Make way for the youngsters! Contemporary art auctions at Sotheby’s

Make way for the youngsters! Contemporary art auctions at Sotheby’s

Francis Bacon — Study of Red Pope 1962 2nd version 1971Christina Quarles — Night Fell Upon Us Up On Us — 2019

Sotheby’s achieved a total of $283 million at its contemporary art auctions on 19 May 2022 in New York, driven by interest in works by the most contemporary artists.

By G. Fernández · theartwolf.com ·· Images: Francis Bacon, “Study of Red Pope 1962, 2nd Version 1971”, 1971. Oil on canvas, 198 by 147.5 cm. ©Estate of Francis Bacon ·· Christina Quarles, “Night Fell Upon Us Up On Us”, 2019. Acrylic on canvas, 213.4 by 182.9 cm. © Christina Quarles.

Part One: The Now Evening Auction

“The auction dedicated to the cutting-edge artists began in an excellent way…” I have the feeling that I have included this sentence at the beginning of every auction of this kind in 2022, both in New York and Hong Kong, and Sotheby’s auction -which realised a total of $72.9 million- was no exception. Nor were several of the auction’s protagonists, with the already superstar Anna Weyant seeing her “Falling Woman” (2020) fetch $1.6 million, more than 10 times its most conservative pre-sale estimate. Also exceeding expectations, Christina Quarles’ excellent “Night Fell Upon Us Up On Us” (2019) sold for $4.5 million. A great result for a great work of art.

More Women to Power: “Birmingham” (2012), a small female bust by Simone Leigh sold for $2.1 million, more than 10 times its most optimistic pre-sale estimate. “Special Guest” (2019), an ethereal abstraction by Lucy Bull, achieved $907,000, more than 11 times its most optimistic pre-sale estimate.

The work with the highest presale estimate, “Beauty Examined” by Kerry James Marshall, also exceeded its expectations, achieving $13.5 million against a presale estimate of between $8 million and $12 million. Matthew Wong is an artist whose works have increased markedly in value following his passing in 2019, so it is not entirely surprising that his “The Night Watcher” (2018), whose energetic brushwork recalls the late works of Vincent van Gogh, fetched $5.9 million, well above his pre-sale estimate of between $1.5 million and $2 million. And speaking of Van Gogh, Adrian Ghenie’s “Degenerate Art”, based on a celebrated self-portrait by the Dutch master, fetched $9.3 million, meeting expectations that at first seemed rather optimistic.

Part 2: Contemporary Evening Auction

In contrast to the momentum of the previous auction, this auction dedicated to post-war and contemporary art turned out to be cooler, although it was not a failure with a total of $210.5 million in sales. This was helped by the results obtained by the two works with the highest pre-sale estimate. Francis Bacon’s “Study of Red Pope 1962, 2nd Version 1971” sold for $46.3 million, barely beating its most conservative pre-sale estimate. The work was returning to the market after being offered at Christie’s London in October 2017, when it carried the highest pre-sale estimate ever assigned to a work of art at auction in Europe, between £60 million and £80 million, then failing to find a buyer.

“Untitled”, one of Cy Twombly’s typical “calligraphic abstractions”, sold for $38 million, below its pre-sale estimate of between $40 million and $60 million. Sotheby’s may have hoped to repeat the success of “Untitled (New York City)”, another of Twombly’s “Blackboard paintings”, sold in 2015 for $70.5 million, but the truth is that, as difficult as it is to price the work of an artist as particular as Twombly, the painting sold in 2015 is far more important than the one offered this evening.

Among the auction successes, “Dresdner Frauen — Besuch aus Prag”, a monumental bust created in 1990 by Georg Baselitz, fetched $11.2 million, almost three times its most optimistic pre-sale estimate. #2022 #ArtMarket #Sothebys #theartwolf

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ART magazine aimed to offer an original & independent point of view about the Art World ▷ Its news, events, protagonists, glories and miseries.

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ART & the Art World (theartwolf)

ART & the Art World (theartwolf)

ART magazine aimed to offer an original & independent point of view about the Art World ▷ Its news, events, protagonists, glories and miseries.

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