Auction Results: Contemporary Art Evening and Day Sales, May 12 and 13, 2009 @Sotheby’s

Perhaps the prevailing art market story of the past year has been the effect of the economic crisis on contemporary art buyers and sellers, with the collapse of prices, the retrenching of galleries and the shotgun deaccessioning of artworks by museums to raise cash all as subplots with their own twists and turns. And while it is too early to call a bottom, the photography buried in Sotheby’s pair of Contemporary Art sales performed just fine thank you, with over $4 million of proceeds (in the estimate range), an acceptable buy in rate, and a solid percentage of lots selling above their estimates. Given that the work in this sale did not reach the upper most levels of quality, this was certainly a positive outcome, and perhaps a sign that a new equilibrium is being found.

The summary statistics are below:

Total Photography Lots: 52
Pre Sale Low Total Estimate: $3813000
Pre Sale High Total Estimate: $5337000

Total Lots Sold: 38
Total Lots Bought In: 14
Buy In %: 26.92%
Total Sale Proceeds: $4228900

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

Low Total Lots: 0
Low Sold: NA
Low Bought In: NA
Buy In %: NA
Total Low Estimate: NA
Total Low Sold: NA

Mid Total Lots: 29
Mid Sold: 21
Mid Bought In: 8
Buy In %: 27.59%
Total Mid Estimate: $877000
Total Mid Sold: $567500

High Total Lots: 23
High Sold: 17
High Bought In: 6
Buy In %: 26.09%
Total High Estimate: $4460000
Total High Sold: $3661400

92.11% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range, with 31.58% above. There were only two surprises (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate) in this sale: lot 305, JR, Favela Morro Da Providencia at $25000 and lot 450, Barbara Kruger, Untitled (Open Wide) at $146500.

Complete lot by lot results can be found here and here.

1334 York Avenue at 72nd St
New York, NY 10021

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