With auction week in New York coming to an end, ARTnews has rounded-up some of the most notable sales achieved in the day sales at Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips. Below is a listing of new records and top-performing lots from day auctions of 20th-century and contemporary art, as well Impressionist and modern works, at the three houses. (Sotheby’s contemporary sale was still in progress when this article went to press, and this post will be updated with the sale’s complete results.)
IMPRESSIONIST AND MODERN DAY SALES
- Christie’s Imp-mod day sale totaled $36.35 million, ahead of its $27.18 million result last year. It was led by Salvador Dalí‘s painting Décor pour Roméo et Juliette (1942), which was estimated $800,000 to $1.2 million and sold for $1.11 million.
- Sotheby’s Imp-mod day sale realized $53.3 million, up from its $44.7 million total last November. The top lot was Vincent van Gogh‘s 1883 painting Paysan brûlant de mauvaises herbes, selling for $3.14 million, smashing through its $600,000 to $800,000 estimate.
20TH-CENTURY AND CONTEMPORARY DAY SALES
- Phillips achieved higher results in both its evening and day sale performances this year. At its 20th-century and contemporary art day sale, the auction house racked up $40.22 million, as compared to $34.68 million in November 2018. The sale set new records for 10 artists, including Jaume Plensa, whose stainless steel sculptures Twins I and II from 2009 (est. $600,000 to $800,000) sold for $1.13 million, Larry Poons, for the bright yellow painting Jessica’s Hartford (1965) that sold for $1.15 million, and Dorothea Rockburne, for Oxymoron (1987-88), an oil on linen piece that went for $93,750.
- Other artists records: Maria Lassnig, Jeff Sonhouse, Ann Craven, Noah Davis, Louise Fishman, Sascha Braunig, and Elizabeth Murray.
- A number of works sold well above their estimates, including Loie Hollowell‘s 2015 painting Giving Head (est. $40,000 to $60,000), that went for $106,250, and KAWS‘s painted bronze COMPANION (PASSING THROUGH), 2011, estimated $300,000 to $400,000 and selling for $836,000.
- The top-performing lot was Josef Albers‘s Homage to the Square: Silent Gray (1955), soaring past its $400,000 to $600,000 estimate with a $1.31 million sale.
- Lots that failed to sell included Robert Motherwell‘s Open No. 116: La France Open (executed 1969/1983/circa 1985), estimated $1 million to $1.5 million, and Anish Kapoor‘s aluminum work Untitled (1997), which carried a $300,000 to $400,000 estimate.
- Christie’s tallied a total of $117.1 million at its contemporary day sales in the morning and afternoon, a figure that surpasses last year’s $92.97 million sum. This number also represents the highest ever contemporary day sale total.
- The auction house set records for several women artists with the sale of Ruth Asawa‘s Untitled (S.387, Hanging Three Separate Layers of Three-Lobed Forms), ca. 1955, for $4 million, Julie Curtiss‘s 2018 painting Pas de Trois for $423,000, Carrie Mae Weems‘s Kitchen Table Series (executed 1990/printed 2003) for $237,500, and Mary Corse‘s Untitled (DNA Series), 2016, for $435,000.
- Works by George Condo, Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, and Joan Mitchell all achieved over the $3 million mark.
- Other top lots were Helen Frankenthaler‘s (Bach’s) Sacred Theater (1973), which sold beyond its estimate for $2.53 million, Jean Dubuffet‘s gouache on paper L’Aberrateur (1963) for $2 million, and Andy Warhol‘s Flowers (1965) for $2.41 million.
- Lots that did not sell include pieces by Isamu Noguchi, Alexander Calder, Simone Leigh, Takashi Murakami, and Tauba Auerbach.
- Sales were flying past their estimates at Sotheby’s on Friday: Joan Mitchell‘s Saint Martin La Garenne IX (1987), estimated $1 million to $1.5 million, sold for $2.9 million; Sam Gilliam‘s With Crimson (1970), estimated $600,000 to $800,000, went for $1 million; January 2 (1992) by Alex Katz sold for $1 million over its high estimate of $700,000; Michael Armitage‘s The Conservationists (2015) made a mockery of its $50,000 to $70,000 estimate when it sold for $1.52 million.
- Wayne Thiebaud‘s 1976 painting Ripley Street Ridge sold for $3.32 million, well above its high estimate of $2 million.
- Two sculptures by Ruth Asawa also passed their estimates: Untitled (S.256, Hanging tied-wire, double-sided, open-center, six-branched form based on nature), ca. 1965, which had carried a $200,000 to $300,000 estimate, sold for $884,000. And Untitled (S.422, hanging single-lobed, three layers of spheres), estimated $150,000 to $200,000, sold for $1.22 million.