, "Contemporary Art Morning Auction", N08442
May 15, 2008
lot #248
est.: $1,000,000-$1,500,000   realized: $3,961,000
Illustration courtesy SOTHEBY'S IMAGES, 2008


Rounding out the top ten at Sotheby’s were Gerhard Richter’s “Abstract Picture” from 1990 at $15.2 million (trumping its $7 million high estimate), Tom Wesslemann’s Pop inspired room-like assemblage from 1963 (setting a new world auction record for the artist at $10.7 million), and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s neo-primitive acrylic, oilstick and paper collage on paper portrait, “Untitled (Prophet)” from 1981-1982 for $9.6 million.

The big disappointment from the evening sales was a Rothko painting from 1956 that failed to reach its $35 million estimate. “Orange, Red, Yellow” (rumored to have been purchased by Sotheby’s in partnership with L&M’s Robert Mnuchin) was bought in at $33 million.
 

GEORGE CONDO
Wolfman, 1997
oil on canvas
60 by 48 inches
est.: $250,000-$350,000   realized: $289,000
lot #495, "Contemporary Art Afternnon Auction"
Sotheby's, N.Y., N08442, May 15, 2008
Illustration courtesy SOTHEBY'S IMAGES, 2008


The more modestly-priced day sales (typically from $50,000 to $1 million) are traditionally a better indicator of any slow-down caused by a shaky economy. But the three main troublemakers of an economy in disarray — the slumping housing market, the credit squeeze, and rising commodity prices — didn’t appear to have any impact at Sotheby’s.
 

ANDY WARHOL
Dollar Sign, 1982
acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas
10 by 8 inches
SOTHEBY'S, N.Y.,"Contemporary Art Morning Auction"
May 15, 2008
lot #213
est.: $150,000-$200,000   realized: $1,161,000
Illustration courtesy SOTHEBY'S IMAGES, 2008


Sotheby’s morning and afternoon sales brought in an additional $108 million. 355 lots sold (97 passed) with an impressive $304,000 per lot average.
 

CHRISTOPHER WOOL
Untitled (P-15), 1986
alkyd on aluminum and steel
72 by 48 inches
est.: $400,000-$600,000   realized: $735,400
lot #474, "Contemporary Art Afternoon Auction"
Sotheby's, N.Y., N08442, May 15, 2008
Illustration courtesy SOTHEBY'S IMAGES, 2008


Gerhard Richter’s “Abstract Painting (743-2)” was the day sale’s biggest seller with a $3.7 million payday. The oil on canvas, with bold reds seen through glimpses of deep blues and creamy whites, came with a $1.8 million to $2.5 million pre-sale estimate. Helen Frankenthaler, Ashile Gorky, Philip Guston, Ellesworth Kelly, Yayoi Kusama, Ed Ruscha and Andy Warhol in the morning session, and Mary Heilmann, Jenny Holzer, Ling Jian, Beatriz Milhazes, Juan Munoz, Takashi Murakami, Gabriel Orozco, Richard Prince, Christopher Wool, Cindy Sherman and Mike Bidlo in the afternoon session had lots that brought in at least double their high estimates.

Phillips de Pury & Co.

ALEX KATZ
Three Women, 2007
oil on canvas
58 by 107 inches
PHILLIPS de PURY & CO., N.Y., "Part 11-Contemporary Art"
NY010308
May 16, 2008
lot #278
est.: $150,000-$200,000    realized: $265,000
Illustration courtesy PHILLIPS de PURY & CO., 2008

 

The rising tide of the contemporary art market continued unabated at Phillips. Thursday evening’s sale at the house was a resounding success with 55 of the 64 lots offered scooped up by dealers and collectors who saw prices being driven up all week.

Simon de Pury, their charismatic chairman and chief auctioneer is seen as the presiding executive of a boutique house that has a reputation for anticipating shifts in contemporary art collecting tastes.
 

