Sotheby's Results - Contemporary Art Evening - May 14, 2008 Tonight’s auction at Sotheby’s of Contemporary Art, which totaled $362,037,000, was the best auction in the Company’s history (est. $288.1/356.7 million*)
Another highlight of the May sale was Robert Rauschenberg’s colored silkscreen painting, Overdrive, 1963, which achieved $14,601,000 (lot 27, est. $10/15 million). Beginning with his legendary Combine Paintings of the late 1950s, which incorporated found objects and expressionistic paint handling, Rauschenberg’s early works embraced the unseen detritus of the contemporary experience, transferring the material world into his art through a seemingly endless stream of restless experimentation. In the case of this work, the sights and sounds of New York City are conveyed in shifting images of street signs, stop signs, the Statue of Liberty and the birds of the cityscape.
A work by Subodh Gupta, one of the most important Contemporary artists to emerge from India in a generation, Saat Samunder Paar VII, 2003, achieved $825,000, a record for the artist at auction (lot 71, est. $500/700,000). The work comes from a series the artist completed in 2003 entitled Saat samundar paar, or “Across the Seven Seas”. In these works, Subodh depicts scenes from bustling airports, thereby tapping into a theme central to his entire oeuvre: man’s experience in contemporary society.
Note to Editors: Sotheby’s set the previous record for a work by Francis Bacon at auction when Study for Innocent X, 1962, sold in New York for $52.7 million. Sotheby’s also holds five of the top six prices for Bacon: in addition to Study for Innocent X, significant prices were achieved for Second Version of Study for Bullfight No. 1, 1969 ($45.96 million at Sotheby’s New York); Self Portrait, 1978 ($42.6 million at Sotheby’s London); Study of Nude with Figure in a Mirror, 1969 ($39.8 million at Sotheby’s New York); and Nude with Figure in a Mirror (Study),