This past week the auction action started … and it was less than stellar. Sotheby’s was first with their Contemporary sale and as we have seen with other periods of art, the salerooms are having a difficult time getting really good material. What ends up happening is they begin to fill the sales with lower tier/quality works … and that is not a good thing.
According to Anny Shaw’s article in The Art Newspaper:
Sotheby’s pulled in £42.3m (£50m with fees) at its contemporary evening sale last night, below its low estimate of £46.7m. Despite falling short, it was the highest total for an October evening sale, the house said, and a half decent result given the weak Italian sale that immediately preceded it.
With the earlier sale, Sotheby’s had gambled with a new formula of including non-Italian artists—a strategy that didn’t pay off, with 14 out of 45 lots going unsold. The auction made £15.3m (£18.4m with fees), well below its estimate of £19.5m to £27.2m.
There were some strong prices according to Shaw: a record for Josef Albers for a zinging canvas painted in 1957, which sold for £1.9m (£2.3m with fees), and a Grand Canyon study by David Hockney, which fetched £5.2m (£6m with fees).
All eyes, and hopes, then turned to Christie’s sale the following evening and the big Francis Bacon … would he save the day? Check out our next post to find out!