ROBERT LONGO
On the Beach (Last Wave), 2004
charcoal on paper
60 by 76 3/4 inches
PHILLIPS de PURY & CO., N.Y., "Part 11-Contemporary Art"
NY010308
May 16, 2008
lot #221
est.: $150,000-$200,000   realized: $271,000
Illustration courtesy PHILLIPS de PURY & CO., 2008


Phillips offered 29 lots executed since the year 2000 in their high profile evening sale as compared to 11 at Sotheby’s and only 6 at Christie’s. Because of this, in a very short period of time, de Pury has developed an enthusiastic customer base that has reacted strongly to the results of his tireless search for important works by emerging artists.

This time out, however, in addition to offering work from younger artists that add a new chapter to the encyclopedia of contemporary work like Dana Schutz, and Banks Violet, de Pury and his able team led by Michael McGinnis, stacked the deck with work from more high profile, mid-career artists with a long (and more expensive) auction history. The recipe included fresh pieces from Richard Prince and Damien Hirst, along with classic works from the 1980s and 1990s from the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Gerhard Richter, Robert Gober and Jeff Koons. The formula worked. Sales rocketed from $33 million last spring to $59 million this May.
 

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT
Untitled (Fallen Angel), 1981
acrylic and oilstick on canvas
66 by 78 inches
PHILLIPS de PURY & CO., N.Y., "Part 1-Contemporary Art"
NY010208
May 15, 2008
lot #121
est.: $8,000,000-$12,000,000   realized: $11,241,000
Illustration courtesy PHILLIPS de PURY & CO., 2008


The evening’s top seller, a 5 ½ foot by 6 ½ foot acrylic and oilstick on canvas by Jean-Michel brought $11.2 million. The 1981 painting, “Untitled (Fallen Angel)”, landed near the top end of its pre-sale estimate.

Considered to be in the “first phase” of Basquiat’s dynamic emergence into the New York art scene, the work splices and juxtaposes the frenetic style that the artist first developed in the underground world of graffiti art onto a Jean Dubuffet/Clyfford Still-like Modernist canvas.
 

JEFF KOONS
Self-Portrait, 1991
marble
from an edition of three play one artist's proof
37 1/2 by 20 1/2 by 14 1/2 inches
PHILLIPS de PURY & CO., N.Y., "Part 1-Contemporary Art"
NY010208
May 15, 2008
lot #111
est.: $6,000,000-$8,000,000   realized: $7,545,000
Illustration courtesy: PHILLIPS de PURY & CO., 2008


“Self-Portrait”, from 1991, a marble sculpture of Jeff Koons that was purchased from Phillips only three years ago for $3.9 million went to Sam Orlofsky of the Gagosian Gallery (Koons’ dealer) for $7.5 million. The self-glorifying, snow-white sculpture from his “Made in Heaven” series is from an edition of three plus one artist proof.
 

ROBERT GOBER
Untitled, 1990
beeswax, cotton, wood, leather, and human hair
this work is unique
12 1/4 by 5 1/2 by 20 1/2 inches
PHILLIPS de PURY & CO., N.Y., "Part 1-Contemporary Art"
NY010208
May 15, 2008
lot #128
est.: $1,200,000-$1,800,000   realized: $3,625,000
Illustration courtesy PHILLIPS de PURY & CO., 2008
*WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR THE ARTIST


New records were set for Robert Gober’s disembodied leg in beeswax and human hair, “Untitled” from 1990, ($3.6 million), a “Face Painting” from Mark Grotjahn, ($1.2 million) and “Tumbling Heads” from George Condo, ($1 million), among others.

Phillips’ day sale on Friday wasn’t as rosy. “Part 11” barely reached its low pre-sale minimum of $11.3 million — only 215 of 307 lots found buyers. Gross sales were down from last spring’s $14.9 million but average per lot prices were up slightly from last spring at $55,309 from $46,747.
 

