Sotheby’s London Contemporary Art Evening Sale brought £108,803,550 / $174,129,201 /€120,923,897 – in excess of pre-sale expectations (estimate: £74-105 million) and establishing the highest total ever achieved for any sale of Contemporary Art in London. Buyers from 14 countries participated in the auction, which achieved remarkable sell-through rates of 89.8% by lot and 93.9% by value and established five new artist records. Twenty-nine works sold for over £1 million, and 45 lots sold for over $1 million.
The Duerckheim Collection – the greatest offering of German Art of the 1960s and 1970s ever to come to market – realised £60,401,650 / $96,666,801 / €67,130,189, almost doubling the low estimate of £31.8-45.9 million, with almost every lot contested by multiple bidders. A further 25 lots from the collection will be offered in tomorrow’s Contemporary Art Day Sale.
The top-selling lot of the sale was Francis Bacon’s Crouching Nude from 1961 which has never before been offered at auction and achieved £8,329,250/$13,330,132/€9,257,100 within estimate (est. £7-9 million), and the second-highest price established tonight was for an early and authoritative Jean-Michel Basquiat painting, Untitled, which brought £5,417,250/$8,669,767/€6,020,713 (est. £5-7 million).
The five new artists records established tonight were for Blinky Palermo, Sigmar Polke, Eugen Schönebeck, Markus Lüpertz and Georg Baselitz.
Andy Warhol’s electric pink acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas of Blondie’s lead singer Debbie Harry – the only major painting of renowned lead singer of the new wave and punk rock band ever to come to auction – sold for £3,737,250/$5,981,095/€4,153,567 (est. £3.5-5.5 million).
A group of three works from the collection of Eurythmics legend Dave Stewart realised the combined total of £1,851,750/$2,963,567 – surpassing the pre-sale low estimate of £1.3 million for all seven works in the collection. The group was headlined by the sale of Damien Hirst’s early spot painting Dantrolene (Being God for Dave) which sold for the above-estimate total of £1,105,250/$1,768,842/€1,228,371 (est. £600,000-800,000). The two further works from Stewart’s collection were Damien Hirst’s 1992 Acridine which brought £601,250/$962,240/€668,227 (est. £400,000-600,000) and Mouth by Gilbert and George which sold for £145,250/$232,485/€161,430 (est. £150,000-200,000).