Auction Results: Contemporary Photographs (online), October 7, 2022 @Sotheby’s

The sluggishness that has dampened the results of several of the photography sales this fall season continued during the Contemporary Photographs sale at Sotheby’s last week. The top lot Wolfgang Tillmans abstractions both sold, but an overall Buy-In rate above 40% muted the rest of the action. When the dust settled, the Total Sale Proceeds (of roughly $1.1M) came in underneath 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 73
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $1415000
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $2166000
Total Lots Sold 43
Total Lots Bought In 30
Buy In % 41.10%
Total Sale Proceeds $1136016

Here is the breakdown (using our typical Low, Mid, and High definitions):

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 26
Total Low Lots Sold 14
Total Low Lots Bought In 12
Low Buy In % 46.15%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $199000
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $77616
Mid Total Lots 37
Total Mid Lots Sold 22
Total Mid Lots Bought In 15
Mid Buy In % 40.54%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $937000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $453600
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 $1030000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $604800

The top lot by High estimate was tied between two lots, both estimated at $150000-250000: lot 208, Wolfgang Tillmans, Freischwimmer 117, 2007, and lot 211, Wolfgang Tillmans, Freischwimmer 200, 2012; the yellow and green Tillmans abstraction took the top lot honors at $201600 (image above via Sotheby’s), while the white and blue Tillmans abstraction sold at $138600.

76.74% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there was just 1 positive surprise in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate) (image above via Sotheby’s):

Lot 201, Wolfgang Tillmans, Kate with Broccoli, 1996, estimated at $15000-25000, sold at $50400

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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