ELIZABETH PEYTON
John Squires, 1997
oil on panel
17 by 14 inches
PHILLIPS de PURY & CO., N.Y., "Part 11-Contemporary Art"
NY010308
May 16, 2008
lot #465
est.: $200,000-$300,000   realized: $421,000
Illustration courtesy PHILLIPS de PURY & CO., 2008


A David Hockney hand-colored pressed paper pulp painting from his “swimming pool pictures” took the top lot at $433,000, and Elizabeth Peyton’s lovingly rendered oil on panel entitled “John Squires”, named after a member of the rock group “The Stone Roses”, came a close second at $421,000.

Paul Rusconi, Julian Schnabel, Ivan Navarro, Jason Rhoades, Allan McCollum, Gillian Carnegie, Andrew Grassie and Takashi Murakami had lots that brought in at least double their pre-sale high estimates.

Re-Cap
The broadening base, financial depth and seriousness of the growing number of collectors globally — in Europe, Russia, Asia-Pacific, India and the Middle East have outweighed any slowdown in demand due to economic volatility in the broader financial markets in the West. Spring sales of contemporary art from the three houses in New York have ballooned from $432 million to $955 million in just two years.

Blue-chip artworks including Ab-Ex, Pop, Minimalism, the European avant garde of the 60s, painting from the 80s, photographic art that challenges notions of truth-telling, and the latest from Japan, India and China are all seen as providing both a tangible (investment-friendly) and intangible (experiential) asset allocation that seem immune to any economic woes thus far.

High-brow exclusivity, access to creativity, and the proximity to fame through artists that have reached ‘rock-star’ status are all stoking the credibility that comes with the acquisition of the fastest growing, most sought-after status symbol — Post-War and Contemporary Art.

Feeding the frenzy for the “best of the best” are the 14 stars of this season’s eight-figure club: Bacon, Basquiat, Freud, Klein, de Kooning, Koons, Manzoni, Murakami, Rauschenberg, Richter, Rothko, Still, Warhol and Wesselman.


TOP 25
1) FRANCIS BACON
Triptych, 1976, 1976
Oil and pastel on canvas in three parts
Each: 78 by 58 inches
Est.: $70,000,000    Realized: $86,281,000
SOTHEBY’S, “Contemporary Art Evening Auction”, N08441
May 14, 2008
Lot #33
WORLD RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION
WORLD RECORD FOR ANY WORK OF CONTEMPORARY ART AT AUCTION


2) MARK ROTHKO
No. 15, 1952
Oil on canvas
91 3/8 by 80 inches
Est.: $40,000,000   Realized: $50,441,000
CHRISTIE’S, “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”, #1997
May 13, 2008
Lot #23

3) LUCIEN FREUD
Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, 1995
Oil on canvas
59 5/8 by 86 ¼ inches
Est.: $25,000,000-$35,000,000   Realized: $33,641,000
CHRISTIE’S, “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”, #1997
May 14, 2008
Lot #37
WORLD RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION
WORLD RECORD FOR A LIVING ARTIST AT AUCTION

4) ANDY WARHOL
Double Marlon, 1966
Silkscreen ink on unprimed linen
84 by 95 ¾ inches
Est.: on request   Realized: $32,521,000
CHRISTIE’S, “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”, #1997
May 13, 2008
Lot #12

5) FRANCIS BACON
Three Studies for Self-Portrait, 1976
Oil on canvas in three parts
Each: 14 by 12 inches; Overall: 14 by 39 ¾ inches
Est.: $25,000,000- $35,000,000   Realized: $28,041,000
CHRISTIE’S, “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”, #1997
May 13, 2008
Lot #10

6) YVES KLEIN
MG 9, circa 1962
Gold leaf on panel
57 ½ by 44 7/8 inches
Est.: $6,000,000-$8,000,000   Realized: $23,561,000
SOTHEBY’S, “Contemporary Art Evening Auction”, N08441
May 14, 2008
Lot #13
WORLD RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION

