Sotheby’s ended the New York auction week with $394,1 million auction, the house’s highest grossing ever sale.
The two-hours auction saw Andy Warhol realize the highest price, with a monumental double-paneled painting, Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster), which sold for $105,4 million. The work was bought by a Sotheby’s specialist representing a phone unkown bidder.
Jean-Michel Basquiat’s two-panels work Untitled (Yellow Tar and Feathers) (1982) didn’t score bad either: the third most expensive lot of the evening, went to Larry Gagosian for $25.9 million after a last minute bid following a slow bidding session between Jose Mugrabi and Peter Brant.
Highest price for a Cy Twombly ever, with a 24-panel work called Poems to the Sea (1959), which saw bidding from six would be-buyers, among them Mr. Gagosian, Robert Mnuchin and Mr. Segalot. The lot eventually went to a phone bidder for $21.7 million.
New records also for Agnes Martin ($6.549.000), Martin Kippenberger ($6.437.000), Brice Marden ($10.971.000), the Bruce High Quality Foundation ($425.000) and Mark Bradford ($2.629.000).
If Sotheby’s realized its personal record, Christie’s realized the all-time auction record, with an evening sale that brought in $691,6 million and included a new all-time high for a publicly traded artwork, Three Studies of Lucian Freud by Francis Bacon (1969), which sold for $142.4 million with premium. The buyer is New York dealer Willam Acquavella who, according to reports in new York, was acting on behalf of an unknown client. The seller is an Italian collector based in Rome.
During this sale Jeff Koons was confirmed the world’s most expensive living artist with the sale of Balloon Dog (Orange) (1994–2000) for $58.4 million, the second-most-expensive lot of the evening.
The auction also registered eight other artist records: Wade Guyton ($2.405.000), Vija Celmins ($2.405.000), Lucio Fontana ($20.885.000), Ad Reinhardt ($2.741.000), Donald Judd ($14.165.000), Willem de Kooning ($32.085.000),Wayne Thiebaud ($6.325.000) and Christopher Wool, the star of the moment ($26.485.000).
This incredibile week started with Phillips, on Monday night. Although there were some disappointments, there were also some record prices for artists, including the Japanese avant-garde painter Kazuo Shiraga ($3,973 million with premium).
The boutique auction house has traditionally held its evening contemporary art sale after the giants Sotheby’s and Christie’s, but this time around, hoping to get buyers before they have spent their money, it decided to go first.
Of the 40 works in the sale, 10 had been on the auction block within the last decade, and eight of those had been for sale within the last four years. Still, the auction totaled $68 million, around its low estimate. Five works failed to sell.
Warhol’s “Nine Gold Marilyns (Reversal Series),” from 1980 that Phillips had sold in 2011 for $7.9 million, was on the block again, this time with an $8 million to $12 million estimate. Jose Mugrabi, the New York dealer, bought the painting for $8 million with premium.
“Woman With Peanuts,” a 1962 painting of Roy Lichtenstein realized the highest price of the evening with $10,8 million with premium (that was expected to sell for $10 – $15 million).
Featuring the work of younger artists has traditionally been Phillips’s strength. A 2011 canvas by Oscar Murillo, a Colombian-born painter, brought $240,000, or $293,000 with fees, nearly twice its high $150,000 estimate.