ARTnewsletter Archive

European Buyers Fuel Sotheby’s Midseason Sale

Sotheby’s midseason sale of contemporary art, held in New York on Oct. 12, posted a total of $8.4 million, nearly identical to Christie’s comparable First Open sale held a month earlier (ANL, 10/3/06, p. 3). The auction was 92 percent sold by value. Of 381 lots on offer, 304 were sold. (The sale initially was

NEW YORK—Sotheby’s midseason sale of contemporary art, held in New York on Oct. 12, posted a total of $8.4 million, nearly identical to Christie’s comparable First Open sale held a month earlier (ANL, 10/3/06, p. 3). The auction was 92 percent sold by value. Of 381 lots on offer, 304 were sold. (The sale initially was scheduled for Oct. 11 but was postponed owing to a plane crash on Manhattan’s Upper East Side). Despite the one-day delay, the sale did “incredibly well” affirms specialist-in-charge Jennifer Roth, “with 56 percent of all lots exceeding their high estimates.”

The top lot was a work by Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997), Water Lilies with Japanese Bridge, a 1992 screen print that was No. 6 in an edition of 23, and had been in a private U.S. collection. The work fetched $324,000 (estimate: $150,000/200,000) from a European collector.

Some Greeks, Some Romans, a drawing in 150 parts by Jim Dine (b. 1935), was the second-highest lot, bringing $251,200 from a French collector, well over the estimated $150,000/200,000. The work—one drawing, comprised of 150 sheets in mixed-media and depicting various faces inspired by Greek and Roman sculpture—came from the collection of fashion designer Gianni Versace (1946-1997). It had been exhibited at PaceWildenstein in 1996 and was executed by the artist over the course of four years, beginning in 1992. A collage by Romare Bearden (1914-88) also figured among the top lots. The Savoy, 1975, went for $216,000 (estimate: $40,000/60,000).

Comments Roth: “We saw strong participation from Europe, perhaps due to the strength of the Euro, and also from the U.S., particularly from West Coast private collectors.” Sotheby’s said that a West Coast collector purchased April Picnic, 1962, an oil on canvas by Roland Petersen (b. 1926), for $204,000 (estimate: $50,000/70,000).

European collectors accounted for at least six of the top lots, including: Movement East to West, 1952-56, by Adolph Gottlieb (1903-74), acquired for $192,000 (estimate: $100,000/150,000); Study for Homage to the Square: a Rose (B), 1964, by Josef Albers (1888-1976), bought for $144,000 (estimate: $100,000/150,000); and Springs Hollow, a 1965 oil on paper by Willem de Kooning (1904-1997), purchased for $120,000 (estimate: $40,000/60,000)

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