7) YVES KLEIN
IKB 1, 1960
Dry pigment and synthetic resin on canvas laid down on plywood
56 ¾ by 44 7/8 inches
Est.: $5,000,000-$7,000,000   Realized: $17,401,000
SOTHEBY’S, “Contemporary Art Evening Auction”, N08441
May 14, 2008
Lot #14

2-WAY TIE
8) TAKASHI MURAKAMI
My Lonesome Cowboy, 1998
Oil, acrylic, fiberglass and iron
100 by 46 by 36 inches
From an edition of 3 plus 2 artist’s proofs
Est.: $3,000,000-$4,000,000   Realized: $15,161,000
SOTHEBY’S, “Contemporary Art Evening Auction”, N08441
May 14, 2008
Lot #9
WORLD RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION

8) GERHARD RICHTER
Abstraktes Bild (722-2), a.k.a.: Abstract Painting (722-2), 1990
Oil on canvas
78 5/8 by 70 ¾ inches
Est.: $5,000,000-$7,000,000   Realized: $15,161,000
SOTHEBY’S, “Contemporary Art Evening Auction”, N08441
May 14, 2008
Lot #23

2-WAY TIE
9) ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG
Overdrive, 1963
Oil and silkscreen ink on canvas
84 by 60 inches
Est.: $10,000,000-$15,000,000   Realized: $14,601,000
SOTHEBY’S, “Contemporary Art Evening Auction”, N08441
May 14, 2008
Lot #27
WORLD RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION
 


9) GERHARDT RICHTER
Abstraktes Bild (625), a.k.a.: Abstract Painting (625), 1987
Oil on canvas
98 3/8 by 157 ½ inches
Est.: $7,000,000-$10,000,000   Realized: $14,601,000
CHRISTIE’S, “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”, #1997
May 13, 2008
Lot #15
 


10) CLYFFORD STILL
1946 (PH-182), 1946
Oil on canvas
60 ½ by 43 ¾ inches
Est.: $8,000,000-$12,000,000   Realized: $14,041,000
CHRISTIE’S, “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”, #1997
May 13, 2008
Lot #28

11) WILLEM DE KOONING
Untitled IV, 1975
Oil on canvas
70 ¼ by 80 inches
Est.: $10,000,000-$15,000,000   Realized: $12,081,000
CHRISTIE’S, “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”, #1997
May 13, 2008
Lot #27

12) JEFF KOONS
New Hoover Convertibles, New Shelton Wet/Drys 5-Gallon, Double Decker, 1981-1986
Two Hoover convertibles, two Shelton Wet/Drys, acrylic and fluorescent lighting
99 by 41 by 28 inches
Est.: on request   Realized: $11,801,000
CHRISTIE’S, “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”, #1997
May 13, 2008
Lot #16

13) JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT
Untitled (Fallen Angel), 1981
Acrylic and oilstick on canvas
66 by 78 inches
Est.: $8,000,000-$12,000,000   Realized: $11,241,000
PHILLIPS de PURY & CO., “Part 1–Contemporary Art”, NY010208
May 15, 2008
Lot #121

14) TOM WESSELMANN
Great American Nude No. 48, 1963
Oil and collage on canvas, acrylic and collage on board, enameled radiator and assemblage (including window illuminator)
84 by 106 ¾ by 40 ½ inches
Est.: $6,000,000-$8,000,000   Realized: $10,681,000
SOTHEBY’S, “Contemporary Art Evening Auction”, N08441
May 14, 2008
Lot #50
WORLD RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION

15) PIERO MANZONI
Achrome, 1958
Kaolin on folded canvas
44 ¾ by 56 7/8 inches
Est.: $4,500,000-$6,500,000   Realized: $10,121,000
SOTHEBY’S, “Contemporary Art Evening Auction”, N08441
May 14, 2008
Lot #16
WORLD RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION

