June 26th saw Sotheby’s evening sale’s offerings of contemporary art in London and overall the results were pretty solid (all prices shown are with the buyer’s premium added in). I should note, it was reported that 17 of the works were guaranteed, so success was a pretty sure bet.
The top lot in the sale was Francis Bacon’s Self-Portrait (looks like he woke up on the wrong side of the bed) that brought £16.5M ($21M) on a £15-20M estimate. In second was Albert Oehlen’s Self Portrait with Empty Hands (looks like he was having a rough day as well) that made £5.95M ($7.5M – est. £4-6M), and in third was Wols’s Green Stripe Black Red which blew away its £400-600K estimate to sell at £4.5M ($5.7M) – at least one seller was VERY happy! Rounding out the top five were Jenny Saville’s Shadow Head (looks like she went a few rounds with Ali or Tyson) and Christopher Wool’s Untitled (gotta hand it to him for the creative title) – each selling for £4.2M ($5.3M) on £3-5M estimates.
Among the other works that performed rather well were Oehlen’s Untitled at £1.8M/$2.3M (est. £600-800K), Murakami’s Panda at £1.2M/$1.54M (est. £400-600K), Ryman’s Untitled #32 made £1.03M/$1.3M (est. 400-600K), and Toyin Ojih Odutola’s Compound Leaf that rocketed past its £100-150K estimate to sell for £471K ($600K).
As always, there were a few (only 4) that did not make their reserve – Basquiat’s Big Snow (est. £3.5-4.5M), Glenn Brown’s Declining Nude (£700-1M – strange title for a half-length portrait of an old bearded man who is wearing clothing), Wool’s Untitled (est. £3-5M – not sure how you tell one Untitled from another) and Kiefer’s Des Herbstes Runengespinst (est. £800-1.2M) .
By evening’s end, of the 43 works offered, 39 sold, giving them a pretty strong 91% sell-through rate. The total take was £69.1M ($87.6M) and the presale estimate range was £58-82.8M, so they made it with the buyer’s premium added in.