RICHARD PRINCE
Untitled (Upstate), 2007
Bronze
Table: 82 1/2 by 58 1/4 by 28 1/2 inches
Hoop: 142 by 48 by 31 inches

This work is number two from an edition of three plus two artist proofs.
Est.: $1,000,000-$1,500,000
Realized: $1,082,500
CHRISTIE'S, N.Y., "Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale", 2167
May 13, 2009
Lot #46

Illustration: CHRISTIE"S IMAGES LTD., 2009

Too Precious for a Recession: The Spring 2009 Post-War & Contemporary Art Auctions in New York
By Brian Appel

 

A year ago, when experienced dealers and collectors felt contemporary art prices had reached a level that many considered unsustainable, the art market still seemed invincible to the growing malaise in the financial and housing sectors. 

 

On the 14th of May 2008, at Sotheby’s, a Francis Bacon triptych realized a whopping $86.3 million setting a new world record for the most expensive work of contemporary art at auction. The following evening, at Christie’s, a Lucien Freud portrait commanded $33.6 million toppling the previous world record at auction as the most expensive artwork for a living artist.

 

Last spring saw seventeen works reach above the $10 million level pushing the city’s total from all three auction houses to what would become the New York contemporary art market peak of $955 million in sales. 

 

That was before the Lehman Brothers collapse on September 15th, 2008, arguably the worst financial news since the crash of 1929.  Eerily enough, it was the same day the art market bubble reached its London climax where the first session of Damien Hirst’s “Beautiful Inside My Head Forever” auction raised $127.2 million. 

 

Less than two months later, against a backdrop of reeling financial markets and nervous investors, the evening and day sales of post-war and contemporary art at New York’s top three sank with a thud to $331 million.

 

The cratering economy continues to impact the dramatic post-war and contemporary art auction downshift. 

 

This spring’s combined New York total—not seen since 2004—bottomed at $213 million. 

 

Eli Broad, the billionaire property developer and major player in the art market --his foundation owns about 1,900 contemporary works-- put it succinctly when I bumped into him at the Sotheby’s pre-sale exhibition in May and queried him about why the market had flattened so profoundly since last spring:

 

“Young collectors with money, hedge fund managers and the newly rich from Russia, the Mid-East and China who were buying for investment have disappeared.  Buying art for passion, the learning experience and addiction has returned to the market”.      

 

 

Sotheby’s

Even with a tight, “priced to sell” selection of works that attempted to satisfy the hunger for art that would hold their value—brand name artists with a wide collecting base—bidding was thin.  Only fourteen lots out of the 39 that sold reached beyond $1 million. 

 

Attracting high quality consignments was challenging at best.  Collectors, for the most part, didn’t want to part with a prized painting, drawing or sculpture unless they had to.

 

Compared to the record-shattering $362 million that was raised in the same period last spring, the house was only able to generate a disappointing $47 million, five million dollars below their low estimate.

 

JEFF KOONS
BAROQUE EGG WITH BOW (TURQUOISE/MAGENTA), 1994-2008
83 1/2 by 77 1/2 by 60 inches
this is one of four versions each uniquely colored
Est. $6/8 million
Sold for $5,458,500
Sotheby's, "Contemporary Art Evening Auction", N08550
May 12, 2009
Lot #9

Illustration: SOTHEBY'S IMAGES LTD., 2009

 

Jeff Koons’ “Baroque Egg with Bow (Turquoise/Magenta)”, (1994-2008), a monumental high-chromium stainless steel sculpture from his “Celebration” series, was the evening’s top lot. 

 

Part of an ambitious body of sixteen paintings and twenty sculptures that focus on toys, presents and other small childhood objects born of Koons’ enduring preoccupation with childhood experiences and child-like consciousness, the sculpture teases the senses through scale and the “undulating waves of color” from the crinkles of the turquoise foil wrapping and the glints of light reflecting off the magenta bow of the egg.    

 

Fourteen years from concept to execution, and produced in five uniquely colored versions, it explores the “readymade” transformed into “high art”.   

 

Larry Gagosian, the artist’s uber-rich dealer, had featured the seven foot high egg last fall in “For What You Are About to Receive,” an exhibition curated by Victoria Gelfand, a director of Gagosian London and Sam Orlofsky of Gagosian New York.  Held at the Red October Chocolate Factory in Moscow, the powerhouse show featured Picasso, Giacometti, Pollock, de Kooning, Bacon, Fontana and a gaggle of mid-career artists like Richard Prince, Robert Ryman, Chris Wool and Mike Kelley. 

 

The egg’s reported $20 million asking price was unsuccessful in wooing an ultra-high net worth buyer. 

 

Gagosian ended up acquiring it Tuesday night in what Tobias Meyer, the worldwide director of Sotheby’s contemporary art department and the evening’s auctioneer, described as “a recalibrated market”. 

 

With buyer’s premium, the evening’s “star” lot reached $5.5 million, a financial universe away from the easy credit-boom years in November of 2007, when “Hanging Heart (Magenta Gold)”—also from the “Celebration” series—was purchased by Victor Pinchuk, the billionaire Russian oligarch.  At the time, it set the bar for the most expensive artwork sold by a living artist commanding $23.5 million. 

 

Despite having to lower his expectations $1.2 million below the published low pre-sale estimate, Daniel S. Loeb, the hedge fund manager and consignor of “Baroque Egg with Bow (Turquoise/Magenta)”—whose compensation in 2007 was $270 million—still made a good chunk of change. 

 

With a reported $5.7 billion in funds, the founder of Third Point LLC, was said to have purchased the sculpture five years earlier from Mr. Gagosian for an estimated $3 million. 

 

Martin Kippenberger
Untitled, 1988
Oil on canvas
94 1/2 by 78 3/4 inches
Est. $3.5/4.5 million
Sold for $4,114,500
Sotheby's, "Contemporary Art Evening Auction, N08550
May 12, 2009
Lot #7

Illustration: SOTHEBY'S IMAGES LTD., 2009
*WORLD RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION

 

Iwan Wirth, a Swiss contemporary art dealer and gallery owner, and one of the most powerful players in contemporary art, set a new record price for the Martin Kippenberger oil on canvas cover lot of the house’s evening sale. 

