Auction Results: Photographie, July 9, 2020 @Grisebach

The summary statistics from the Photographie sale at Grisebach in Berlin last week would have us believe that nothing much out of the ordinary occurred at this sale. The overall Buy-In rate topped 42%, the top lot found a buyer within its estimate range, and the Total Sale Proceeds (of roughly €575K) came in just above the low end of the aggregate pre-sale estimate range.

Where things got interesting was in what we call the “positive surprises”. These are the lots that for some reason perform much better than expected, doubling (or more) their high estimate. In this sale, while the overall results were underwhelming, there were 16 positive surprises to help prop up the numbers. A Werner Mantz print went for 7.9X its high, a group of Karl Blossfeldt prints went for 6.6X their high, an Otto Steinert print went for 5.9X its high, an Ilse Bing print went for 5.6X its high, a William Eggleston print went for 5.4X its high, two Richard Oelze prints went for 4.1X their respective highs, and an Ellen Von Unwerth print went for 3.9X its high. These (and others) are the outliers that intrigue us most, as we wonder what made the bidders stretch so much further than “normal” (something the auctioneers missed? a rare or singularly exquisite print? deliberately low estimates to encourage bidding? an increased interest in an artist?). Why this particular sale had so many, especially in these strained times, remains a mystery.

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

Summary Statistics
Total Lots 177
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate €524500
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate €733400
Total Lots Sold 101
Total Lots Bought In 76
Buy In % 42.94%
Total Sale Proceeds €576799

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 157
Total Low Lots Sold 93
Total Low Lots Bought In 64
Low Buy In % 40.76%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots €499400
Total Proceeds from Low Lots €454299
Mid Total Lots 20
Total Mid Lots Sold 8
Total Mid Lots Bought In 12
Mid Buy In % 60.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots €234000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots €122500
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 lot by High estimate was lot 2049, Peter Beard, Andy Warhol for his Birthday, 1975, estimated at €20000-25000; it sold at €25000. The top outcome of the sale was lot 2083, Werner Mantz, House of the Cologne Newspaper at the international press exhibition ‘Pressa’ at night, Cologne, 1928, estimated at €4000-6000, sold at €47500 (image above, via Grisebach).

97.03% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 16 positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate) (images above, via Grisebach):

Lot 2004, Horst P. Horst, Hands, Hands, Hands, New York, 1941/later, estimated at €3000-5000, sold at €15000

Lot 2009, Koyo Okada, Kohan-no Haru, Spring on the shores of Lake Motosu, view on Mount Fuji, 1935, estimated at €800-1000, sold at €3000

Lot 2025, Ellen Von Unwerth, Isabelle, from the series “Revenge“, 2002/2003, estimated at €2500-3000, sold at €11875

Lot 2055, Richard Oelze, “Doppelbildnis“, 1925, estimated at €1000-1500, sold at €6250

Lot 2056, Richard Oelze, “Selbstbild“, 1925, estimated at €1000-1500, sold at €6250

Lot 2083, Werner Mantz, House of the Cologne Newspaper at the international press exhibition ‘Pressa’ at night, Cologne, 1928, estimated at €4000-6000, sold at €47500

Lot 2095, William Eggleston, Rowan Oak Oxford Miss.[issippi]“, 1982, estimated at €2000-3000, sold at €16250

Lot 2098, Ilse Bing, Frankfurt, 1930, estimated at €800-1000, sold at €5625

Lot 2099, Ruth Bernhard, Telegraph Wires, 1953/1963, estimated at €1200-1600, sold at €3375

Lot 2102, Ruth Hallensleben, “Henrichshütte Hattingen, Gasreinigungsanlage“ / Rheinpreussen, Homberg, “Gasometer“ / “Schmöle Menden“, 1950s, estimated at €1200-1800, sold at €5500

Lot 2107, Adolf Lazi, Office and commercial building ‘Zeppelinbau’, Lautenschlagerstraße, with a view on the ‘Kleine Schalterhalle’ at the train station, Stuttgart. Architect: Paul Bonatz, c1931, estimated at €700-900, sold at €1875

Lot 2137, Bob Adelman, Comforted by a Daycare Worker, Harlem, New York City, 1978, estimated at €1000-1200, sold at €2875

Lot 2147, Guido Mangold, “Beerdigung J.F. Kennedy, Arlington Nov. 1963. Jackie K., Robert K., Mutter Rose Kennedy“, 1963/later, estimated at €800-1000, sold at €3500

Lot 2148, Ralph Gibson, From the series “San Francisco“, 1961/later, estimated at €1000-1500, sold at €3125

Lot 2165, Otto Steinert, “Aggression II“, 1966, estimated at €3500-5500, sold at €32500

Lot 2174, Karl Blossfeldt, Selection (24 prints), 1915-1925/1988-1990, estimated at €5000-7000, sold at €46250

Complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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Read more about: Adolf Lazi, Bob Adelman, Ellen von Unwerth, Guido Mangold, Horst P. Horst, Ilse Bing, Karl Blossfeldt, Kōyō Okada, Otto Steinert, Ralph Gibson, Richard Oelze, Ruth Bernhard, Ruth Hallensleben, Werner Mantz, William Eggleston, Villa Grisebach Auktionen

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