Sotheby's London - Contemporary Art Evening - February 27, 2008 Tonight’s sale of Contemporary Art in London was record-breaking, realising £95,030,000 ($189,423,299) against a pre-sale estimate of £72,025,000-102,855,000.
News-Antique.com - Feb 29,2008 - SOTHEBY’S EVENING AUCTION
OF CONTEMPORARY ART ACHIEVES
-- THE HIGHEST TOTAL FOR ANY SALE OF
CONTEMPORARY ART EVER HELD IN EUROPE --
-- SIX ARTIST RECORDS ACHIEVED --
LONDON, FEBRUARY 27th, 2008 – Sotheby’s Evening Sale of Contemporary Art tonight achieved
£95,030,000 ($189,424,299), the highest total ever for any sale of Contemporary Art held in Europe,
against a pre-sale estimate of £72,025,000-£102,855,000. Records were set for six artists.
Francis Outred, Head of Evening Auctions, Contemporary Art, said: “We are absolutely thrilled with
tonight’s total – the highest ever for a sale of Contemporary Art in Europe and indeed the second
highest total for any auction held by Sotheby’s in Europe, a record established just three weeks ago.
The continued strength of the market allowed us to source a group of works which included a number of
masterpieces, and our clients responded with appropriate enthusiasm. Pre-sale interest was extremely
high and our exhibition was attended by collectors from around the world. We saw frenetic bidding for
both figural and abstract works by Gerhard Richter and achieved a triumph for the work of Lucio
Fontana – a European abstract artist finally entering the big league.”
Coming so soon after the success of The (RED) Auction at Sotheby’s New York on 14th February 2008,
which totalled $42 million, tonight’s record results further demonstrate the appetite for great works of
art in today’s market.
The top lot in tonight’s sale was Francis Bacon’s Study of Nude with Figure in a Mirror, 1969, a rare
full-length portrait of the artist’s close friend Henrietta Moraes, which achieved £19,956,500
($39,779,291) selling to a European private collector bidding on the telephone. This remarkable price
follows last year’s record $52,680,000 (£26,581,895) for the artist at auction, achieved for Study From
Innocent X at Sotheby’s New York in May 2007.
The saleroom broke into applause when Gerhard Richter’s sublime Photo Painting Kerze (Candle),
from 1983, sold for the spectacular price of £7,972,500 ($15,891,584) – more than three times its presale
high estimate of £2,500,000. This remarkable price came after eleven bidders competed for the
work. The result immediately followed another success for the artist, when Struktur (1979) achieved
£4,612,500 ($9,194,096), after pursuit by eight bidders and gasps from the audience.
A work widely regarded as one of Lucio Fontana’s masterpieces, Concetto Spaziale, La Fine di Dio
dating from 1963, achieved a record £10,324,500 ($20,579,826) for a work by the artist at auction. The
result was significantly in excess of its pre-sale low-estimate of £4,000,000. The egg-shaped canvas
was one of only two gold works in this series. Pursued by five bidders, its price saw the saleroom once
again erupt into applause. The phenomenal result saw Fontana become the second European Post War
artist, after Francis Bacon, to break the £10 million barrier at auction.
Three Self Portraits (1986) by Andy Warhol achieved £11,444,500 ($22,812,322). This rare trinity of
canvases in the colours of the American flag, came from the artist’s only ever exhibition devoted to selfportraits,