 

Dakis Joannou, a Greek industrialist and a leading collector of contemporary art in Europe, was the seller.  The painting realized $4.1 million with buyer’s premium, $100,000 over the low estimate.

 

One of only two lots that had a guaranteed minimum price for the consignor prior to the auction, “Untitled”, (1988), a self-portrait of the artist in the role of painter in his high-rising white underwear makes a sly reference to the famous photograph taken by David Douglas Duncan of a virile Picasso in his underwear. 

 

Kippenberger had painted himself as an aging-badly artist whose failure to achieve the “triumph” of painting became his apparent subject.  Tacitly exaggerating his own feigned incompetence, the artist ‘floats’ upward under the influence of two “mobile testicular balloons” that allude arguably to the buoyant art market of the 1980s. 

 

The artist’s sinking belly and hiked up genitals is in self-mocking contrast to his hero Picasso, whose macho image went hand in hand with the enormous impact—some would say the number one influence—on 20th century culture.

 

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT
Red Man One, 1982
Acrylic oilstick and paper collage lais down on canvas and mounted on wood
76 by 47 3/4 inches
Est. $4/6 million
Sold for $3,554,500
Sotheby's, "Contemporary Art Evening Auction, N08550
May 12, 2009
Lot 23

Illustration: SOTHEBY'S IMAGES LTD., 2009

 

“Red Man One” from 1982, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s forceful acrylic, oilstick and paper collage painting landed in at $3.6 million, slightly less than midway between its pre-sale low/high estimates of $3 million to $5 million. 

 

A synthesis of the artist’s interests, most notably in Robert Rauschenberg’s “Combines” but also in the diverse range of artists from Pablo Picasso to Jackson Pollock and Dubuffet, ancient to modern graffiti art, black history, racism and death, Basquiat’s painting reveals a direct engagement with the analogues of art and life as experienced through his “autobiographical struggle for identity”. 

 

With his trademark crown, raw childlike graffiti, skull-like features, ring of thorns around the head, and an articulated skeletal form derived from the artist’s interest in Leonardo da Vinci’s anatomical drawings, the work vibrates with an intellectual vigor and chaotic beauty of the life he lived. 

 

Painted on a canvas that is hand stretched onto a rudimentary stretcher made by hand from found materials, the work makes a defiant comment to many of his colleagues who were using pristine, expensive canvases and stretchers in their work. 

 

With the painting’s missing upper right corner of the rectangular composition and a stretcher bar that extends beyond the work in the lower left, The marquee artist’s interest in sculptural elements in combination with his signature frenetic style, contribute to the grand bravado of the work and its radical innovations on the contemporary portrait.

 

ALEXANDER CALDER
Ebony Sticks in Semi-Circle, 1934
Wood, steel and string standing mobile
54 1/2 by 44 by 27 inches
Est.: $1,000,000-$1,500,000
Realized: $3,498,500
SOTHEBY's, N.Y., "Contemporary Art Evening Sale", N08550
May 12, 2009
Lot #15

Illustration: SOTHEBY'S IMAGES LTD., 2009
 

Renowned for the invention of the mobile, Alexander Calder’s global brand has been among the few to command strong prices after the collapse of the credit markets and the recession. 

 

One of only two lots to hammer at double the high pre-sale estimate at the house—the other was “Untitled (Blow Me)”, an oil on canvas of an extinguished candle executed by a twenty-six year old Dan Colen in 2005—the wood, steel and string standing mobile incited the most prolonged bidding war of the evening. 

 

Five bidders went after it including Eli Broad who was the under-bidder.  “Ebony Sticks in Semi-Circle”, (1934), held in a private collection since 1960, was the fourth highest lot of the evening hitting $4.5 million.

 

CHRISTOPHER WOOL
Untitled (P105), 1989
Alkyd and acrylic on aluminum
95 1/4 by 63 1/2 inches
Est.: $1,500,000-$2,000,000
Realized: $1,874,500
SOTHEBY'S, N.Y., "Contemporary Art Evening Sale", N08550
May 12, 2009
Lot #3

Illustration: SOTHEBY'S IMAGES LTD., 2009
*WORLD RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION

 

Dakis Joannou, the seller of the Kippenberger cover lot, was also the consignor of Christopher Wool’s “Untitled (P105)” from 1989—the only other house-guaranteed work in the sale,

 

Mr. Wool, born in 1955, is best known for black-and-white paintings from the 1990s in which large block letters spell gnomic, vaguely aggressive words and phrases like “Fool,” “Bad Dog” and most famously, “Sell the Car Sell the Kids.” 

 

One of the more optically alive painters out there, Wool is at his best when using his arsenal of pictorial devices to signal basic tensions between the painted and silkscreened, the handmade and the mechanical mark. 

 

His punchy, postmodernist fusion of black comedy and concrete poetry is mesmerically realized in this early 1989 alkyd and acrylic on aluminum painting with the word COMEDIAN spelled out in three lines—all upper case—one on top of the other: “COM”, “EDI”, “AN”.  Wool’s confrontational but restrained, personal/impersonal psycho-drama word painting sold for in the middle of its pre-sale estimate for $1.9 million—a record for the artist at auction.

 

RICHARD PRINCE
Can You Imagine, 1989
Acrylic and silkscreen on canvas
75 by 58 inches
Est.: $600,000-$800,000
Realized: $1,370,500
SOTHEBY'S, N.Y., "Contemporary Art Evening Auction", N08550
May 12, 2009
Lot #35

Illustration: SOTHEBY'S IMAGES LTD., 2009

 

Speaking of word dramas, Richard Prince, the man best known for his sophisticated critiques of the insidious myths of middle-American, blue-collar consumer culture had two of his classic Borscht Belt Joke paintings in the Sotheby’s evening line-up. 

 

Reflecting on the heady blend of sexual identity, fantasy and frustration that is the cornerstone of the psychological under-pinning of 1950s, low-brow stand-up one-liners, Prince’s Joke paintings seem to locate each and every one of society’s taboos and systematically transgress them one by one.

