Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale Triumphs

LONDON – The July 2008 Evening Sale of Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s London achieved the phenomenal sum of £94,701,550 ($188,853,831) against a pre-sale estimate of £67.4 – 96.6 million, making it the most successful Summer sale of Contemporary Art in Europe. The sale had numerous high points throughout the evening, with records achieved for 11 different artists.

Cheyenne Westphal, Chairman of Contemporary Art, Sotheby’s Europe and Oliver Barker, Senior International Specialist, Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Deparment, said: “We are elated with the results of tonight’s sale, the highest ever Summer sale of Contemporary Art in Europe. We saw 11 records tumble, including ones for Antony Gormley, Bridget Riley, Richard Prince and Anish Kapoor, in front of a hugely energetic and packed saleroom. The top lot of tonight’s sale was Francis Bacon’s exquisite smallscale Study for Head of George Dyer, which sold for £13.7 million, and we are also extremely happy with the result achieved for the group of twelve works from the Lauffs Collection, which achieved a total of £18.9 million, almost triple its pre-sale low estimate of £6.4 million. Once again, we are witnesses to a market that is driven by art lovers. Buyers have confidence in the artworks they are competing for, and have shown unprecedented determination to win the lots which they desire.”

• Study for Head of George Dyer, 1967 by Francis Bacon sold tonight for an extraordinary £13,761,250 ($27,442,685), against a pre-sale estimate in excess of £8 million. The work is an exceptionally rare, intimate depiction of Dyer – the love of Bacon’s life – and an outstanding example of the artist at the height of his powers.

• A life-size maquette of Antony Gormley’s iconic Angel of the North sold for a record sum of £2,281,250 (against a pre-sale estimate of £600,000-800,000). Literally embodying the genius strain of DNA that runs through the phenomenal Angel of the North, which was established by survey this year as being the most recognisable landmark in Britain, this majestic Angel in cast iron represents a true icon of our time.

• Overseas Nurse by Richard Prince (whose exhibition, entitled Continuation, is currently showing at the Serpentine Gallery in London) sold for £4,241,250 ($8,457,901), achieving a new record for the artist at auction

• Jean-Michel Basquiat’s early masterpiece, Untitled (Pecho/Oreja) from 1982-83 was sold tonight on behalf of the rock band U2 for £5,081,250($10,133,029). The painting was acquired jointly by the members of the band, after it was first spotted by bassist Adam Clayton at the Robert Miller Gallery in New York. The band acquired Untitled in 1989, and it has since resided in their Dublin studio.

• The Lauffs Collection
Following the phenomenal success of the group of works from the Helga and Walther Lauffs Collection offered at Sotheby’s New York in May 2008 (which realised $96.1 million against a presale low estimate of $47.1 million), the current London series includes a total of 53 works from the distinguished collection, 12 of them in tonight’s sale.

The group of 12 works performed well above expectations when they raised a total of £18,983,000 ($37,833,130), against a pre-sale estimate of £6,470,000-8,930,000, including fantastic prices for Yves Klein’s RE3 (est: £1.5-2 million, sold for: £3,177,250) and a record for a work by Martial Raysse at auction for Snack (est:£600,000-800,000; sold for: £1,161,250).

Another work by Klein, ANT 131, sold for £4,185,250 ($8,346,226), more than 4 times its presale top estimate (est: £700,000-900,000). It was contested by six bidders, both in the room and on the telephones.

• Also: Portrait of John McEnroe and Tatum O’Neal by Andy Warhol, depicting McEnroe and O’Neal during their mid-1980s prime, sold for £241,250. The work was offered by Mr McEnroe and he is donating its proceeds to benefit the philanthropic organisation Habitat for Humanity, which provides not-for-profit housing through the help of volunteers.

Ian Walkden, National Director, Habitat for Humanity, said: “At Habitat for Humanity we believe that everyone should have a decent start place to lay their head at night. £200,000 will help us repair or build over 100 homes in developing countries. They will all be built with the sweat of the families that will live in them. So we are particularly grateful to John McEnroe for his generous gift and, of course, to Sotheby’s for all their help.”


Lot 1
Martial Raysse
Estimate: £600,000-800,000
Sold for: £1,161,250

Lot 5
Bridget Riley
Chant 2
Estimate: £2-3 million
Sold for: £2,561,250

Lot 6
Anish Kapoor
Estimate: £1-1.5 million
Sold for: £1,945,250

Lot 9
Sean Scully
Valencia Wall
Estimate: £350,000-450,000
Sold for: £657,250

Lot 10
Antony Gormley
Angel of the North (Life-size maquette)
Estimate: £600,000-800,000
Sold for £2,281,250

Lot 12
Marlene Dumas
The Visitor
Estimate: £800,000 – 1,200,000
Sold for: £3,177,250

Lot 22
Richard Prince
Overseas Nurse
Estimate: £4,000,000 – 6,000,000
Sold for: £4,241,250

Lot 38
Jean Tinguely
Metamatic no. 7
Estimate: £150,000-200,000
Sold for £ 1,049,250

Lot 42
Domenico Gnoli
Estimate: £300,000-400,000
Sold for: £769,250

Lot 54
Frank Auerbach
Head of Helen Gillespie
Estimate: £500,000-700,000
Sold for: £2,455,294

Lot 72
Rachel Whiteread
Estimate: £200,000 – 300,000
Sold for: £445,250