Auction Results: A Show of Hands: Photographs from the Collection of Henry Buhl, December 12 and 13, 2012 @Sotheby’s

The results of the Buhl collection sale at Sotheby’s earlier this week were marked by a mix of highs and lows. On the high side, the Total Sale Proceeds covered the Total High Estimate, and new auction records were set for Herbert Bayer, El Lissitzky, Lee Miller, Peter Hujar, and Helen Levitt, with additional records for photographs by Man Ray and Gabriel Orozco. There were lots of positive surprises, and more than 38% of the lots sold for above the estimate range. On the low side, the Buy-In Rate of nearly 35% was quite high, meaning that many of the more esoteric and unknown hand pictures failed to find buyers. All in, probably about what we might have expected for such a broad collection.

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

Summary Statistics
Total Lots 432
Pre Sale Low Total Estimate $8119600
Pre Sale High Total Estimate $12157500
Total Lots Sold 281
Total Lots Bought In 151
Buy In % 34.95%
Total Sale Proceeds $12318704

Here is the breakdown (using the Low, Mid, and High definitions from the preview post):

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 270
Low Sold 166
Low Bought In 104
Low Buy In % 38.52%
Total Low Estimate $1560500
Total Low Sold $973329
Mid Total Lots 116
Mid Sold 78
Mid Bought In 38
Mid Buy In % 32.76%
Total Mid Estimate $2387000
Total Mid Sold $2046500
Total High Lots 46
High Sold 37
High Bought In 9
High Buy In % 19.57%
Total High Estimate $8210000
Total High Sold $9298875

The top lot by High estimate was lot 33, Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe – Hands and Thimble, 1919, at $800000-1200000; it sold for $770500. The top outcome of the sale was tied between lot 12, Herbert Bayer, Lonely Metropolitan, 1932, at $300000-500000 and lot 20, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Fotogramm, 1925, at $300000-500000; both sold for $1482500. (All three images are displayed in the preview post, linked above.)

82.21% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range. There were a total of 37 surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate). Normally, these would be enough to hold our attention, but within this group, there were a total of 8 extreme surprises (defined as having proceeds of at least triple the high estimate); these are listed below:

Lot 9, Man Ray, Mannequin Fatigué, 1926, at $314500 (image at right, middle, via Sotheby’s)

Lot 47, Edward Weston, Charis at Lake Ediza, 1937, at $62500

Lot 82, Gabriel Orozco, Mis Manos Son Mi Corazon, 1991, at $278500 (image at right, top, via Sotheby’s)

Lot 178, Georges Hugnet, Arms and Canal, 1936, at $28125 (image at right, bottom, via Sotheby’s)

Lot 180, Man Ray, Meret Oppenheim at the Printing Wheel, 1933, at $98500

Lot 344, Kenneth Josephson, New York State, 1970, at $11250

Lot 424, Robert Mapplethorpe, Nude Self-Portrait, 1973, at $43750

Lot 427, Larry Gianettino, Blood Finger (AKA Self-Portrait in Blood), 2000, at $8750

Complete lot by lot results can be found here.

Gabriel Orozco, Georges Hugnet, Man Ray, Sotheby's

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