Economic crisis, what economic crisis? Sotheby's auction makes a whopping $375 million led by Rothko and Pollock sales
Wednesday 14 November 2012
Sotheby's staged the biggest auction in its 268-year history last night, led by a $75 million (£47.1 million) Mark Rothko and a record-setting $40 million (£25.1 million) work by Jackson Pollock at its post-war and contemporary art sale.
With an impressive total of $375 million, t he auction showed the buoyancy of an art market that has mostly been on a roll since its quick recovery from the 2008 financial crisis.
Sotheby's said it was the best result it ever had for a single auction, and it beat the high pre-sale estimate.
A "screaming pope" piece by Francis Bacon sold for nearly $30 million, a Willem de Kooning fetched just under $20 million and a $17.4 million Gerhard Richter augmented the muscular results for the vibrant Rothko masterpiece No. 1 (Royal, Red and Blue) and Pollock's seminal drip painting, Number 4, 1951.
Officials said they were thrilled with the outcome.
"If you want to talk about the market being happy, healthy and well, well, here it is," said Tobias Meyer, auctioneer and worldwide head of contemporary art. "That's probably about as good as it gets."
The sale was driven by collectors who flexed their financial muscles after largely sitting on their hands a week ago at Impressionist and modern art auctions. The strong prices gave testament to the deep pockets of determined collectors' pursuit of the rarest and most highly regarded trophy works.
Bidding for the Rothko started at $28 million, but immediately jumped to $35 million. As increments of $1 million drove the price to $56 million, a bidder, who ultimately prevailed, upped the ante by bidding $60 million.
The work, which Sotheby's had estimated would sell for $35 million to $50 million, had been in the same collection since 1982 and thus marked a rare opportunity for trophy hunters. At $71,122,500 including commission, it was the second-highest price paid for a Rothko at auction.
The Pollock, part of a group of eight abstract expressionist works from a private collection, fetched $40.4 million, easily eclipsing Pollock's auction record. It has been estimated to sell for $25 million to $35 million.
Other highlights of the sale, at which virtually every major piece was sold and 85 percent of the 69 lots found buyers, included Andy Warhol's Suicide (above), which soared to $15.2 million, or more than twice the pre-sale estimate, and Franz Kline's "Shenandoah," which fetched $9.3 million, beating the high estimate and setting an artist's record.
The auctions wrap up on Wednesday when Christie's holds its sale of post-war and contemporary art.
sportBayern Munich 2 Manchester City 3: City come from two down to beat reigning European Champions
newsAs the world remembers Mandela the hero, the prison where he spent 27 years seems all the more brutal
arts + ents... and a chance to paint Booker Prize winning author Hilary Mantel
danceUnder Tamara Rojo's inspired direction, it seems possible that it could challenge the dominance of the Royal Ballet. We meet some established names and rising stars
travelDiscover Uruguay's jet-set beach resort, an Atlantic enclave with plenty of art and culture to explore on the side
Arts & Ents blogs
The 50 Best Christmas songs: Bells continue to ring for the Pogues' 'Fairytale of New York'
Downton Abbey Christmas special 2013: New pictures released
Back from the dead? Family Guy's Brian Griffin 'to make a comeback' after fan petition
Emma Stone: 'Dating Andrew Garfield makes living in LA a lot less fun'
Katie Hopkins mocks name of sick girl Kaychanel featured in X Factor charity appeal
- 1 Mountain goats' miraculous escape from avalanche captured in dramatic video footage
- 2 Gurdwaras-turned-food banks: Sikh temples are catering for rise in Britain’s hungry
- 3 Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela
- 4 Government delays EU immigration report because it is too positive
- 5 'I'm experiencing austerity as well', says Princess Michael of Kent
- < Previous
- Next >