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Doig, Richter & Wool: Sotheby’s Contemporary (London)

March 10, 2018


This week also saw Sotheby’s London take a crack at the Post-War and Contemporary arena… with 61 works up on the block and a presale estimate of £85.9-118.7M, we knew they were not going to rival the prior night’s showing at Christie’s.

The top spot here went to Peter Doig’s The Architect’s Home in the Ravine, which has changed hands 5 times now since 2002… Initially selling at the same location more than 15 years ago, the work only brought £280K ($426K)… it then popped up in New York in 2007, where it sold for $3.2M, then again in 2013 in London, when it sold for $11.9M and again in 2016, when it sold for $16.4… this time around, the work sold for £14.3M (roughly


$19.7M) so everyone made some money along the way (thought we all know the auction houses were the big winners collecting their fees each time). Gerhard Richter’s Gelbgrun (Yellow-Green) grabbed the number two spot at £10.9M ($15M) followed closely by Christopher Wool’s Untitled at £10.4M ($14.3M). Twenty-two additional works broke the £1M mark,


including works by Warhol, Richter, Basquiat, Kippenberger, Polke, Richard Prince and Fontana. Of the 61 works, just 6 failed to find a buyer yielding a 90% sell-through rate… the most significant of the failures, Hockney’s Different Kinds of Water Pouring into a Swimming Pool, Santa Monica, was expected to bring between £6-8M.

At the end of the evening, the sale of 59 works totaled £109.2M ($150.6M)… 14 of those works surpassed their estimate, with 28 (50%) falling into their estimate range and 13 finding a buyer below the range.