Auction Results: 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening, Morning, and Afternoon Sales, December 7 and 8, 2020 @Phillips

For the third time in a month, the top photography lot at a major contemporary art sale was withdrawn. This time the missing headliner was a Barbara Kruger work at Phillips’ 20th Century & Contemporary Art sales in New York, creating an unmistakable pattern of softness in recent market history. With the Kruger work gone, the top lot honors fell to a Wolfgang Tillmans abstraction, which sold above its estimate range. In general, the photography included in the sales performed solidly, with a Buy-In rate under 25% and a few positive surprises. In the end, the Total Sale Proceeds for photography (of just over $1M) fell squarely in the middle of the aggregate pre-sale estimate range.

The summary statistics are below (all results include the buyer’s premium):

Summary Statistics
Total Lots 29
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $880000
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $1264000
Total Lots Sold 22
Total Lots Bought In 7
Buy In % 24.14%
Total Sale Proceeds $1009181

Here is the breakdown (using our typical Low, Mid, and High definitions):

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 4
Total Low Lots Sold 4
Total Low Lots Bought In 0
Low Buy In % 0.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $25000
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $41580
Mid Total Lots 17
Total Mid Lots Sold 11
Total Mid Lots Bought In 6
Mid Buy In % 35.29%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $339000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $318701
Total High Lots 8
Total High Lots Sold 7
Total High Lots Bought In 1
High Buy In % 12.50%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $900000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $648900

The top photography lot by High estimate was lot 508, Wolfgang Tillmans, Freischwimmer 206, 2012, estimated at $180000-220000; it was also the top photography outcome of the sales at $226800 (image above, via Phillips).

90.91% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 3 positive surprises in the sales (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate)(images above via Phillips):

Lot 500, Lutz Bacher, JOKES, Barry Goldwater (It’s a Great Country), 1987, estimated at $8000-12000, sold at $35280

Lot 514, Dawoud Bey, Monique II, 1999, estimated at $7000-10000, sold at $26460

Lot 517, Kehinde Wiley, Two works: (i) After El Greco’s (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) The Annunciation; (ii) After George Romney’s Elizabeth Warren as Hebe, 2009, estimated at $10000-15000, sold at $47880

The complete lot by lot results can be found here (Evening), here (Morning), and here (Afternoon).

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Read more about: Dawoud Bey, Kehinde Wiley, Lutz Bacher, Wolfgang Tillmans, Phillips

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