 

“Can You Imagine”, the earlier of the two works, fuses a flat, more conceptually Catholic, understated style of text—a canary yellow silkscreen—onto a cool, monochromatic sea-blue ground of acrylic paint. 

 

RICHARD PRINCE
My Girlfriend, 2005
Acrylic and paper collage on canvas in two joined panels
92 by 72 inches
Est.: $600,000-$800,000
Realized: $662,500
SOTHEBY'S, N.Y., "Contemporary Art Evening Auction", N08550
May 12, 2009
Lot #44

Illustration: SOTHEBY'S IMAGES LTD., 2009

 

Compared to the nervy, chromatic ecstasies of the 2005 “My Girlfriend”, with its paper collaged, hand-made letters and eerily obfuscated background reminiscent of Jasper Johns’s flags, targets, numbers and maps, the more cerebral, minimal painting of “Can You Imagine” is a tour de force within Prince’s oeuvre and could be said to reference the color field paintings of the greats like Barnett Newman, Ad Reinhardt and early Frank Stella. 

 

With a pre-sale estimate of $600K-$800K, the rarer, “Can You Imagine” from 1989, soared to $1.4 million.  The later, more gestural and color-charged work from 2005 realized $662K.

 

Christie’s

In auction house parlance, “well-timed” deaths have always been an important formula in attracting sought-after works to the block. 

 

London-based Christie’s, owned by the French billionaire Francois Pinault, faired better than the publicly traded Sotheby’s this time out partially because early on they were able to secure nineteen lots for their evening sale from the storied collection of Betty Freeman, a leading patron of contemporary music and an early supporter of Sam Francis, Clyfford Still and Dan Flavin. 

 

The estate’s impressive property also acted as a magnetic sales tool in attracting other consignors to the sale.

 

With pre-sale estimates of $23 million to $37 million, the Freeman collection alone generated $31.6 million in sales buoying the night’s total to $93 million.  Thirty out of the 49 lots that sold reached the $1 million mark—twice that of Sotheby’s—and more than 90% of the 54 lots offered during the Christie’s sale found buyers. 

 

Like Sotheby’s however, the evening’s figures paled when compared to last spring’s mammoth total of $348 million.

DAVID HOCKNEY
Beverly Hills Housewife, 1966-1967
Diptych--acrylic on canvas
72 by 144 inches
Est.: $6,000,000-$10,000,000
Realized: $7,922,500
CHRISTIE'S, N.Y., "Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale", #2167
May 13, 2009
Lot #14

Illustration: CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD., 2009

*WORLD RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION

 

“Beverly Hills Housewife”, from 1966-1967—David Hockney’s portrait of Ms. Freeman standing in the patio of her well-appointed, modernist mansion—secured the number one lot at the evening sale at Christie’s. 

 

The artist’s homage to this luminary of the Los Angeles cultural landscape also won the top spot of the entire spring contemporary art season, bringing in a cool $7.9 million.

 

Described by the house as a “perfect timeless tribute to the philanthropist”, it is also a potent realization of the artist’s preoccupation with the rarified west coast lifestyle that he had found in magazines and the movies and in the gay novels of John Rechy.

 

The six foot high by twelve foot wide acrylic diptych explored not only the dazzling light and affluent existence of the Freeman’s sun-drenched Californian home, it also served as a template for Hockney’s increasing obsession with the flatness of the picture plane and of his allied fascination with the uninflected, anonymous surface of the photograph. 

 

Photography for Hockney was a way to work outside the canons of European art and pioneer a new way of depicting subject matter. 

 

Hockney proclaimed the greater “reality” of the camera and tried to create a new vocabulary for art by reducing the sense of artistic intrusion to a minimum.  He attacked the falsity of surfaces and applauded looking at the world with the aid of science and technology and he tried to recreate the look of photography in his paintings.

 

“Beverly Hills Housewife” became a painting about the facts of daily life as if by themselves they stated some enormous truth. 

 

The trimming away of inessentials turned out to be the perfect metaphor for the ‘new’ conservative times in the marketplace and the painting—executed when the artist was only 29 years old—shattered his previous record of $5.4 million set back in June of 2006 at Sotheby’s in London.

RICHARD DIEBENKORN
Ocean Park No. 117, 1979
Oil, graphite and charcoal on canvas
45 by 45 inches
Est.: $4,000,000-$6,000,000
Realized: $6,578,500
CHRISTIE'S, N.Y., "Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale", #2167
May 13, 2009
Lot #29

Illustration: CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD., 2009

 

”Ocean Park No. 117”, a three ¾ foot by three ¾ foot abstract Richard Diebenkorn oil, graphite and charcoal on canvas from 1979 secured the number two spot in the house’s top ten at $6.6 million, making it a fine foil to the ‘photographic’ portrayal of the perfect American idyll in Hockney’s west coast composition.

 

A hyper-perfect example of the body of work which the artist produced between the years 1967 and 1987 entitled “Ocean Park”, Diebenkorn’s simple yet shimmering arrangement of yellows and blues punctuated by a palette of contrasting pinks and greens and orange coalesce in elegant bands of color to create the artist’s trademark “mysterious transparencies” that make up the unique pictorial language that secured Diebenkorn’s status as a key figure in Twentieth Century art.

 

Tipping a hat to Cezanne’s collapse and juxtaposition of foreground and background, Matisse’s chromatic brilliance and organization of space within geographic scaffolds, and Mondrian’s relentlessly logical geometric reduction, “Ocean Park No. 117” represents a consolidation of these achievements and more.

 

Classic, safe and blue-chip, the painting hammered near the high end of its pre-sale estimate, nearly toppling the artist’s record of $6.8 million set by Christie’s in the spring of 2007.

ROY LICHTENSTEIN
Frolic, 1977
Oil and magna on canvas
80 1/8 by 66 1/8 inches
Est.: $4,000,000-$6,000,000
Realized: $6,018,500
CHRISTIE'S, N.Y., "Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale", #2167
May 13, 2009
Lot #6

Illustration: CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD., 2009

 

It was a big night for Roy Lichtenstein.  All three of his oil and magna on canvas paintings sold for a combined total of $9.7 million. 

