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Sotheby's Summer 2008 Sales of Impressionist & Modern And Contemporary Art Realizes $497 Million
Francis Bacon's Study for a head of George Dyer achieved £13.7 ($27.4) Million at Sotheby's Contemporary Sale. © Sotheby's Images.

LONDON.-Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern and Contemporary Art Sales series concluded, having achieved a remarkable total of £251,047,957 ($497,450,648) –the highest total for any series of Summer Sales ever staged by the company in Europe.

Robin Woodhead, Chairman Sotheby’s International, said: “Sotheby’s two weeks of sales demonstrated the enormous appeal of quality works in today’s market place, as bidders cast aside pre-sale estimates to pursue the artworks that they found desirable. Our total for sales of Impressionist & Modern and Contemporary Art this year in London and New York is up 22% on the first half of last year and our average sold lot value has increased to $762,961, from $643,757 established in our equivalent sales series in 2007. Sale on sale we are seeing that the art market has continuing strength, which is being bolstered through determined bidding by new and established collectors from all corners of the world.”

The total for sales of Impressionist & Modern and Contemporary Art this year in London and New York is up 22% on the first half of last year. Our Summer Sales average sold lot value has increased to $762,961, from $643,757 in June 2007. 52 lots sell for over £1 million / 102 sell for over $1 million. Seven lots sold for over £5 million / 20 lots for over $5 million. Two lots sell for over £10 million / seven lots for over $10 million. 15 new artist records were set (including many for works by leading artists such as Richard Prince, Bridget Riley, Anthony Gormley and Anish Kapoor.)

Contemporary Art - Record total for any series of Contemporary Art sales ever held in Europe (Total: £121/$242.3 million). Sotheby’s worldwide sales of Contemporary Art for the first half of 2008 are up 43.6% on the same period in 2007. Marlene Dumas’ the visitor, from 1995, realised a record £3.17 ($6.3) million, making it the most expensive work by a living female artist at auction. The Evening Sale of Contemporary Art saw an average sold lot value of £1,330,824, which is an increase of more than £200,000 on last June’s average sold lot value of £1,097,403. The Contemporary Art Day Sale achieved £26.8 ($53.5) million – the highest ever total for a Day Sale of Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s London. The Lauffs Collection has so far realised a total of $140,243,980 (£71,557,401), against a presale estimate of $57,632,500 – 79,092,000.

Impressionist & Modern Art - The average sold lot value in the Evening Impressionist & Modern Sale was £2,044,930. In the Evening Auction, more lots found buyers than ever before in a various owners sale of Impressionist and Modern Art in London: 90% sold by lot (50 sold out of 55 offered). The Impressionist & Modern Works on Paper Sale made £8.9 million - the highest total for any such sale ever held by the company in Europe. The Collection of Haaken A. Christensen commanded a total of £15,246,350 against a presale estimate of £7,103,000-10,655,000.

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