London Evening Auction of Contemporary Art realised £69,461,000 / $100,447,552 / 89,827,274.
The sale was led by Lucian Freuds modern-day Venus, Pregnant Girl from 1960-1 that sold for £16.1 million / $23.2 million, setting a new record for an early painting by the artist.
· The fourth-highest price for the artist at auction (in £)
· More than £9 million above the pre-sale low estimate (£7-10 million).
· Pursued by no fewer than six bidders, the work is one of the artists most tender paintings - a portrait of his lover, the 17-year-old Bernadine Coverley, pregnant with their daughter, the internationally-renowned fashion designer Bella Freud.
· Had been in the same collection for 30+ years.
A new record was set for Alberto Burri this evening when Sacco e Rosso (c. 1959) sold for £9.1 million / $13.2 million.
· Nearly doubling the previous auction record for the artist (£4.7m set in February 2014). Five years ago, Burris record was just £1.9m.
· This work last sold at auction in 2007 for £1.9m / $3.8m.
· A highlight of the 2015 Guggenheim retrospective.
· The result now places the market for Burri alongside other post-war Italian contemporary masters: Piero Manzonis (rec. £12.6m) and Lucio Fontana (rec. £19.3m).
· Pre-sale estimate £9-12 million.
A new record was set for Adrian Ghenie when the colossal van-Gogh inspired Sunflowers in 1937 (2014) soared over estimate to £3.1 million / $4.5 million.
· More than double the previous auction record for the artist (£1.4m set at Sothebys, June 2014).
· Sothebys now holds the top three prices for the artist at auction.
· Pre-sale estimate £400,000-600,000.
Depth of bidding across broad range of artists and schools:
· Nine bidders (inc. Asian) for Adrain Ghenies Sunflowers in 1937 (see above).
· Six bidders (inc. Asian and Russian) for Lucian Freuds Pregnant Girl (see above).
· Five bidders for Mike Kelleys self-portrait work on paper, Visceral Egg (1994). Sold for £245,000 / $354,294 (est. £80,000-120,000).
· Five bidders for Günther Förgs untitled work from 1989. Sold for £389,000 / $562,533 (est. £180,000-220,000). These works have been in exhibitions both at White Cube, London, and Skarstedt Gallery, New York, in 2015.
· Four bidders for Gebirge, the first Gerhard Richter mountain scape to come up at auction since 2008. Sold for £1.5 million / $2.2 million (est. £800,000- £1.2 million).
· Six bidders for Ai Wei Weis iconoclastic photograph Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn. Sold for £755,000 / $1.1 million (est. £150,000-200,000). Another version of the same photograph featured in the Royal Academy show in 2015. The last time a work from the same edition appeared at auction in 2008, it sold for just under £50,000 a fifteenth of todays price.
Artists offered for the first time in London tonight:
· Cheyney Thompson: Chronochrome XIII from 2009 (the first work by the artist to appear at auction in Europe), sold for an above estimate £197,000 / $284,882 (est. £70,000-90,000) Richard Diebenkorn: an untitled work on paper from 1976 (the first work by the artist to appear at auction in Europe) sold for an above estimate £269,000 / $389,001 (est. £120,000-180,000)
· Chung Sang-Hwa: Untitled 81-5 from 1981-5 (the artists first work offered at auction outside Asia) also sold for an above estimate £269,000 / $389,001 (est. £200,000-300,000)