Auction Results: Contemporary Art, December 18, 2020 @Sotheby’s

Simply put, the top photography offerings included in Sotheby’s recent Contemporary Art Day online sale failed to sell, thereby torpedoing the overall photo results. Both top lots, and the next in line in terms of high estimate, passed, and while there were two positive surprises (both Valie Export vintage prints from the 1970s), they weren’t enough to keep the Total Sale Proceeds for photography (of just $170K) from falling below the low end of the aggregate pre-sale estimate range.

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

Summary Statistics
Total Lots 18
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $276000
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $403000
Total Lots Sold 13
Total Lots Bought In 5
Buy In % 27.78%
Total Sale Proceeds $169470

Here is the breakdown (using our usual Low, Mid, and High price tier definitions):

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 9
Total Low Lots Sold 8
Total Low Lots Bought In 1
Low Buy In % 11.11%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $48000
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $74970
Mid Total Lots 6
Total Mid Lots Sold 5
Total Mid Lots Bought In 1
Mid Buy In % 16.67%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $155000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $94500
Total High Lots 3
Total High Lots Sold 0
Total High Lots Bought In 3
High Buy In % 100.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $200000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $0

The top photography lot by High estimate was tied between two lots, each estimated at $50000-70000: lot 130, Andreas Gursky, Centre Pompidou, 1995, and lot 201, Ashley Bickerton, The Expats, 2004; neither lot found a buyer. The top photography outcome of the sale fell to lot 107, Vik Muniz, 20th Century Fox, A Partir de Ed Ruscha [20th Century Fox, After Ed Ruscha], 2008, estimated at $30000-50000, sold at $35280 (image above, via Sotheby’s.)

69.23% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of two positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate) (images above, via Sotheby’s):

Lot 191, Valie Export, ‘Auflegung’ (Laid Over) (from Körperkonfigurationen (Body Configurations)), 1972, estimated at $6000-8000, sold at $22680

Lot 194, Valie Export, ‘Der Mensch Als Ornament’ (The Human as Ornament (from Körperkonfigurationen (Body Configurations)), 1976, estimated at $6000-8000, sold at $18900

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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Read more about: Valie Export, Vik Muniz, Sotheby's

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