 

“Frolic”, a Pop Art homage to both Picasso’s 1932 painting “Bather With Beach Ball” and his own work from 1961 entitled “Girl With Ball”, the painting is a playful rampage through the history of art.  

 

Sold in the middle of its estimate for $6 million, the six ½ foot by five ½ foot work depicting a blonde woman dancing across the beach employs references to the Surrealist Hans Arp—the second figure recalls the artist’s biomorphic abstractions—and points an ironic finger to the comics by cleverly placing an anchor in the background.  Popeye is recalled as much as the beach.

 

The cover lot on Christie’s catalog, Freeman’s “Frolic”, is the perfect cross-germination of Lichtenstein’s own idiosyncratic style of hand painting made to mimic the appearance of print. 

With a playful conceptual twist, the oil and magna on canvas reduces all the elements in the painting to the level of cliché. 

 

Lichtenstein is at the top of his game here disassembling the way we see, manipulating the viewer’s reactions, and commenting on the way that artists communicate.

 

Larry Gagosian’s paddle was seen picking up the painting, beating out two other bidders on the phone.

PETER DOIG
Night Fishing, 1993
Oil on canvas
79 by 98 1/4 inches
Est.: $3,000,000-$4,000,000
Realized: $4,674,500
CHRISTIE'S, N.Y., "Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale", #2167
May 13, 2009
Lot #27

Illustration: CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD., 2009
 

Since his retrospective at Tate Britain in London last summer, Peter Doig’s mysterious and other-worldly oil on canvas works have gained in popularity.  The depiction of a lone fishing boat at dusk is arguably the most celebrated theme in the artist’s oeuvre. 

 

Cast against a vast expanse of water and framed by a curiously depth-less vision of a mountainous silhouette, the large-scale “Night Fishing” from 1993 is a figurative reality pushed to the brink of abstraction. 

 

Critics have suggested that the artist’s densely-detailed work combines the influences of the great Impressionist masters, most particularly Monet, with the abstract painterly processes of Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock.

 

Both in its subject matter and execution, “Night Fishing” can also be seen in the vein of the great German Romantic painters of the 19th century, such as Caspar David Friedrich.

 

One of fourteen lots that found buyers that exceeded its pre-sale high estimate, the six ½ foot by eight ¼ foot oil sold to Victoria Gelfand from the Gagosian Gallery for $4.7 million.

ANDY WARHOL
The Last Supper (Camel/57), 1986
Synthetic polymer and silkscreen ink on canvas
118 by 348 inches
Est.: $4,000,000-$6,000,000
Realized: $4,002,500
CHRISTIE'S, N.Y., "Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale", #2167
May 13, 2009
Lot #44

Illustration: CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD., 2009

 

Despite the steep contraction in some segments of the contemporary art market, Andy Warhol is still bubbling.  The artist was the top performer at the New York spring auctions. 

 

Warhol’s one/two punch—interest in the shallowness and apparent objectivity of the photographic image and his infatuation in the power of the media to manipulate emotion—has made him the undisputed giant of post-war art.

 

It is a strange coincidence that Alexander Iolas, —who was an early champion of Warhol’s work having arranged his first solo exhibition—commissioned what turned out to be among the artist’s final works of art. 

 

The “Last Supper” paintings—executed just months before he died on Feb. 24th, 1987 of a botched routine gall bladder operation—were painted over a period of one year using a cheap, common, reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper” as the study for his paintings.  He also bought a tacky, three-dimensional version for inspiration. 

 

Andy created a whole group of hand-painted “Last Supper” paintings and various details.  To work on these large hand-painted canvases—he also made silkscreen versions both large and small—he would staple the canvas on the wall on the top floor of his East 33rd Street studio and then climb up a ladder to paint with the use of a projector.   

 

“The Last Supper (Camel/57)” is at once religious and sacrilegious, reverent and brazenly commercial.  The presence of the number 57 and an image of a camel logo on the surface presents the viewer with a colossal enigma.  Might the work be an attack on organized religion, or is it the practicing worshipper Warhol—who attended church on a regular basis—breathing new life into contemporary religious painting?

 

This monumental picture—almost ten foot high by thirty foot long—is executed on an industrial scale, with an industrial look, and yet, has a painting technique that paradoxically reveals the traces of brushwork, of the artist’s touch.

 

Despite its enormous size, the painting sold to an anonymous buyer for $4 million—a bargain at $½ million below the low pre-sale minimum estimate.

RICHARD PRINCE
Untitled (Upstate), 2007
Bronze
Table: 82 1/2 by 58 1/4 by 28 1/2 inches
Hoop: 142 by 48 by 31 inches
Est.: $1,000,000-$1,500,000
Realized: $1,082,500
CHRISTIE'S, N.Y., "Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale", 2167
May 13, 2009
Lot #46

Illustration: CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD., 2009

 

Changing course from his infamous pictures of pictures where the artist re-photographs found advertising images from magazines, Richard Prince—the ultimate image cannibal—appropriated his own 1995-1999 photographic series into an incongruous, surreal bronze sculpture.

 

The original photographic series “Untitled (Upstate)”, from which the sculpture is co-opted, documents and re-contextualizes the downscale markers of social class and suburban existence that seems to now dominate American cultural life around Prince’s house in upstate New York. 

 

These identity markings of a once economically optimistic middle America—rickety basketball hoops in driveways, inexpensive out-of-ground swimming pools, strippers with jeans and tattoos, and garages sitting in overgrown fields—now move from the bottom rung of a cultural class system that places theme parks and tabloid TV above big-ticket cultural forms like opera and serious theatre from the periphery of upscale consciousness to the rarefied domain of the art gallery.

 

A lone basketball pole with hoop and a ‘distressed’ picnic table are magically ‘fused together’ in an incongruous pairing that looks at once both comedic and forlorn. 

