Auction Results: 21st Century Evening, 20th Century Evening, and Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Sales, May 11, 13, and 14, 2021 @Christie’s

As part of the spring auction season for Contemporary Art, Christie’s rolled out a new set of definitions for what works it thinks fit in which categories, and built a series of three sales around those new definitions. The 21st Century Evening sale consisted of works from 1980 to the present; the 20th Century Evening sale was made up of works between 1880 and 1980, and the Post-War and Contemporary Art Day sale was a grab bag which cut across the time periods at lower price points.

Photographically, the top lot came in the 21st century sale, in the form of a Richard Prince cowboy print, which jumped to to nearly $2.2M, the largest amount paid for a photograph at auction since 2017. Interestingly, there were no photographs included in the 20th century sale at all, with most of the photographs on offer pushed down into the PWCA sale. Buoyed by the Prince print, the photographs available across the three sales performed well, with a Buy-In rate under 27%. When the dust settled, the Total Sale Proceeds for photography topped $3.5M, just above the high end of the aggregate pre-sale estimate range.


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

Summary Statistics
Total Lots 15
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $2425000
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $3525000
Total Lots Sold 11
Total Lots Bought In 4
Buy In % 26.67%
Total Sale Proceeds $3541250

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 0
Total Low Lots Sold NA
Total Low Lots Bought In NA
Low Buy In % NA
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $0
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $0
Mid Total Lots 4
Total Mid Lots Sold 3
Total Mid Lots Bought In 1
Mid Buy In % 25.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $145000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $132500
Total High Lots 11
Total High Lots Sold 8
Total High Lots Bought In 3
High Buy In % 27.27%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $3380000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $3408750

The top photography lot by High estimate was lot 19A, Richard Prince, Untitled (Cowboy), 2000, estimated at $1000000-1500000; it was also the top photography outcome of the sales at $2190000 (image above, via Christie’s).

90.91% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there was just one positive surprise in the sales (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate) (image above, via Christie’s):

Lot 231, Robert Mapplethorpe, Grace Jones, 1984, estimated at $20000-30000, sold at $60000

The complete lot by lot results can be found here (21C Evening), here (20C Evening), and here (PWCA Day).

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Read more about: Richard Prince, Robert Mapplethorpe, Christie's

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