Auction Results: Contemporary Art Evening and Day Auctions, November 15 and 16, 2023 @Sotheby’s

While there was plenty of photographic value on offer at the recent run of Contemporary sales at Sotheby’s in New York last week, the results were largely muted. After no photo lots in the Now evening sale and one high priced Diane Arbus withdrawal before the Contemporary day sale began, the action got started, with two photo lots topping the $1M mark (works by Gerhard Richter and John Baldessari). The overall Buy-In rate for photography hovered near 10% and there were a few positive surprises, but the Total Sale Proceeds for photography (of roughly $4.9M) still came in 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 28
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $5289000
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $7738000
Total Lots Sold 25
Total Lots Bought In 3
Buy In % 10.71%
Total Sale Proceeds $4879721

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 2
Total Low Lots Sold 2
Total Low Lots Bought In 0
Low Buy In % 0.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $16000
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $22225
Mid Total Lots 12
Total Mid Lots Sold 11
Total Mid Lots Bought In 1
Mid Buy In % 8.33%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $312000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $435356
Total High Lots 14
Total High Lots Sold 12
Total High Lots Bought In 2
High Buy In % 14.29%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $7410000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $4422140

The top photography lot by High estimate was lot 144, Gerhard Richter, Strip, 2015, estimated at $2000000-3000000; it was also the top photography outcome of the sales at $1270000 (image above, via Sotheby’s.)

76.00% 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 Sotheby’s):

Lot 245, Robert Mapplethorpe, Untitled (self-portrait), c1973, estimated at $8000-12000, sold at $48260

Lot 434, Andy Warhol, Untitled (meats and poultry), 1976-1986, estimated at $30000-40000, sold at $120650

Lot 459, Louise Lawler, Untitled (Gold Jackie), 1993, estimated at $20000-30000, sold at $60960

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

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Read more about: Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter, Louise Lawler, Robert Mapplethorpe, Sotheby's

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