 

The pairing appears impractical—flying balls would damage the food and make sitting on the benches of the picnic table hazardous—but on an allegorical level, “Untitled (Upstate)” is a precisely calculated intellectual endeavor holding us in thrall of its theatrics of transgression. 

 

Might this not be a form of political theatre in which a huge phallus (the basketball ‘pole’) penetrates a picnic table (a focal point in the back yard often with a ‘hole’ in the middle to hold an umbrella) symbolically providing a home for the pleasures of ‘low culture’ sex but also acting as a form of rebellion, with its dedication to crossing boundaries and violating social strictures? 

 

Conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty or good morals is elevated from the nadir of the social structure to the “top” where serious critical interpretation is taken for granted.

 

The very concept of “bad taste” takes a hard right turn.  With Richard Prince, upward aspirations now look like so much nostalgia for earlier times. 

 

Phillips de Pury & Co.

The already beleaguered, much-diminished Phillips de Pury & Co. (now owned by the Russian luxury distributor Mercury) has little capital and clout to win big contemporary art estates away from the duopoly of Sotheby’s and Christie’s, and they struggled this season with an evening tally of $7.7 million, far below its $12 million low estimate. 

 

Last May saw the boutique house navigate a different planet—the urbane Simon de Pury & Co. enjoyed a vigorous $59 million in sales. 

 

This season took its toll.  Only thirty-one of the evening’s 43 works found buyers for a 72 percent by lot sell through, and the twelve lots that were passed, including what was to be the evening’s star lot—Robert Gober’s six-foot-eight-inch tall version of a Farina Hot Wheat Cereal box—fell by the wayside.  Percentage sold by value was a disappointing 57%.

PHILIP GUSTON
Anxiety, 1975
Oil on canvas
57 1/2 by 80 1/4 inches
Est.: $1,000,000-$1,500,000
Realized: $1,082,500
Phillips de Pury & Co., "Contemporary Art Part 1",
NY010209
May 14, 2009
lot #22

Illustration: PHILLIPS de PURY & CO. IMAGES LTD., 2009

 

The evening’s top seller at $1.1 million was Philip Guston’s oil on canvas of a telephone and an egg sandwich.  Entitled “Anxiety” from 1975, the five foot by six ½ foot oil on canvas represents potent symbols for the artist that take on a self-portrait quality.

 

Developed when he was an acclaimed star of the Abstract-Expressionists alongside Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko, and before transitioning into a figurative artist, Guston’s famed creamy brushstroke did not disappoint. 

 

Like thick butter applied to a hard surface with each stroke subtly squeezed out at its edges, Guston’s paintings create a “micro-sculptural” effect to the eye setting off an ocean of feelings from the viewer that don’t ever come in the same configuration.

 

The painting undertakes a journey that is as much metaphysical as literal—a trip in more than one sense.

CECILY BROWN
Suddenly Last Summer, 1999
Oil in linen
100 by 110 1/4 inches
Est.: $600,000-$800,000
Realized: $662,500
Phillips de Pury & Co., Contemporary Art Part 1,
NY010209
May 14, 2009
Lot #24

Illustration: PHILLIPS de PURY & CO. IMAGES LTD., 2009

 

Like Guston’s “Anxiety”, Cecily Brown’s “Suddenly Last Summer”, from 1999, works at the hallucinatory edge between figural representation and gestural abstraction. 

 

Odd little totems and fetishes swirl and embed themselves in this flickering, strikingly painterly work.  Suffusing her marks with associative suggestivity, Brown translates the oil on linen work onto a sprawling, titillating landscape of flesh literally oozing sex. 

 

An unabashedly erotic take on the Ab-Ex exploration of abstraction and figuration, Brown devours the sexual power and energy typically associated with the male-dominated movement and exaggerates it in a distinctly female arena. 

 

Two telephone bidders went after this virtual peep show of a painting, ultimately garnering $662K with premiums, $50K below the pre-sale low estimate.

MARK TANSEY
Reader, 1990
Oil on canvas
77 by 49 3/4 inches
Est.: $500,000-$700,000
Realized: $482,500
Phillips de Pury & Co., Contemporary Art Part 1,
NY010209
May 14, 2009
Lot #38

Illustration: PHILLIPS de PURY & CO. IMAGES LTD., 2009

 

Mark Tansey utilizes a flat, descriptive style and depicts primarily landscapes, naturalistic figures in arrested movement and domestic interiors. 

 

Monochromatic in palette, the paintings exude a flavor of the old-fashioned, drawing upon sepia-toned photographs, American plein-air paintings and grisaille painting of the 15th century. 

 

Tansey’s inspiration for the Phillips oil on canvas is more than likely a series of late landscape paintings of caves by the French realist painter Gustave Courbet. 

 

In “Reader”, Tansey has appropriated the subject matter from Courbet but has deliberately rendered the dark and mysterious cave inaccessible.  Essentially the artist has blocked off “the source”—the symbol of creativity and of female sexuality—by a dense layer of stenciled text by the French post-modern thinker Jacques Derrida. 

 

The philosopher, who explained the world as a totality of meanings, would have approved how the artist has cleverly overprinted and made obscure, to create the textures of the landscape. 

 

The six ½ foot by four ½ foot work netted $483K with premium, $100K below its pre-sale low minimum but enough to land third out of the top ten at the sale.

SHERRIE LEVINE
Buddha, 1996
Cast bronze
12 1/4 by 17 by 16 inches
This work is from an edition of six
Est.: $150,000-$200,000
Realized: $446,500
PHILLIPS de PURY & CO., "Contemporary Art Part 1", NY010209
May 14, 2009
Lot #9

Illustration: PHILLIPS de PURY & CO. IMAGES LTD., 2009

 

The work of Sherrie Levine is rich in art historical reference with her use of image appropriation.  By recycling imagery of another artist, Levine creates at once a work existing as an extension of familial relationships and as a fresh, new piece in itself. 

