Results: Sotheby's NY Contemporary Art Sale

On Nov 9 Sotheby's held its NY Contemporary Art Evening sale. The results were strong, with numerous records being set.The sale offered 54 contemporary pieces of art of which 49 sold, for a very respectable 90.7% buy through rate. The sale totaled $222.54 million (including buyers premiums) against a pre sale high estimate of $214.5 million.

Perhaps the downturn recently witnessed at auctions and fairs was just short term as this sale shows resiliency in the upper end of the contemporary art market.

The top selling lot was by Andy Warhol, titled Coca Cola (1962) selling for $35.36 against a pre sale estimate of $20/$25 million (see image).

Sotheby's reported on the sale

Two things were going on this evening: the iconic classical market and the young market” said Tobias Meyer, Worldwide Head of Contemporary Art and the evening’s auctioneer. “Both benefited from the great depth of bidding in our sale, and resulted in a very strong total of $222 million, above the high estimate. Most of the bidding was from very smart collectors, some who were long time and others who
were new sophisticated entrants from the global community. They all responded enthusiastically to the great works on offer”.

“The success of tonight’s sale was the result of editing – getting the right young, Pop and Abstract Expressionist material into the sale,” said Alex Rotter, Head of the Contemporary Art Department in New York. “From the Urs Fischer to de Kooning’s Montauk III and the star of the evening, the Warhol Coke bottle, this was a terrific night. Almost half the sold lots brought prices in excess of their high estimates, and six works sold for more than $10 million. It was a very strong result for the market.”

Anthony Grant, International Senior Specialist of Contemporary Art said: “This evening’s sale offered significant, iconic works by artists who really came to prominence in the last 15-20 years, such as Cady Noland, Larry Rivers and Julie Mehretu and the market responded by driving the prices to new record levels.  With each sale another Contemporary artist – another artist from our generation – enters the canon of modern masters of the world – on a par with Modigliani, Matisse or Monet; Warhol has clearly entered that canon, and I think that tonight proves that Richter is going to enter that canon as well.”

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