Top Ten Art/Luxury Auction Sales for 2013

As usual, the end of the year brings out many top ten lists.  Bloomberg takes a quick look at the top ten art and luxury lots selling at auction in 2013.

As a heads up two of the top ten, including the record setting ($142.4 million) #1 sale Three Studies of Lucian Freud by Francis Bacon and #8 item, a Alberto Giacometti bronze selling for $50 million were both purchased by Acquavella Galleries.  ISA is pleased to announce that Michael Findlay, Director of Acquavella Galleries will be a keynote speaker at our annual conference, Assets 2014 in Kansas City, April 25-28. He should be an interesting and timely speaker given the activity and prices at the top end of the market. Click HERE for more info on the ISA annual conference.

Bloomberg reports
Here are the top 10 lots of the year.

1. Bacon’s 1969 “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” became the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction when it fetched $142.4 million at Christie’s in New York on Nov. 12. The price beat the previous record of $119.9 million paid for Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” at Sotheby’s in May 2012. Formerly owned by Francesco De Simone Niquesa, a Rome-based lawyer who advised the movie star Sophia Loren, the trio of portraits of Bacon’s painter friend was bought by the New York-based Acquavella Galleries Inc. for an undisclosed client. The work went on display at Portland Art Museum on Dec. 21.

2.Warhol’s silk-screen painting “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)” sold for a record $105.4 million at Sotheby’s in New York on Nov. 13. The double-panel work was won by a phone client of Charles Moffett, vice chairman of Sotheby’s Americas, who vied with at least two other telephone bidders. Warhol’s previous auction record was set in 2007 at Christie’s when a single-panel car-crash painting, “Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I)” sold for $71.7 million.

3. Isaac Wolf, a New York-based diamond cutter, paid $83.2 million for a 59.6-carat pink diamond at Sotheby’s in Geneva on Nov. 13. The price was a record for any gemstone at auction. The oval-cut stone, known as the “Pink Star,” was the largest internally flawless fancy vivid pink diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America. Wolf renamed his trophy “The Pink Dream.”

Colored stones, which account for about 0.01 percent of mined production, are prized for their rarity and command the highest price per carat. Pink is the most desirable color. They have now set all three of the highest auction prices for gemstones.

4. Koons, 58, became the priciest living artist at auction when his sculpture “Balloon Dog (Orange)” sold for $58.4 million at Christie’s in New York on Nov. 12. Estimated at $35 million to $55 million, the 10-foot-tall stainless-steel pooch was consigned by newsprint magnate Peter Brant. The result dethroned German artist Gerhard Richter, 81, whose 1968 painting, “Domplatz, Mailand,” sold for $37.1 million at Sotheby’s in May.

5. Jackson Pollock’s 1948 drip painting, “Number 19,” sold for $58.36 million at Christie’s on May 15, surpassing its $25 million to $35 million estimate range. The price set an auction record for the Abstract Expressionist painter.

6. Warhol’s 1962 painting of an oversized Coca-Cola bottle fetched $57.3 million at Christie’s in New York on Nov. 12. The result fell short of the lot’s high estimate of $60 million. Unlike Warhol’s later silkscreens, he painted “Coca-Cola (3)” by hand, depicting a stark, black bottle on a white 6-foot-tall canvas. The work was consigned by the New York-based Mugrabi family.

7. While Picasso didn’t make the list this year, the Spanish artist did inspire Roy Lichtenstein’s 1963 painting, “Woman with Flowered Hat,” which sold for $56.1 million at Christie’s in New York on May 15. It was bought in the salesroom by the London-based jeweler Laurence Graff, who said the work was a birthday gift to himself.

8. Alberto Giacometti bronze bust of his brother, “Grande tete mince (Grande tete de Diego),” conceived in 1954 and cast in bronze in an edition of six in 1955, was bought by Acquavella Galleries Inc. for $50 million at Sotheby’s in New York on Nov. 6. Another version of the same work raised $53.3 million in May 2010.

9. Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1982 canvas “Dustheads” sold for a record $48.8 million to an unnamed telephone buyer at Christie’s in New York on May 15. It had been estimated at $25 million to $35 million.

Prices for Basquiat, who created 800 paintings before dying at the age of 27 in 1988, have advanced 500 percent over the last 10 years, according to French database Artprice. Sales of his works currently represent more than 15 percent of the global auction market for contemporary art, Artprice said in its seventh annual report, published in October.  

10. Two paintings share the 10th spot, each having fetched $46.1 million.

Mark Rothko’s 1957 “No. 11 (Untitled)” radiant orange canvas surpassed its high estimate of $35 million when it sold at Christie’s on Nov. 12. The painting had returned to the auction block two decades after selling for $1.1 million at Christie’s in 1992.

Norman Rockwell’s 1951 painting, “Saying Grace,” set an auction record for the American figurative artist at Sotheby’s in New York on Dec. 4. The price surpassed a high estimate of $20 million and almost tripled Rockwell’s previous auction record of $15.4 million set in 2006, also at Sotheby’s. The work was consigned by the family of Kenneth J. Stuart Sr., the Saturday Evening Post art editor who worked with Rockwell for about 20 years. The “Saying Grace” image first appeared in the paper’s Thanksgiving issue in 1951. It depicts a gray-haired woman and a boy saying grace at a crowded restaurant table.
Source: Bloomberg

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