2-WAY TIE
16) JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT
Untitled (Prophet 1), 1981-1982
Acrylic, oilstick and paper collage on canvas
95 ¼ by 59 3/8 inches
Est.: $9,000,000-$12,000,000   Realized: $9,561,000
SOTHEBY’S, “Contemporary Art Evening Auction”, N08441
May 14, 2008
Lot #56

16) ANDY WARHOL
Detail of the Last Supper (Christ 112 Times) Yellow, 1986
Acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas
80 by 421 inches
Est.: $10,000,000-$15,000,000   Realized: $9,561,000
SOTHEBY’S, “Contemporary Art Evening Auction”, N08441
May 14, 2008
Lot #53

17) JEFF KOONS
Naked, 1988
Porcelain
Ed.: ‘1/3’ plus one artist’s proof
45 ½ by 27 by 27 inches
Est.: $1,500,000-$2,000,000   Realized: $9,001,000
SOTHEBY’S, “Contemporary Art Evening Auction”, N08441
May 14, 2008
Lot #5

18) ROY LICHTENSTEIN
Reflections On The Prom, 1990
Oil and magna on canvas
74 by 90 inches
Est.: $3,000,000-$5,000,000   Realized: $8,777,000
CHRISTIE’S, “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”, #1997
May 13, 2008
Lot #40

19) JEFF KOONS
Self-Portrait, 1991
Marble
From an edition of 3 plus 1 artist’s proof
37 ½ by 20 ½ by 14 ½ inches
Est.: $6,000,000-$8,000,000   Realized: $7,545,000
PHILLIPS de PURY & CO., “Part 1-Contemporary Art”, NY010208
May 15, 2008
Lot #111

20) RICHARD PRINCE
Man-Crazy Nurse #2, 2002
Ink-jet print and acrylic on canvas
78 by 58 inches
Est.: $6,000,000-$8,000,000   Realized: $7,433,000
CHRISTIE’S, “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”, #1997
May 13, 2008
Lot #13
WORLD RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION

21) ANDY WARHOL
Campbell’s Soup Can (Pepper Pot), 1962
Casein and graphite on linen
20 by 16 inches
Est., $6,000,000-$8,000,000   Realized: $7,097,000
CHRISTIE’S, “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”, #1997
May 13, 2008
Lot #33

22) ROY LICHTENSTEIN
Sailboats, 1975
Oil and magna on canvas
60 by 74 inches
Est., $6,000,000-$8,000,000   Realized: $7,041,000
SOTHEBY’S, “Contemporary Art Evening Auction”, N08441
May 14, 2008
Lot #48

23) TOM WESSELMAN
Smoker #9, 1973
Oil and liquitex gesso on linen
83 by 89 ½ inches
Est., $4,000,000-$6,000,000   Realized: $6,761,000
CHRISTIE’S, “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”, #1997
May 13, 2008
Lot #11
WORLD RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION

24) ADOLPH GOTTLIEB
Cool Blast, 1960
Oil on canvas
90 by 70 inches
Est., $2,000,000-$3,000,000   Realized: $6,537,000
CHRISTIE’S, “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”, #1997
May 13, 2008
Lot #22
WORLD RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION

25) ANDY WARHOL
Shadow Painting. 1978
Synthetic polymer, metallic paint and silkscreen ink on canvas
76 ¾ by 161 3/8 inches
Est.: $5,500,000-$6,500,000   Realized: $6,201,000
CHRISTIE’S, “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”, #1997
May 13, 2008
Lot #32

HAMMER PRICE and the BUYER’S PREMIUM: For lots that are sold, the last price for a lot as announced by the auctioneer is the hammer price. Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips de Pury & Co. charge a premium to the buyer on the final bid price of each lot sold. The buyer’s premium is 25% of the hammer price up to and including $20,000, 20% of any amount in excess of $20,000 up to and including $500,000, and 12% of any amount in excess of $500,000. Prices in the “Top 25” list above include the buyer premium. In addition, the buyer shall pay all applicable sales, use, excise and other taxes, whether federal, state or local. Estimates do not reflect the buyer’s premium or VAT.
 


