Auction Results: Contemporary Discoveries (online) and Modern Discoveries (online), July 19 and 20, 2023 @Sotheby’s

It was a relatively bleak pair of outings for the photography included in the recent Contemporary Discoveries and Modern Discoveries online sales at Sotheby’s last week. The top lot Jeff Wall print didn’t sell, nor did the next highest value photo lot (a Matthew Barney print), eventually dropping to lots in the $10K range for the top lot honors. While the overall Buy-In rate for photography was respectably under 20%, there were no positive surprises and an overly heavy dose of lots selling under their estimate ranges. In the end, the Total Sale Proceeds for photography were less than $85K, les than half 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 23
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $174500
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $260500
Total Lots Sold 19
Total Lots Bought In 4
Buy In % 17.29%
Total Sale Proceeds $84709

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 17
Total Low Lots Sold 16
Total Low Lots Bought In 1
Low Buy In % 5.88%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $113500
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $52324
Mid Total Lots 5
Total Mid Lots Sold 3
Total Mid Lots Bought In 2
Mid Buy In % 40.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $87000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $32385
Total High Lots 1
Total High Lots Sold 0
Total High Lots Bought In 1
High Buy In % 100.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $60000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $0

The top photography lot by High estimate was lot 154, Jeff Wall, River Road, 1994, estimated at $40000-60000; it did not sell. The top photography outcome in the sales was tied between two lots: lot 157, Anne Collier, Woman With a Camera (Candice Bergen/Minolta #2), 2008, and lot 308, Massimo Vitali, Viareggio Tuffo, 1995, both estimated at $10000-15000, and both sold at $12700 (images above, via Sotheby’s.)

A paltry 36.84% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were no positive surprises in the sales (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate).

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

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Read more about: Anne Collier, Massimo Vitali, Sotheby's

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