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    Contemporary Art Boosts Villa Grisebach’s $20M Auction Series

    Auction house Villa Grisebach realized a healthy total—albeit down by about €6 million from last fall's—of €16 million ($20 million) for its late-November series of five sales, including photography and 19th- and 20th-century art.

    BERLIN—Auction house Villa Grisebach realized a healthy total—albeit down by about €6million from last fall’s—of €16million ($20million) for its late-November series of five sales, including photography and 19th- and 20th-century art.

    At its photography sale on Nov. 27, the house realized a total of €460,000 ($575,000). Of 240 lots on offer, 143, or 60 percent, were sold. By value the auction was 79.3 percent sold. On a sold-by-lot percentage basis, this fall’s photo sale result was stronger than that of last spring, which achieved a rate of 50 percent. The top lot was a Larry Clark portfolio, which fetched €47,600 ($59,500) with premium. Bettina Rheims’s 7 Novembre, Paris, 1991, from the “Chambre Close” series, proved to be the highest achiever: it sold for €22,610 ($28,260) on an estimate of €4,000/6,000.

    The main evening auction on Nov. 28 offered a wide selection, with work by artists ranging from Emil Nolde and Pablo Picasso to Christo and New Leipzig School artist Eberhard Havekost. The sale took in €6.86million ($8.6million). Of 86 works on offer, 68, or 79 percent, found buyers.

    The top lot was Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s rare color lithograph Kokottenkopf in Federhut, 1909/10, which sold for €618,800 ($772,500), making it the most expensive print sold in Germany (estimate: €300,000/350,000). Max Liebermann’s oil Strandleben, 1916, sold for €595,000 ($743,750) within the estimate of €500,000/700,000.

    A special auction was devoted to twelve works by Lovis Corinth, whose Gartenwicken, 1923, tripled the €180,000/240,000 estimate, selling for a record €618,800 ($773,500). The top lot in the section, it went to a private collection in Berlin, according to Villa Grisebach.

    Bidders were highly receptive to the selection of Postwar and contemporary art, including Georg Baselitz’s Roter Vogel, 1971/72, which was sold for €452,200 ($565,000), also to a Berlin private collection (estimate: €300,000/400,000). Günther Uecker’s large-format nail picture Gespaltenes Feld, 1984, sold for €276,080 ($345,000). Havekost was the most successful contemporary artist in the sale: his oil painting National Geographic, 2003, sold for €178,500 ($223,125) against an estimate of €150,000/200,000.