NEW YORK.- Sothebys evening sale of Contemporary Art brought $125,132,800 (est. $109.3/148.1 million*), the second highest total ever for the category at Sothebys, and set a record for a masterpiece by Francis Bacon when Version No. 2 of Lying Figure with Hypodermic Syringe sold for $15,024,000 (est. $9/12 million) to an anonymous buyer. The painting was a cornerstone of the The Vanthournout Collection, a single-owner sequence of sculpture and paintings from a private collection in Belgium, which brought $42,146,400 (est. $25.9/35.3 million) and was 100% sold by lot and value. Fifteen artist records were achieved this evening, including those for Francis Bacon, Piero Manzoni, Anish Kapoor, Carl Andre, Robert Mangold, Dan Flavin, Isamu Noguchi, Barnaby Furnas and Joseph Albers.
Tobias Meyer, Sothebys Worldwide Head of Contemporary Art, said: Were thrilled with the result of this evenings sale, which was the second highest total for an evening sale of Contemporary Art in the companys history. There was very global bidding tonight, both American and European, and fifteen artist records were established.
Anthony Grant, Sothebys international senior specialist of Contemporary Art, continued: The market responded with broad-based support to our carefully-composed sale, with works by Pop, Minimalist, Abstract Expressionist and Arte Povera artists.
The Vanthournout Collection
Highlighting the Vanthournout Collection, which commanded $42,146,400 (est. $25.9/35.3 million) and was 100% sold by value and lot, was one of the Vanthournouts earliest acquisitions, a Francis Bacon masterpiece, Version No. 2 of Lying Figure with Hypodermic Syringe, 1968, which sold for $15,024,000, a record for the artist at auction. This monumental painting was one of Bacons first forays into the great proving ground of Western art: the reclining female nude. In Version No. 2 of Lying Figure with Hypodermic Syringe, the thrown-back arm, the long flowing hair and the riotous body manifest on its surface an inner turmoil as his expressive subject writhes in the grips of a very modern nightmare, a drug trip.
Property from Various Owners
Willem de Koonings post-war canvas, Untitled XXX, 1977, one of the most sublime representations of the artists mastery over paint, gesture and color, sold for $10,656,000 to an anonymous buyer (est. $7.5/9.5 million). Dynamically expressive, Untitled XXX captures the essence of the sea, sand and surf, focusing his energy on the paints texture. His Hostess, executed in 1973, a bronze sculpture of the female form, was purchased for $3,936,000, a record for a sculpture by the artist at auction, by an American Private Collector (est. $4/6 million). One of the most accomplished sculptures the artist made, Hostess epitomizes a perfect extension of his painting into the solidity of a third dimension with its knotted, curling surface.
Jeff Koons Ushering in Banality, a masterpiece from his 1988 Banality series in which he achieved a new sophistication in the dynamics of appropriation, sold for $4,048,000 to an American Private buyer (est. $3.2/3.8 million). The work, comprised of polychromed wood, comes from a series consisting of large wood and porcelain sculptures and ornately framed mirrors, and the quality of the finish of these pieces brings an elaborate and seductive irony to their appropriated sources.
Among the other highlights from the various-owners offering was Andy Warhols Flowers, 1964, from his Flowers series, which sold for $6,848,000 to an anonymous buyer (est. $4/6 million). For this painting Warhol used a color photograph of six hibiscus blossoms printed in the June 1964 issue of Modern Photography. Warhol cropped and slightly altered the image to a square of four flowers to achieve a potent, crisp image that is instantly recognizable and easily manipulated through a myriad of variations.
Other works by Warhol included in the sale were Martinson Coffee, 1962, which sold for $3,824,000 to an American Private buyer (est. $2/3 million); like his Campbells Soup Cans, elevates an ordinary supermarket product to the realm of high art. The cover lot of the sale, Warhols Self-Portrait, 1964, a key development in the arching narrative of Warhols persona, was purchased for $3,172,000 by an anonymous buyer (est. $3.5/4.5 million). It was one of ten works from his second series of the artists self-portrait which demonstrates advancements in the artists processes and thematic conception.
Lichtensteins Black and White Sunrise, 1964, an early and classic example of the artists return to realism by painting people and things, sold for $6,624,000 to an anonymous buyer (est. $6/8 million). With its immaculate finish, Black and White Sunrise is the epitome of his early hand-painted process that removed all expressive detail. Lichtensteins Still Life with Lamp, 1976, achieved $3,040,000 (est. $2.5/3.5 million).
Works by younger artists commanded strong prices, and among them were Jenny Savilles Still, 2003, in which Saville paints herself in a state of total vulnerability, that achieved $1,024,000, a record for the artist at auction (est. $900,000/1.2 million), and Barnaby Furnas first major painting to appear at auction, Heartbreak Ridge, 2002, a historic battle scene as depicted from a modern day multi-perspective, that sold for $520,000, also a record for the artist at auction (est. $400/600,000).