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Sotheby's October Evening Sales of 20th Century Italian Art and Contemporary Art Total $48.8 Million
Sotheby’s sale of 20th Century Italian Art this evening achieved the highest-ever total for a sale in this category. Photo: Sotheby's.

LONDON.- This evening, Sotheby’s Sales of 20th Century Italian Art and Contemporary Art, brought a combined total of £30.4 million/$48.8 million (Est. £22.3-30.5 million*) - substantially more than in the equivalent sales last year (£20 million).

Commenting on the 20th Century Italian Art Sale results, Claudia Dwek, Co Chairman Sotheby’s Italy, said: “We are delighted with the results of this evening’s sale. The auction achieved the above-estimate sum of £17 million representing the highest ever total for a sale in this field staged by Sotheby’s. While the majority of lots were acquired by Italian collectors, the sale saw activity from clients across the globe, including from the Far East. These strong results and healthy sell-through rates testify to Sotheby’s leadership in this field.”

Discussing today’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale, Alex Branczik, Director, Contemporary Art, Sotheby’s, said: “The Frieze Art Fair and the London Art Scene brought the whole collecting community here this week. With this sale, our vision was to showcase, alongside the more established names, the most interesting works by new and cutting-edge artists to satisfy the desires of collectors in this field in London during Frieze week. The energy generated in the sale room for the first two lots of the sale – by Ged Quinn and Ahmed Alsoudani – validated our strategy.”

20th Century Italian Art Sale
Sotheby’s sale of 20th Century Italian Art this evening achieved the highest-ever total for a sale in this category, further demonstrating Sotheby’s strength in the field of 20th Century Italian Art. The auction brought the outstanding above expectations total of £17,221,950 ($27,589,564/€19,588,183) (est. £12-16 million) and established exceptionally strong sell-through rates by lot and by value of 89% and 97% respectively. The average sold lot value of £555,546 was also by far the highest ever for such a sale at Sotheby’s (previous high was £295,298, in 2008).

The joint two top-selling lots of the 20th Century Italian Art Sale was Lucio Fontana’s 1965 white Concetto Spaziale, Attese and his green and gold Concetto Spaziale, Attese:

Lucio Fontana’s 1965 white waterpaint on canvas Concetto Spaziale, Attese saw competition from three bidders and sold for the remarkable sum of £2,281,250 ($3,654,562/€2,594,685), above its pre-sale estimate of £1.5-2 million. Fontana’s green and gold Concetto Spaziale, Attese sold within its estimate of £2-2.5 million to a buyer on the telephone for £2,281,250 ($3,654,562/€2,594,685). The painting is splendid and rare example of Lucio Fontana’s (1899-1968) widely celebrated Tagli series.

The third highest price achieved this evening was for Giorgio De Chirico’s oil on canvas Interno metafisico (Natura morta metafisica). The work sold to an anonymous telephone bidder for £1,833,250 ($2,936,866/€2,085,132), within its pre-sale estimate of £1.6-2.5 million. This stunning composition was painted at the height of De Chirico's Metaphysical period, in 1916.

Further sale highlights include: Marino Marini’s Cavaliere, which sold for £1,497,250 ($2,398,594/€1,702,967), against an estimate £700,000-900,000; and Lucio Fontana’s waterpaint on canvas Concetto Spaziale, Attese brought £1,777,250 ($2,847,154/€2,021,438), within the estimate of £1.6-2.2 million.

Contemporary Art Evening Sale:
This Contemporary Art Evening’s sale of brought the outstanding sum of £13,260,150 ($21,242,760/€15,082,046), almost the top estimate for the auction (est. £10-13.6 million) and the third highest total for an October Sale of Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s. The auction also established sellthrough rates of 90% by lot and 94% by value, and saw four new artist records set for Ged Quinn, Albert Oehlen, Francesco Vezzoli and Ahmed Alsoudani, who tonight made his first appearance at auction.

The first part of the group of artworks from the collection of the world-famous American supermodel and actress, Jerry Hall, went under the hammer in Sotheby’s Evening Sale of Contemporary Art in London tonight, bringing a total of £2,336,650 ($3.7 million/€2,657,697) - well-above expectations for the entire collection of £1.5 million. The second part of the group (the remaining eight art works) will be auctioned at Sotheby’s tomorrow.

Commenting on the sale of these works from Jerry Hall’s Collection, Oliver Barker, Senior Director and Senior International Specialist, said: “It has been such a privilege to bring these personal paintings from Jerry Hall’s collection to market. Jerry’s Hall’s involvement in this offering and the terrific energy she contributed has made what is always a vibrant time of year for the London art scene, even more exciting. I am delighted that these paintings from her collection have been so well-received.”

Among the six works presented for sale this evening, highlights were:

• Andy Warhol’s Dollar Sign, which the artist gifted to Jerry Hall in recognition of her help with the production of his television show, Warhol TV. This sold tonight for £217,250 ($348,034/€247,099) above its high estimate of £120,000-150,000.

• Lucian Freud’s oil on canvas Eight Months Gone – an intimate portrayal of Jerry reclining eight months pregnant with her fourth child Gabriel which Freud painted after meeting Jerry Hall at a dinner party – brought £601,250 ($963,202/€683,860) (est. £300,000-400,000), while his Quinces made £313,250 (est. £150,000-200,000)

• Frank Auerbach’s Head of Helen Gillespie IV, acquired by Jerry in 1997, sold for £1,071,650 ($1,716,783/€1,218,891) (est. £700,000-900,000).

This exceptional collection reflects two chapters of Miss Hall’s extraordinary life and career: firstly at the forefront of the glamorous avant-garde in 1970s and 1980s New York and subsequently her family-oriented life in London, the adored city of Lucian Freud and Frank Auerbach. (Please note that a further eight works from the collection of Jerry Hall - including works by Lucian Freud and Andy Warhol - will be offered for sale in tomorrow’s Day Sale of Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s.)

The top-selling lot of the sale was Andy Warhol’s acrylic silkscreen ink and diamond dust on canvas Diamond Dust Shoes. The painting, which is the most impressive work of this spectacular series ever to be offered for public sale in recent times, sold for £1,553,250 ($2,488,306/€1,766,661) within the estimate of £1.3-1.6 million. Andreas Gursky’s Pyongyang IV achieved the second-highest price tonight of £1,329,250 ($2,129,458/€1,511,884), against an estimate £500,000-700,000.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium

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