Last 8 Seasons in N.Y.
Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips de Pury & Co. [totals reflect both evening & day sales of the Post-War & Contemporary sales]


2008 SPRING / $954,712,125
CHRISTIE’S $414,011,950 SOTHEBY’S $469,807,775 PHILLIPS de PURY & CO. $70,892,400

2007 FALL / $895,673,750
CHRISTIE’S $418,078,650 SOTHEBY’S $418,317,000 PHILLIPS de PURY & CO. $59,278,100

2007 SPRING / $870,609,080
CHRISTIE’S $477,751,600 SOTHEBY’S $344,572,000 PHILLIPS de PURY & CO. $48,285,480

2006 FALL / $536,613,180
CHRISTIE’S $315,994,000 SOTHEBY’S $179,424,000 PHILLIPS de PURY & CO. $41,195,180

2006 SPRING / $432,080,560
CHRISTIE’S $205,784,440 SOTHEBY’S $185,100,200 PHILLIPS de PURY & CO. $41,195,920

2005 FALL / $396,037,040
CHRISTIE’S $212,091,200 SOTHEBY’S $141,597,000 PHILLIPS de PURY & CO. $42,348,840

2005 SPRING / $300,187,160
CHRISTIE’S $170,955,400 SOTHEBY’S $94,024,400 PHILLIPS de PURY & CO. $35,207,360

2004 FALL / $278,199,100
CHRISTIE’S $124,728,240 SOTHEBY’S $121,063,100 PHILLIPS de
PURY & CO. $32,407,760

*includes evening and day sales


Top 10 Artists at the 2008 N.Y. Spring Sales [incl. buyer’s premium]

1) Francis Bacon: $118,843,000 / 3 lots offered / 3 lots sold /average per lot: $39,614,333

2) Andy Warhol: $111,648,050 / 79 lots offered / 56 lots sold / average per lot: $1,993,715

3) Mark Rothko: $50,515,000 / 4 lots offered / 3 lots sold / average per lot: $16,838,333

4) Yves Klein: $46,832,000 / 9 lots offered / 8 lots sold / average per lot: $5,854,000

5) Gerhard Richter: $44,628,750 / 9 lots offered / 9 lots sold / average per lot: $4,958,750

6) Jeff Koons: $41,544,000 / 8 lots offered / 8 lots sold / average per lot: $5,193,000

7) Lucian Freud: $33,641,000 / 1 lot offered / 1 lot sold / average per lot: $33,641,000

8) Jean-Michel Basquiat: $30,885,200 / 14 lots offered / 12 lots sold / average per lot: $2,573,767

9) Richard Prince: $23,312,200 / 23 lots offered / 21 lots sold / average per lot: $1,110,105

10) Robert Raushenberg: $19,605,000 / 8 lots offered / 7 lots sold / average per lot: $2,800,714


Breakdown of Spring ‘08
Post-War & Contemporary Art By Decade It was Executed
[Evening sales only]


2000s: Christie’s 6   /  Sotheby’s 11  /  Phillips 29
1990s: Christie’s 8   /  Sotheby’s 7     /  Phillips 22
1980s: Christie’s 16  /  Sotheby’s 15  /  Phillips 11
1970s: Christie’s 6   /  Sotheby’s 9     /  Phillips 0
1960s: Christie’s 12  /  Sotheby’s 37  /  Phillips 2
1950s: Christie’s 4   /  Sotheby’s 3     /  Phillips 0
1940s: Christie’s 5   /  Sotheby’s 1     /  Phillips 0
              57
lots offered     83 lots offered       64 lots offered

 

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