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)