 

“Buddha” from 1996, (from an edition of six), is the artist’s homage to Marcel Duchamp’s most famous readymade, “Fountain”, a porcelain urinal he entered in an exhibition in 1917.  Levine’s take on the urinal is not a simple replica honoring Duchamp’s piece, but with its luscious shining bronze surface, it deliberately accentuates the sensual qualities that Duchamp denied in his own work. 

 

The title “Buddha”—itself a reference to the shape of a Buddha statue that the urinal resembles—was the only lot of the evening that realized more than double its high estimate. 

 

Reportedly sold by Blake Byrne, a Los Angeles collector and board member of the Museum of Contemporary Art there, the work can be interpreted as an important feminist inroad to the male canon of art history.  It generated the most excitement of the evening.  It sold for $446K.

JAMES ROSENQUIST
Untitled #1 (Neiman Marcus), 2002
Oil on linen laid on board
70 by 65 inches
Est.: $250,000-$350,000
Realized: $422,500
PHILLIPS de PURY & CO., "Contemporary Art Part 1", NY010209
May 14, 2009
Lot #20

Illustration: PHILLIPS de PURY & CO. IMAGES LTD., 2009

 

As a leader in the American Pop art movement in the early 1960s, alongside Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Claes Oldenberg, James Rosenquist drew on the iconography of advertising and the mass media to conjure a sense of contemporary life and the political tenor of the times. 

 

In “Untitled #1 (Neiman Marcus)”, 2002, from his “Speed of Light” series, the artist taps into his background of painting larger-than-life billboard signs and its rich vocabulary of commodity images to create a dynamic composition that becomes an exercise in perception, challenging the eye to take it all in.

 

Done without the aid of computers, the “Speed of Light” series takes its name from Einstein’s theory of relativity and articulates the artist’s perspective on experience and the passage of time. 

 

According to Rosenquist, one spectator sees an event differently from another spectator who is traveling at the speed of light.  The six foot by five ½ foot oil on linen, hammered at the high end of the pre-sale estimate.  Art advisor and private dealer Kim Heirston walked away with one of the gems of the spring season paying $422K with buyer’s premium.

 

Re-Cap

Price consciousness is now a priority, but the appetite for classic, exceptionally rare works from iconic artistic careers still remains strong.

 

Forecasters predict a prolonged period of weakened demand, but it is rumored that private sales activity in the back rooms of the auction houses are doing much better where, free from the embarrassment of a potential “buy-in” at the block that could damage the provenance of a work of art, sales have doubled. 

 

If there is an upside to the cratering economy it’s that art that once seemed out of reach is now more available because of changing fortunes. 

 

PLEASE NOTE: 

Thank you to www.artnet.com for extending their Price Database to track prices on some of the works of art referenced in this article.

 

RESERVES & BUY-INS:

All lots from all sales are offered subject to a ”RESERVE”, which is the confidential minimum price below which the lot will not be sold.  The reserve cannot exceed the low estimate printed in the catalogue or on-line.  If the auctioneer decides that any bid is below the reserve of the article offered, he may invent bids up to the reserve, after which he has to find a real bidder.  The auctioneer may reject the same and withdraw the article from sale if the highest bidder is below the reserve of the article offered.  The withdrawal is accompanied with the sound of the gavel and the auctioneer saying “PASS” as the hammer goes down on the article.  Passed items are also referred to as “BUY-INS”, and appear as missing lot numbers on the results page published by the house after the sale.

 

HAMMER PRICE, BUYER’S PREMIUM and ESTIMATES:

For lots that are sold, the last price for the lot as announced by the auctioneer is the “HAMMER PRICE”.  Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips de Pury & Co. charge a premium to the buyer on the final bid price on each lot sold.  The “BUYER’S PREMIUM” is 25% of the hammer price up to and including $50,000, 20% of any amount in excess of $50,000 up to and including $1,000,000, and 12% of any amount in excess of $1,000,000.  Prices in the “TOP 30” below include the buyer’s premium.  “ESTIMATES” do not reflect the buyer’s premium.  Estimates of the selling price might reflect vendors’ expectations which might be too high or reflect an auction house’s strategy to publish unrealistically low figures to attract potential buyers.  In most cases, the estimates reflect buyers’ and sellers’ expectations and/or prices realized from previously recorded transactions.  Either way, auction house published low/high estimates should not be relied upon as a statement of the price at which the item will sell or its value for any other purpose.

 

 

Top 30

Contemporary Art - Spring / New York / 2009

 

1) DAVID HOCKNEY

Beverly Hills Housewife, 1966-1967

Diptych-Acrylic on canvas

Overall: 72 by 144 inches

Est.: $6,000,000-$10,000,000

Realized: $7,922,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”; May 13, 2009

Lot #14

*WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR THE ARTIST

 

 

2) RICHARD DIEBENKORN

Ocean Park No. 117, 1979

Oil, graphite and charcoal on canvas

45 by 45 inches

Est.: $4,000,000-$6,000,000

Realized: $6,578,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”; May 13, 2009

Lot #29

 

 

3) ROY LICHTENSTEIN

Frolic, 1977

Oil and magna on canvas

80 1/8 by 66 1/8 inch

Est.: $4,000,000-$6,000,000

Realized: $6,018,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”; May 13, 2009

Lot #6

 

 

4) JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT

Mater, 1982

Acrylic and oilstick on canvas

72 by 84 inches

Est.: $5,000,000-$7,000,000

Realized: $5,850,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”; May 13, 2009

Lot #41

 

 

5) JEFF KOONS

Baroque Egg with Bow (Turquoise/Magenta), 1994-2008

High-chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating

83 ½ by 77 ½ by 60 inches

Edition: one of five versions each uniquely colored Est.: $6,000,000-$8,000,000

Realized: $5,458,500

SOTHEBY’S, N.Y., “Contemporary Art Evening Auction”; May 12, 2009

Lot #9

 

 

6) PETER DOIG

Night Fishing, 1993

Oil on canvas

79 by 98 ¼ inches

Est.: $3,000,000-$4,000,000

Realized: $4,674,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”; May 13, 2009

Lot #27

 

 

