Auction Results: Contemporary Evening and Day Auctions, May 18 and 19, 2023 @Sotheby’s

The results for the photography included in the Contemporary sales at Sotheby’s in New York last week were generally underwhelming. After no photo lots in the Now evening sale and two high priced withdrawals before the Contemporary day sale began, the rest of the photography plodded along, with the top lot Richard Prince girlfriend selling below its estimate range. The overall Buy-In rate for photography was a respectable 2o%, but with no positive surprises to build some momentum in the right direction, the Total Sale Proceeds for photography (of roughly $1.7M) 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 15
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $2095000
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $2905000
Total Lots Sold 12
Total Lots Bought In 3
Buy In % 20.00%
Total Sale Proceeds $1685290

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 0
Total Low Lots Sold NA
Total Low Lots Bought In NA
Low Buy In % NA
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $0
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $0
Mid Total Lots 5
Total Mid Lots Sold 5
Total Mid Lots Bought In 0
Mid Buy In % 0.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $105000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $97790
Total High Lots 10
Total High Lots Sold 7
Total High Lots Bought In 3
High Buy In % 30.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $2800000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $1587500

The top photography lot by High estimate was lot 861, Richard Prince, Untitled (Girlfriend), 1993, estimated at $600000-800000; it was also the top photography outcome of the sales at $571500 (image above, via Sotheby’s.)

83.33% 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 (Evening) and here (Day).

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