Auction Results: Contemporary Art Evening and Day Auctions, May 12 and 13, 2015 @Sotheby’s

The failure to find a buyer for the top photo lot (Cindy Sherman) and an overly large Buy-In rate for photography (near 40%) combined to dampen the results at Sotheby’s recent Contemporary Art sales in New York. Even with a handful of positive surprises, the Total Sale Proceeds for photography fell below the pre-sale estimate range. With this as a backdrop, the most intriguing data point was the relentless push upward for Cory Arcangel’s one click Photoshop gradients – the one on offer here sold for nearly 6 times its high estimate.

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

Summary Statistics
Total Lots 48
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $6810000
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $9943000
Total Lots Sold 29
Total Lots Bought In 19
Buy In % 39.58%
Total Sale Proceeds $5923750

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 1
Total Low Lots Sold 0
Total Low Lots Bought In 1
Low Buy In % 100.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $8000
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $0
Mid Total Lots 15
Total Mid Lots Sold 8
Total Mid Lots Bought In 7
Mid Buy In % 46.67%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $475000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $227500
Total High Lots 32
Total High Lots Sold 21
Total High Lots Bought In 11
High Buy In % 34.38%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $9460000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $5696250

The top photographic lot by High estimate was lot 54, Cindy Sherman, Untitled #153, 1985, estimated at $2000000-3000000; it did not sell. The top photographic outcome was lot 52, Thomas Struth, Pantheon, Rome, 1990, estimated at $800000-1200000, sold at $1810000 (image in preview post).

93.10% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 7 positive surprises in the sales (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate) (images above via Sotheby’s):

Lot 224, Andy Warhol, Self Portraits in Drag (6 Works), 1980-1982, estimated at $70000-90000, sold at $274000

Lot 404, Barbara Kruger, Untitled (Provenance), 2015, estimated at $120000-180000, sold at $394000

Lot 437, Cory Arcangel, Photoshop CS: 110 by 72 inches, 300 DPI, RGB, Square Pixels…, 2008, estimated at $40000-60000, sold for $358000 (image in preview post)

Lot 470, Louise Lawler, Warhol/Marilyn (Blue), 1988, estimated at $1000090-150000, sold at $322000

Lot 472, Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #24, 1978, estimated at $70000-90000, sold at $237500

Lot 474, Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #28, 1979, estimated at $60000-80000, sold at $162500

Lot 558, Thomas Ruff, Stern 16H30M/-50 degrees, 1989, estimated at $60000-80000, sold at $187500

The complete lot by lot results can be found here (Evening) and here (Day).

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Read more about: Andy Warhol, Barbara Kruger, Cindy Sherman, Cory Arcangel, Louise Lawler, Thomas Ruff, Sotheby's

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