Auction Results: Contemporary Discoveries and Modern Discoveries, March 15 and 16, 2023 @Sotheby’s (online)

Softness in the middle price tier dampened the photography results from the recent Contemporary Discoveries and Modern Discoveries online sales at Sotheby’s last week. The top lot Thomas Demand print sold way under its estimate range, giving way to a Hiroshi Sugimoto seascape for the top lot honors. With an overall Buy-In rate for photography of roughly 25%, the Total Sale Proceeds for photography (of roughly $155K) fell well 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 27
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $239000
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $359000
Total Lots Sold 20
Total Lots Bought In 7
Buy In % 25.93%
Total Sale Proceeds $156591

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 14
Total Low Lots Sold 13
Total Low Lots Bought In 1
Low Buy In % 7.14%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $79000
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $53086
Mid Total Lots 13
Total Mid Lots Sold 7
Total Mid Lots Bought In 6
Mid Buy In % 46.15%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $280000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $103505
Total High Lots 0
Total High Lots Sold NA
Total High Lots Bought In NA
High Buy In % NA
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $0
Total Proceeds from High Lots $0

The top photography lot by High estimate was lot 488, Thomas Demand, Flur (Corridor), 1996, estimated at $30000-50000; it sold at $12700. The top photography outcome in the sales was lot 548, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Celtic Sea, Boscastle, 1999, estimated at $15000-25000, sold at $22860 (image above, via Sotheby’s.)

70.00% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there was just 1 positive surprise in the sales (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate) (image above, via Sothebys):

Lot 827, Arthur Leipzig, Divers, East River, 1948/later, estimated at $2000-3000, sold at $6985

The complete lot by lot results can be found here (Contemporary) and here (Modern).

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Read more about: Arthur Leipzig, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Sotheby's

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