Sotheby’s New York Modern Art Evening Sale Brings $ 282 Million – ARTnews.com


Following its record-breaking $ 676 million sale of the highly anticipated Macklowe Collection in New York on Monday night, Sotheby’s hosted a modern art sale the following evening that grossed $ 282 million with fees.

This sale reached an almost perfect rate of sale, 46 of the 47 lots offered having found buyers. More than half of the lots were secured with financial support; 25 works in the sale were irrevocable offers, meaning that 78% of the works would sell for at least their low pre-sale estimate. Prior to the sale, three lots were withdrawn, including a 1932 painting by Georgia O’Keefe (estimated at $ 8 million) and a sculpture by Henry Moore. Overall, lots auctioned on Tuesday night reached $ 240.5 million, sitting solidly within pre-sale expectations of $ 192.2 to $ 266.9 million.

Sotheby’s European President Oliver Barker returned to the auction podium at the home’s York Avenue headquarters in New York City to lead the two-hour evening sale, the second of its four flagship auctions this week. Attendees filled the audience with the home’s refurbished auction room, accompanied by new digital flourishes sponsored by electronics company Samsung.

Claude Monet, Corner Of The Water Lily Pond, 1889.
Sipa USA via AP

The best lot of the sale was Claude Corner of Monet’s water lily pond (1918), a still life scene of water lilies that sold for $ 50.8 million. Coming on sale with an irrevocable bid, it hit $ 44 million, well above its low estimate of $ 40 million. He went to a bidder on the phone with Sotheby’s Mexico office representative Lulu de Creel, who triumphed over two bidders in Hong Kong to win it. According to Artnet news, the work was sold by engineer and MIT Museum board member Ronald Cordover, who loaned him a 2020 exhibition dedicated to the French painter who visited the Denver Art Museum and Museum Barberini in Potsdam , in Germany. He bought it at auction in 1997 for $ 6.7 million.

But it’s a 1949 self-portrait by Frida Kahlo that steals the show. Kept in a private collection for about thirty years, it sold for a record amount of $ 34.9 million. The painting represents the artist looking in tears at the viewer with an image of her husband, the Mexican painter Diego Rivera, superimposed on her forehead, serving as a sort of third eye. Surpassing Kahlo’s auction record of $ 8 million, the work resulted in a bid of $ 31 million (just above her low estimate) to a client over the phone with Sotheby’s private sales representative at New York, Ana di Stasi.

Sotheby’s revealed after the sale that the successful bidder was Argentinian financier Eduardo F. Costantini. One of the world’s greatest collectors and founder of the private MALBA museum in Buenos Aires, Costantini is no stranger to breaking auction records for Latin American art.

Kahlo’s painting, a response to Rivera’s infidelity, also broke the previous auction record for a work by a Latin American artist, held since 2019, when one of Rivera’s works had sold. $ 9.8 million. In a statement following the sale, di Stasis said, “You might call tonight’s outcome the ultimate revenge, but in fact, it’s the ultimate validation of Kahlo’s extraordinary talent and global appeal. “

A new auction record has been set for French centenary Pierre Soulages. Her abstract canvas in black and red from 1961 for $ 20.1 million with fees, after a long bidding battle between the president of Sotheby’s in Switzerland, Caroline Lang, and the president of Sotheby’s for Europe, Helena Newman. When he hammered for $ 17.3 million at Newman’s client, the auction house erupted into applause. More than doubling her estimate of $ 8 million, the result surpassed the artist’s previous auction record of $ 10.6 million set in November 2018 when a 1959 painting was sold at Christie’s in New York. York.

Sotheby's New York auction room

Sotheby’s specialists bid at a modern art night sale in New York on November 16, 2021.
Sotheby’s

Another expensive item that exceeded expectations was an untitled hanging mobile sculpture made of painted sheet metal and wire by Alexander Calder. Three bidders between New York and London, including one in the auction room, pushed the hammer price up to $ 16.9 million, well above its estimate of $ 10 million. The coin sold for a final price of $ 19.7 million. The current seller bought it from Christie’s two decades ago for $ 1 million.

that of Salvador Dalí The Angelus (1934-35), a tiny painting of two male and female silhouettes divided by a blue body of water, also exceeded its estimate, for a final price of $ 10.7 million. The lot, which has been in the same collection for three decades, more than doubled its estimate of $ 4 million.

Other notable sales took place throughout the auction. A 1933 portrait of a child holding a teddy bear, titled Portrait of Mademoiselle Poum Rachou, Art Deco sweetheart Tamara de Lempicka sold for $ 7.8 million, compared to an estimate of $ 3.5 million. The seller bought it at auction in 2009 for $ 2.9 million. A vibrant abstract canvas titled Berkley # 6 (1953) by Richard Diebenkorn was sold by the family of developer Jay I. Kislak for $ 5 million to raise money for the collector’s family foundation.

Following the record-breaking Kahlo sale, lots of Latin American surrealist women also met with success on Tuesday. Leonor Fini The blind (1968), which depicts two women tied to the floor in an embrace that was on display in Fini’s 2018-2019 retrospective at the Museum of Sex in New York City, sold for $ 867,000, more than three times its estimate of $ 200,000. A Remedios Varo painting of two figures in a dreamlike interior scene, Dead leaves (1956), sold for $ 2.8 million, exceeding its high estimate of $ 2 million.

Unlike other auctions this week and those at Christie’s and Sotheby’s, tonight’s modern art auction received a lot more bids from the US and Europe than it did from Asia. Although the sale was highly managed with behind-the-scenes financial deals that usually hamper auctions, competition among buyers was still fierce and many lots in the sale ultimately lived up to expectations.


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