The two-day sale of The Robert Devereux Collection of Post-War British Art at Sothebys
in London concluded this afternoon having realised a remarkable total of £4,730,101 / US$7,603,489 - a figure well above the pre-sale expectations of £2,409,250-3,550,750. The three selling sessions of 329 lots in total established an overall sell-through rate of 95% by lot as well as a clutch of new artist records. Proceeds from the sale will go towards The African Arts Trust, a charitable organisation that Robert Devereux - a former partner in Richard Bransons Virgin Empire - is in the process of establishing to support the arts in Africa.
All three sales saw buyers - both established and new to Sothebys - out in force and at least half of the works that were sold achieved prices that were in excess of their high estimate. There were multiple bidders on the majority of the lots, with bids coming from all over the world. Many new buyers to Sothebys enjoyed the no reserve element and accessible price levels of Sale 3.
The Robert Devereux collection showcased the exceptional talent of British artists over the last 60 years, from the ground-breaking British artists of the 1950s through to a younger generation of artists working today, many of whom have made their auction debut over the last two days.
An art lover in the truest sense, Robert Devereux has spent an increasing amount of time in Africa over the last ten years and has become increasingly engaged with its art and its artists. Given the challenges and struggles that he sees so many of them face he has decided to establish The African Arts Trust, a charity that will support local grass roots arts organisations as well as work directly with artists to try and give them opportunities to establish their careers. The money raised over the last two days will help Robert launch this charity.
Highlights of Sale 1 (Wednesday 3 November at 7pm):
This sale brought £3,046,050 against an estimate of £1.3-2 million. This total surpassed the low estimate for the entire sale.
49 out of the 50 lots offered were sold.
Sean Scullys Wall of Light Orange Green, 2005 was the top-selling lot of the sale and of the entire collection. Pursued by four determined bidders it comfortably exceeded its pre-sale high estimate of £350,000 to sell for £565,250.
Six new auction records were established - for Bryan Wynter, Roger Hilton, Sandra Blow, Ian Davenport, Francis Davidson and Mary Martin.
Works by Alice Neel, Patrick Heron, Leon Kossoff and Sir Terry Frost also saw strong competition and performed particularly well.
Julian Opies iconic Damon, Singer from 2000 almost doubled its estimate when it sold for £67,250 (estimate was £25,000-35,000).
Highlights of Sale 2 (Thursday 4 November at 10:30am):
Continuing the success of Sale 1, this sale brought £1,394,540 against an estimate of £899,400-1,331,500.
Sell through rates of 90% by lot and 93% by value.
The top-selling lot of this sale was Victor Pasmores Abstract in White, Black, Red & Cedar, which fetched £67,250 well in excess of the estimate of £15,000-25,000.
Highlights of Sale 3 (Thursday 4 November at 2:30pm):
This sale brought £289,511, above pre-sale expectations of £142,850-214,150.
It was 100% sold by lot and value.
Virtually half of the lots sold achieved prices in excess of their pre-sale high estimate.
Prices in this sale ranged from a very accessible £50 to £20,000.
Talking about the results Frances Christie, Director of 20th Century British Art at Sothebys, stated after the sale: It has been a real honour to work with Robert on this very special sale, and we are delighted to have played a part in achieving such an incredible sum for The African Arts Trust, as well as to have set so many new benchmarks for Post-war British Art. The interest in the sale has been phenomenal from start to finish and it has come from all over the world.
* Pre-sale estimates do not include buyers premium