Sotheby's raises a 'healthy' £74 million at contemporary art auction

 

It was a "healthy" night of sales at Sotheby's yesterday evening as a contemporary art auction brought in more than £74 million - the auction house's second-highest total for a February sale of contemporary art in London.

A grand total of £74,364,200 was brought in after the sale of paintings by the likes of Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko and Francis Bacon.

The top lot of the evening's sale was Francis Bacon's oil on canvas triptych masterwork Three Studies For A Self-Portrait, which sold for £13,761,250 against an estimate of £10-15 million.

The work dates from 1980, when the artist was 71.

It was painted nine years after the suicide of Bacon's partner, George Dyer, and demonstrates the artist's self-analysis.

An anonymous telephone buyer fought off competition from two other bidders to buy the artwork.

The oil on canvas piece belongs to a set of 11 triptych self-portraits in Bacon's particular format of 14 by 12 inches.

Cheyenne Westphal, chairman of European contemporary art at Sotheby's, said: "Tonight we witnessed healthy buying activity from across the globe, including from Europe, Asia, the US, the CIS and the rest of the world.

"This, combined with the depth of bidding on many lots resulted in a total comfortably within estimate and representing Sotheby's second-highest for a February sale of contemporary art in London.

"This market is demonstrably buoyant, both at the top end for blue-chip classics - such as Francis Bacon, Gerhard Richter and Jean-Michel Basquiat - as well as the lower end for well selected works by desirable young artists, including Hurvin Anderson and Andrian Ghenie.

"We are also delighted to announce that the Bacon Triptych was acquired by a German collector, J|rgen Hall who will generously loan the masterwork to a major international institution."

Buyers from 14 countries participated in the auction, which also saw 14 works sell for over £1 million.

Andy Warhol's Lenin sold for £2,169,250, while Mark Rothko's Untitled sold for £2,561,250.

All prices include buyer's premium.

PA

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