London sales suggest continued strength in the art market

Bidders were in hot pursuit of the art at back-to-back auctions at Phillips and Sotheby’s in London on Friday amid currency volatility and economic uncertainty that did not appear to suppress the bidding.

Several new records were set, largely for ultra-contemporary artists, including Robert Nava, Michaela Yearwood-Dan and Doron Langberg at Phillips, and Julien Nguyen, Louise Giovanelli and Charline von Heyl at Sotheby’s. Caroline Walker’s paintings set two artist records in one day, first at Phillips and then at Sotheby’s.

Walker’s night scenes2017, fetched £516,600 (US$577,042) at the Phillips sale, then hours later at Sotheby’s ‘The Now’ sale, 13 bidders jacked up the price of her Interior Exterior2015, at £529,200.

Sotheby’s also saw an auction record for Frank Auerbach’s
JYM manager, 1984-85, during its contemporary sale. The painting sold above estimates for £5.6 million, including fees.

In total, the 20th Century and Contemporary Phillips sale fetched £18.7m, below the high estimate of £21m, while Sotheby’s ‘The Now’ sale of works created since 1980 – none of which had been offered at auction before – fetched £11.4. million. Sotheby’s Contemporary sale realized £85.7 million.

Caroline Walker, Interior Exterior2015

Courtesy of Sotheby’s

The presale estimate range for The Now was between £8m and £10.75m, while the contemporary sale was expected to reach between £72.7m and £93.7m.

Most of the lots on offer at the three sales found bidders, as the 33-lot Phillips auction was 94% sold, the 18-lot Sotheby’s The Now auction was 100% sold, and the Contemporary sale of 33 lots was sold at 97%.

The results show that collectors are looking for high-quality art “in all genres and by artists of all ages”, says James Sevier, head of contemporary art, Europe, at Sotheby’s, noting that there were a strong bid for classic names in addition to today’s artists. generation.

“This week I felt like the global art world was properly brought together for the first time in London, with collectors from every continent translating into an unforgettable energy in our halls this week. “said Sevier.

At a press conference after the Phillips sale, the auction house’s CEO, Stephen Brooks, also attributed the results to Frieze Week, which brings art lovers from around the world to London for two fairs. Frieze, museum exhibits and other events.

“It’s clear that the resulting excitement has spilled over into our auction room here tonight,” Brooks said. He added that the auction demonstrated that “there is clearly strength in the middle market.”

The results follow a generally strong evening of bidding at Christie’s on Thursday in London.

Big ticket sales from Sotheby’s for the evening included those of Francis Bacon
Three studies for the portrait of Henrietta Moraes1963, which was donated by the collection of William S. Paley, the former head of CBS, and fetched £24.3 million, below an estimate of £30 million.

The work, which carried an irrevocable bid and a guarantee, was among several in Paley’s collection on loan to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Proceeds from the sale, and more than two dozen other works that will appear at future Sotheby’s auctions, will support the Paley Museum, the Greenpark Foundation, and a new MoMA endowment for digital media and technology and for new acquisitions.

The other notable sale, that of Gerhard Richter
192 Color, 1966, an oil painting over six feet tall from the Elisabeth and Gerhard Soht Collection in Hamburg, Germany, generated strong bids, selling according to a high estimate of £18.3 million . The work had been loaned to the Hamburger Kunsthalle museum in Germany in the 1990s.

Sotheby’s Contemporary Sale also saw lively bidding for Bridget Riley’s
shades of summer1994, which sold above estimates for £1.1 million, and Lucien Freud
And the bridegroom (1st version)which has been pressured by seven bidders to nearly double its high estimate to £1.9million.

Cecily Brown
Beautiful not realistic2008, also strongly chased, sold for £1.5m, nearly double a high estimate.

Among the records obtained at Phillips was that of Nava Before the Minotaur2019, which achieved a world record for the artist at auction of £639,600, more than double the work’s high estimate.

The Now sale also reached a record price for Nguyen’s Semper Solus, 2017, which sold for £453,600, multiples of a high estimate of £60,000, and for Giovanelli’s Voyeurwhich sold for £81,900, double its high estimate.

There were also good results for Flora Yukhnovich, whose Nobody put baby in the cornersold for £1.6 million, above estimates, and that of Jadé Fadojutimi
The misplaced thrill of rufflessold for £554,400, also above estimates.

Back To Top