Record London Contemporary/Modern Art Auctions Set Spring 2018 Alight

Sotheby's © Artlyst

London’s contemporary sales both evening and day at Sotheby’s and Christie’s have totalled £295 million ($407 million). Bonham’s realised £5.3 million in sales and Phillips evening sale in London £73.1 million £97.8 million ($135 million), a record for the auction house.

This has been a record year for the same old/same old artists


Christie’s 20TH Century sales in London lead the way with £341.6 million / $474.5 million / €384.2 million ‘20th Century at Christie’s’ concluded in London on 8 March, with a combined total across five sale platforms of Impressionist and Modern, Surreal and Post-War and Contemporary Art, reaching £341.6 million / $474.5 million / €384.2 million. These results confirmed Christie’s leadership in the 20th Century art market and were a 24% increase on the equivalent season last year. A passion for collecting and exceptional quality

Underpinned the private collections offered throughout ‘20th Century at Christie’s’ this season: ‘The Eye of the Architect’, ‘The Collection of Antoni Tàpies’, ‘Abstraction Beyond Borders’, ‘The Triton Collection Foundation’, ‘Property from the Collection of Wilhelm Reinold’ and ‘A Private European Collection: Fontana, Burri, Schütte, Flavin, Kiefer and Richter’. The success they achieved throughout the auction series gives rise to the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, the most significant philanthropic auction, which will take place in New York in May 2018. Icons of the 20th Century including Degas, Monet, Magritte, Kandinsky, Bacon, Warhol, and Basquiat were presented alongside those at the forefront of contemporary art such as Peter Doig, Kristin Baker, Kelley Walker and Cecily Brown, as well as artists who have never appeared at auction in London before: Shafic Abboud, Huguette Caland and Marwan. Collectors from the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East participated in the sales, representing 73 different countries across 6 continents.

The Day Sales of Impressionist and Modern and Post-War and Contemporary Art saw collectors gather in London for a series that achieved outstanding results, with the highest combined total for Impressionist and Modern Works on Paper and Day Sale (£29,804,938 / $41,488,473 / €33,739,190), complemented by the online-only sale Picasso Ceramics, which was 100% sold and totalled £1,817,063 / $2,398,523 / € 2,036,927. This was completed by the Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Auction, which sold 92% by lot and 96% by value (£22,910,000 / $31,776,171 / €25,567,561).

The Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction in London realised £137,459,750 / $189,969,375 / €153,680,001 and achieved the highest total for any auction of Post-War and Contemporary Art ever held in Europe and was 92% sold by lot and 96% by value. The top lot of the night was Andy Warhol’s Six Self Portraits. This rare masterpiece was completed just months before the artist’s sudden death in 1987, and sold for £22,261,250 / $31,262,568 / €25,290,557

Multi flavor, a 1982 painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat, achieved the second highest price of the night when it sold for £12,046,250 / $16,647,918 / €13,467,707
Peter Doig’s Charley’s Space (1991) is the first of the celebrated ‘snow’ paintings that would define the artist’s output in the 1990s. Begun during his final year at Chelsea School of Art in London, it realised the third highest price of the sale when it was bought for £10,921,250 / $15,093,168 / €12,209,957. The proceeds of the sale of Charley’s Space and Doig’s Snowballed Boy (1995) will support a programme by The Donald R. Sobey Foundation in conjunction with the Sobey Art Foundation to strengthen international exhibition opportunities for contemporary Canadian artists


The Highest Total for an Online-Only Sale at Sotheby’s to Date -Over 550 registrants and an average of more than 10 bids per lot- One of the Highest Contemporary Art Evening Sales at Sotheby’s London.

Eight auctions of Contemporary, Modern and Impressionist Art (28 February – 8 March) saw Picasso’s Golden Muse realise $70 million. This was the most valuable artwork sold at auction so far this year.

NEW BENCHMARKS FOR CONTEMPORARY ART DAY SALES: Sotheby’s highest London Day Sale of Contemporary Art in a Decade Highest total for a Contemporary Curated Sale since 2014. The highest total for a Now! Sale in Paris.

An 80% Average sell-through rate across the fortnight “It has been a great two weeks for Sotheby’s with strong prices achieved at every level of the market,” commented Tad Smith, Sotheby’s CEO, adding, “these results bode very well for the season ahead, including our important Hong Kong and New York auctions.”

RECENT RESULTS AT SOTHEBY’S 7 & 8 MARCH: One of the highest totals for a Contemporary Art Evening Sale at Sotheby’s in London & the highest total for a Contemporary Art Day sale at Sotheby’s London in a decade.


Phillips scored with an unusually poor example of a Picasso portrait from 1932 half drawing/half painting of Marie-Therese Walter titled La Dormeuse, dating from March 13, 1932, sold on the opening day of Tate Modern’s Picasso 1932 exhibition was the star lot selling for £41.8 million ($57.8 million). La Dormeuse had last sold through Pace Wildenstein in 1995 and was exhibited at Tate Modern in the stunning “Matisse Picasso” show in 2003.

Sean Scully’s painting Grey Red (2012), a work which was sold at Phillips only 18 months ago realising £665,000 ($917,000), nearly doubled in price selling for £1.15 million ($1.6 million). A George Condo painting sold two years ago at Phillips for £386,500 ($533,000) doubled and sold for £1.3 million


Bonhams’ “Post-War and Contemporary” sale London on March 7, 2018 was led by Yayoi Kusama’s “No. A.A.,” from the collection of ICA co-founder Sir Herbert Read. The painting, estimated at £250,000-350,000, sold for £608,750 inc. premium. Other highlights from the sale include Leon Kossoff’s “Nude on a Red Bed No. 3,” 1968 (estimate: £300,000-500,000); Anish Kapoor’s “Untitled,” 2014 (estimate: £300,000-400,000); Sold for £ 392,750 inc. premium and Frank Auerbach’s “Reclining Head of E.O.W. II,” 1969 (estimate: £280,000-350,000).Sold for £ 872,750 inc. premium SIGMAR POLKE (German, 1941-2010) Freundinnen II  1967 Sold for £ 118,750 inc. premium.

And we still have the Collection of David and Peggy Rockefeller. perhaps, the greatest single sale collection ever offered at auction at Christie’s in May 2018

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