7) MARTIN KIPPENBERGER

Untitled, 1988

Oil on canvas

94 ½ by 78 ¾ inches

Est.: $3,500,000-$4,500,000

Realized: $4,114,500

SOTHEBY’S, N.Y.; “Contemporary Art Evening Auction”; May 12, 2009

Lot #7

*WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR THE ARTIST

 

 

8) ANDY WARHOL

The Last Supper (Camel/57), 1986

Synthetic polymer and silkscreen ink on canvas

118 by 348 inches

Est.: $4,000,000-$6,000,000

Realized: $4,002,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”; May 13, 2009

Lot #44

 

 

9) SAM FRANCIS

Grey, 1954

Oil on canvas

119 by 75 ¾ inches

Est.: $2,000,000-$3,000,000

Realized: $3,666,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”; May 13, 2009

Lot #12

 

 

10) WILLEM DE KOONING

Woman, 1953

Oil, charcoal, wax crayon and graphite on paper laid down on canvas

24 by 18 ¾ inches

Est.: $1,400,000-$1,800,000

Realized: $3,666,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”; May 13, 2009

Lot #31

 

 

11) JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT

Red Man One, 1982

Acrylic, oilstick, and paper collage laid down on canvas mounted on wood supports

76 by 47 ¾ inches

Est.: $3,000,000-$5,000,000

Realized: $3,554,500

SOTHEBY’S, N.Y.; “Contemporary Art Evening Auction”, May 12, 2009

Lot #23

 

 

12) ALEXANDER CALDER

Ebony Sticks in Semi-Circle, 1934

Wood, steel, and string standing mobile

54 ½ by 44 by 27 inches

Est.: $1,000,000-$1,500,000

Realized: $3,498,500

SOTHEBY’S, N.Y.; “Contemporary Art Evening Auction”; May 12, 2009

Lot #15

 

 

13) ANDY WARHOL

Gun, 1981-1982

Synthetic polymer and silkscreen ink on canvas

70 by 90 inches

Est.: $2,200,000-$2,800,000

Realized: $3,106,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”; May 13, 2009

Lot #23

 

 

14) ALEXANDER CALDER

Untitled, circa 1943

Wall relief—painted and unpainted wood and wire

28 by 16 by 11 inches

Est.: $1,200,000-$1,800,000

Realized: $2,826,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”; May 13, 2009

Lot #28

 

 

15) ANDY WARHOL

Brigitte Bardot, 1974

Synthetic polymer and silkscreen inks on canvas

47 by 47 ½ inches

Est.: $2,500,000-$3,500,000

Realized: $2,770,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale; May 13, 2009

Lot #48

 

 

16) JEFF KOONS

Beach House, 2003

Oil on canvas

102 by 138 inches

Est.: $1,500,000-$2,000,000

Realized: $2,658,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”; May 13, 2009

Lot #25

 

 

2-WAY TIE

17) PIERO MANZONI

Achrome, 1958-1959

Kaolin on canvas

39 1/3 by 29 ½ inches

Est.: $1,800,000-$2,200,000

Realized: $2,602,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”; May 13, 2009

Lot #38

 

 

17) DAVID SMITH

Large Circle (Voltri), 1962

Welded steel

50 by 12 by 9 ½ inch

Est.: $2,500,000-$3,500,000

Realized: $2,602,500

SOTHEBY’S, N.Y.; “Contemporary Art Evening Auction”, May 12, 2009

Lot #19

 

 

18) JEFF KOONS

Jim Beam—J.B. Turner Engine, 1986

Stainless steel and bourbon

17 ¼ by 6 ¾ by 11 inches

Edition: this work is an AP from an edition of three plus one AP

Est.: $700,000-$1,000,000

Realized: $2,322,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”; May 13, 2009

Lot #21

 

 

19) CLAES OLDENBURG

Typewriter Eraser, 1976

Painted aluminum, stainless steel, ferroconcrete and bronze

89 ½ by 80 by 70 inches

Edition: this work is number three from an edition of three (‘1/3’ Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, ‘2/3’ Nasher Collection)

Est.: $1,400,000-$1,800,000

Realized: $2,210,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”; May 13, 2009

Lot #10

*WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR THE ARTIST

 

 

20) ANDY WARHOL

Portrait of Man Ray, 1974

Synthetic polymer, acrylic and silkscreen inks on canvas

78 ½ by 95 ¾ inches

Est.: $2,000,000-$4,000,000

Realized: $2,098,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”; May 13, 2009

Lot #9

 

 

2-WAY TIE

21) ALEXANDER CALDER

Gypsophilia on Black Skirt, 1950

Standing mobile—painted sheet metal and wire

31 by 37 by 9 inches

Est.: $600,000-$900,000

Realized: $1,986,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”; May 13, 2009

Lot #13

 

 

21) ROY LICHTENSTEIN

Still Life with Cash Box, 1976

Oil and magna on canvas

70 1/8 by 54 1/8;

Est.: $2,000,000-$3,000,000

Realized: $1,986,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”; May 13, 2009

Lot #19

 

 

3-WAY TIE

22) JOHN BALDESSARI

Painting for Kubler, 1966-1968

Acrylic on canvas

67 7/8 by 56 ½ inches

Est.: $1,500,000-$2,000,000

Realized: $1,874,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”; May 13, 2009

Lot #22

 

 

22) ERIC FISCHL

Dog Days, 1983

Diptych—Oil on canvas

Overall: 84 by 168 inches

Est.: $800,000-$1,200,000

Realized: $1,874,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”; May 13, 2009

Lot #40

 

 

22) CHRISTOPHER WOOL

Untitled (P105), 1989

Alkyd and acrylic on aluminum

95 ¼ by 63 ½ inches

Est.: $1,500,000-$2,000,000

Realized: $1,874,500

SOTHEBY’S, N.Y.; “Contemporary Art Evening Auction”; May 12, 2009

Lot #3

*WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR THE ARTIST

 

 

23) LUCIO FONTANA

Concetto spaziale, natura, 1959-1960

Terracotta

23 ½ by 26 1/3 inches

Est.: $1,200,000-$1,800,000

Realized: $1,818,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”

May 13, 2009

Lot #37

 

 

