Auction Results: Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening, Morning, and Afternoon Sales, May 17 and 18, 2017 @Christie’s

A hand-colored 1930s portrait by Man Ray provided the main photographic headlines at Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art sales in New York last week. Soaring to $2.1M, the print drove what turned out to be an extremely strong showing for the available photography. All 11 of the photo lots with high estimates of $200K or higher found buyers, and 10 of them did so above their pre-sale ranges. While there were few surprises, this consistency at the top end led to Total Sale Proceeds for the photography that flirted with $10M, far in excess the aggregate estimates.

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

Summary Statistics
Total Lots 43
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $5204000
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $7448000
Total Lots Sold 34
Total Lots Bought In 9
Buy In % 20.93%
Total Sale Proceeds $9776750

Here is the breakdown (using the Low, Mid, and High definitions from the preview post):

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 2
Total Low Lots Sold 1
Total Low Lots Bought In 1
Low Buy In % 50.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $18000
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $5000
Mid Total Lots 10
Total Mid Lots Sold 5
Total Mid Lots Bought In 5
Mid Buy In % 50.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $300000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $181250
Total High Lots 31
Total High Lots Sold 28
Total High Lots Bought In 3
High Buy In % 9.68%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $7130000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $9590500

The top photography lot by High estimate was tied between two lots: lot 16B, Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #21, 1978, and lot 752, Andreas Gursky, Rimini, 2003, both estimated at $500000-700000 (images in preview post). The Sherman print sold for $871500 and the Gursky print sold for $847500, but the top photography outcome of the sales was lot 7B, Man Ray, Portrait of a Tearful Woman, 1936, estimated at $400000-600000, sold at $2167500 (image above, via Christie’s).

85.29% 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):

Lot 7B, Man Ray, Portrait of a Tearful Woman, 1936, estimated at $400000-600000, sold at $2167500

The complete lot by lot results can be found here (Evening), here (Morning), and here (Afternoon).

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