Auction Results: Contemporary Curated, March 15, 2016 @Sotheby’s London

The results for the photography included in Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated sale in London last week were generally uneven. At the extremes, the top end photo lots bought in at a rate of 60% and many of the lower priced offerings sold well below their estimates, with no reserves to hold them up. In the middle, there was more solidity, which helped bring the Total Sale Proceeds in near the bottom end of the aggregate pre-sale estimate range. And once again, there was strong demand for Gerhard Richter’s photographic multiples of his own paintings, seemingly irrespective of their large edition sizes.

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

Summary Statistics
Total Lots 33
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate £225800
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate £325100
Total Lots Sold 26
Total Lots Bought In 7
Buy In % 21.21%
Total Sale Proceeds £214346

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 16
Total Low Lots Sold 13
Total Low Lots Bought In 3
Low Buy In % 18.75%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots £40100
Total Proceeds from Low Lots £23096
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 £110000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots £142500
Total High Lots 5
Total High Lots Sold 2
Total High Lots Bought In 3
High Buy In % 60.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots £175000
Total Proceeds from High Lots £48750

The top photography lot by High estimate was tied between two lots: lot 58, Thomas Ruff, Substrat 29 III, 2006, and lot 108, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Water Towers, 1966-1973, both estimated at £30000-40000 (images in preview post). The Ruff work was the top photography outcome of the sale at £31250, while the work by the Bechers did not sell.

61.54% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 5 positive surprises in the sales (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate) (images above via Sotheby’s):

Lot 47, Hannah Collins, Grapes, 1989-2015, estimated at £800-1200, sold at £3125

Lot 56, Gerhard Richter, Haggadah (P2), 2014, estimated at £4000-6000, sold at £25000

Lot 57, Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild (P1), 2014, estimated at £4000-6000, sold at £25000

Lot 95, Tom Hunter, Woman Reading a Possession Order, 1997, estimated at £4000-6000, sold at £12500 (image in preview post)

Lot 107, James Turrell, Site Plan Roden Crater, 1990, estimated at £3000-4000, sold at £8125

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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Read more about: Gerhard Richter, Hannah Collins, James Turrell, Tom Hunter, Sotheby's

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