SOTHEBY’S ACHIEVES HIGHEST SALE TOTAL IN 263-YEAR HISTORY Tonight Sotheby’s achieved its highest sale total ever when its evening sale of Contemporary Art in New York brought $315,907,000, exceeding its high estimate (est. $220.3/298.7 million).
number of clients came to Sotheby’s from all points around the world.” The cover lot of the sale, Jeff Koons’ spectacular Hanging Heart (Magenta and Gold), 1994-2006, one of the most important works by Koons ever offered at auction, sold to Gagosian Gallery to applause for $23,561,000, a record for the living artist at auction and also for the artist (lot 14, est. $15/20 million). The previous record was for Damien Hirst’s pill cabinet, Lullaby Spring, which sold for $19.2 million at Sotheby’s London in June. The price almost reached the record for a Contemporary sculpture, currently held by David Smith’s Cubi XXVIII, which sold for $23.8 million at Sotheby’s New York in November 2005. The brilliant magenta heart and gold undulating bow, which took ten years from conception to completion, is one of five uniquely colored versions of this dazzling work from Koons’ famed Celebration series. The perfect surface is coated in more than ten layers of paint. Executed in high chromium stainless steel, Hanging Heart weighs over 3,500 pounds, is almost nine feet tall and took over 6,000 man hours to produce.
The sale also featured two works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, including his large-scale canvas, Untitled (Electric Chair) from 1981-82, watershed years for the artist, which sold for $11,801,000 (lot 16, est. $8/10 million). Untitled (Electric Chair), offered by a Foundation, was selected and purchased prior to completion from Basquiat’s first dealer Annina Nosei Gallery, New York. The work went into the collection of a Foundation, where it has remained ever since; this is the first time the work appeared on the market since it was painted in the artist’s studio in the basement of the Nosei Gallery. Also offered by the same Foundation were works by post-war sculptors, including Donald Judd’s Untitled, 1977, which brought $7,433,000 (lot 26, est. $6/8 million) and John Chamberlain’s Big E, 1962, which achieved $4,633,000 (lot 11, est. $2/3 million), both records from the artist at auction.
Another Untitled work by Basquiat from 1981, which depicted one of the most engaging and combative warrior-figure paintings of the artist’s early years, sold for $7,769,000 (lot 48, est. $7/9 million). Highlighting the 15 works included in the evening sale from a Distinguished Private Collection, which brought $33.4 million (est. $29.9/40.8 million), was Andy Warhol’s Self Portrait (Green Camouflage), 1986, from his last series of self-portraits, which sold for $12,361,000 (lot 47, est. $9/12 million). Other works featured from this offering include Ellsworth Kelly’s Spectrum VI, 1969, formerly from the collection of the curator of 20th century at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Henry Geldzahler, and related to Spectrum V, currently in the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which sold for $5,193,000, a record for the artist at auction (lot 23, est. $4.5/6 million). Alexander Calder’s Untitled, 1935, a rare early wood and wire sculpture, similar to those in the Collections of the Tate Modern and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, sold for $4,409,000