3-WAY TIE

24) JEAN DUBUFFET

Corps de dame, la rose incarnate, 1950

Oil on canvas

46 by 35 ½ inches

Est.: $700,000-$1,000,000

Realized: $1,762,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”; May 13, 2009

Lot #36

 

 

24) GERHARD RICHTER,

Abstraktes Bild, 1984

Oil on canvas

79 by 63 1/8 inches

Est.: $1,800,000-$2,500,000

Realized: $1,762,500

SOTHEBY’S, N.Y.; “Contemporary Art Evening Auction”; May 12, 2009

Lot #29

 

 

24) ANDY WARHOL

Mona Lisa, 1979

Acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas

25 by 20 inches

Est.: $1,500,000-$2,000,000

Realized: $1,762,500

SOTHEBY’S, N.Y.; “Contemporary Art Evening Auction”; May 12, 2009

Lot #22

 

 

25) ANDY WARHOL

Camouflage, 1986

Synthetic polymer print and silkscreen on canvas

80 by 400 inches

Est.: $1,800,000-$2,500,000

Realized: $1,706,500

SOTHEBY’S, N.Y.; “Contemporary Art Evening Auction”; May 12, 2009

Lot #39

 

 

2-WAY TIE

26) ROY LICHTENSTEIN

Mirror #3, 1971

Oil and magna on canvas

60 by 48 inches

Est.: $1,800,000-$2,500,000

Realized: $1,650,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”; May 13, 2009

Lot #17

 

 

26) MARK ROTHKO

Black, Red-Brown on Violet, 1969

Acrylic on paper mounted on panel

39 by 25 ½ inches

Est.: $1,500,000-$2,000,000

Realized: $1,650,500

SOTHEBY’S, N.Y.; “Contemporary Art Evening Sale”; May 12, 2009

Lot #16

 

 

27) RICHARD PRINCE

Can You Imagine, 1989

Acrylic and silkscreen on canvas

75 by 58 inches

Est.: $600,000-$800,000

Realized: $1,370,500

SOTHEBY’S, N.Y.; “Contemporary Art Evening Auction”; May 12, 2009

Lot #35

 

 

2-WAY TIE

28) AGNES MARTIN

Love and Goodness, 2000

Acrylic and graphite on canvas

60 by 60 inches

Est.: $1,000,000-$1,500,000

Realized: $1,314,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”; May 13, 2009

Lot #39

 

 

28) GERHARD RICHTER

Mirror Painting (Blood Red), 1991

Pigment on glass

82 5/8 by 68 7/8 inches

Est.: $600,000-$800,000

Realized: $1,314,500

SOTHEBY’S, N.Y.; “Contemporary Art Evening Auction”; May 12, 2009

Lot #25

 

 

4-WAY TIE

29) CECILY BROWN

Girls Eating Birds, 2004

Oil on canvas in three parts

Overall: 77 by 165 inches; Each: 77 by 55 inches

Est.: $700,000-$900,000

Realized: $1,202,500

SOTHEBY’S, N.Y.; “Contemporary Art Evening Auction”; May 12, 2009

Lot #47

 

 

29) HANS HOFMANN

Wild Vine, 1961

Oil on canvas

72 by 60 inches

Est.: $600,000-$800,000

Realized: $1,202,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”; May 13, 2009

Lot #30

 

 

29) JOAN MITCHELL

Untitled, 1960

Oil on canvas

49 ¾ by 43 inches

Est.: $1,200,000-$1,800,000

Realized: $1,202,500

SOTHEBY’S, N.Y.; “Contemporary Art Evening Auction”; May 12, 2009

Lot #17.

 

 

29) WAYNE THIEBAUD

Lipsticks, 1964

Oil on canvas

12 by 9 inches

Est.: $800,000-$1,200,000

Realized: $1,202,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”, May 13, 2009

Lot #26

 

 

2-WAY TIE

30) ALEXANDER CALDER

Seven Black on Black, 1956

Standing mobile—painted sheet metal and wire

37 ½ by 55 by 14 inches

Est.: $400,000-$600,000

Realized: $1,142,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale”, May 13, 2009

Lot #35

 

 

30) ANDY WARHOL

Four Marilyns (Reversal Series), 1986

Synthetic polymer and silkscreen ink on canvas

36 by 28 1/8 inches

Est.: $600,000-$800,000

Realized: $1,142,500

CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.; “Post-War & Contemporary Art Morning Session”, May 14, 2009

Lot #166

 

 

Top 15 Post-War/Contemporary Art Artists

[Spring 2009 / Postwar and Contemporary Sales]

 

1) Andy Warhol

2) Alexander Calder

3) Jeff Koons

4) Roy Lichtenstein

5) Jean-Michel Basquiat

6) David Hockney

7) Richard Diebenkorn

8) Sam Francis

9) Martin Kippenberger

10) Peter Doig

11) Willem de Kooning

12) Richard Prince

13) Gerhard Richter

14) Dan Flavin

15) Cy Twombly

 

 

Spring 2008 Versus Spring 2009

Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sales

 

Spring 2008

$954,712,125

evening & day sales combined

Spring 2009

$213,302,875

evening & day sales combined

 

Sotheby’s

Spring 2008 / $362,037,000

73 lots sold

55 over $1M

8-8 figures

[$469,807,775 evening & day sales combined]

 

Spring 2009 / $47,033,500

39 lots sold

14 over $1M

0-8 figures

[$75,524,975 evening & day sales combined]

 

Christie’s

Spring 2008 / $348,263,600

54 lots sold

46 over $1M

9-8 figures

[$414,011,950 evening & day sales combined]

 

Spring 2009 / $93,734,500

49 lots sold

30 over $1M

0-8 figures

[$125,438,625 evening & day sales combined]

 

Phillips de Pury & Co.

Spring 2008 / $59,001,000

55 lots sold

15 over $1M

1-8 figures

[$70,892,400 evening & day sales combined]

 

Spring 2009 / $7,752,500

31 lots sold

1 over $1M

0-8 figures

[$12,339,275 evening & day sales combined]

 

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