Jeff Koons’ $28m Popeye To Become Las Vegas Casino Attraction

Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York has totaled $364,379,000 85% Sold by lot Sale Estimate $336,650,000 – 474,000,000 Tonight’s auction saw a sell through rate of 85%, marking the 12th consecutive contemporary sale with a sell-through rate of over 80%. o 51% of sold works brought above their high estimates.

Global participation evident throughout the sale process: Works consigned from 13 countries on five continents sought after by participants from 37 countries including 33% from outside the US, and with significant participation from Latin America and Asia.

Wednesday night’s offering of 19 works from The Sender Collection was 100% sold, totaling $44,591,000 (est. $21.2/30 million): Six artist records were set with 84% of the lots bringing prices above the high estimate o Led by the Untitled Martin Kippenberger which sold for $5,541,000 (est. $3/4 million). Other highlights include Rosemarie Trockel’s Untitled textile which sold for $4,981,000 to set a new record for the artist (est. $1.5/2m); Untitled (September 14, 19) by Keith Haring which fetched $4,869,000, also an artist record; and Urs Fischer’s What if the Phone Rings that brought 3,525,000 ($1.2/1.8 million). The Sender Collection is a pioneering assemblage of Contemporary Art which will be sold over the next 18 months with 83 lots offered tomorrow in the Day Sale. Artist Records: Overall nine artist records set for Rosemarie Trockel, Dan Flavin, Adam McEwen, Matthew Barney, Sarah Lucas, Keith Haring (two prices above previous record), James Rosenquist, Wade Guyton, and Julian Schnabel.

Five medium records for Glenn Ligon, Mark Grotjahn, Richard Serra, Dan Colen, and Mike Kelley. The sale was led by Andy Warhol’s Six Self-Portraits which sold for $30,125,000 (est. $25/35m) o The group of self-portraits had been in the same private collection since they were acquired from the landmark show at the Anthony d’Offay gallery in July 1986. Other Warhol highlights include Big Electric Chair which sold for $20,437,000 and 12 Mona Lisas (Reversal Series) which fetched $11,365,000. The cover lot, Popeye by Jeff Koons sold for $28,165,000 (est. in excess of $25 million): o The first sculpture of Popeye by the artist to appear at auction. A new benchmark for late sculpture by the artist. o Purchased by Steve Wynn was and will be going on view at his casino in Las Vegas

Alexander Rotter, Co-Head of Sotheby’s Worldwide Contemporary Art Department, commented: “Tonight, the Contemporary market continued its solid ascent with one of Sotheby’s biggest ever sales. Global participation was evident throughout the process and helped to drive our sell-through rate of 85%. We began tonight with 19 lots from The Sender Collection, which brought a fantastic total well above the high estimate and with every lot finding a buyer. These are the artists of our generation and it was thrilling to see new benchmarks set time and again. I was also delighted that Steve Wynn was the successful purchaser of Koons’ Popeye and that the work will be going on view at his casino in Las Vegas.”

Photo: Courtesy Sotheby’s

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