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Quest for quality drives Sotheby's London Contemporary Evening Sale total to $116,858,025
Auctioneer Tobias Meyer fields bids at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction. Photo: Sotheby's.
LONDON.- Tonight, the opportunity to acquire landmark works for their collections bought bidders from 38 countries to compete at Sotheby’s London. The Contemporary Art Evening Auction realized £75.8 million, with an average lot value of £1.43 million – one of the highest figures for this category in London. Leading the sale were two works by Francis Bacon. The 1966 triptych portrait of his friend, muse and lover Isabel Rawsthorne sold for £11,282,500, while the first work the artist ever sold, his historic Head III was battled for by six collectors, driving the price to £10,442,500 (est. £5-7m). Fifty-four years ago, just across the road from Sotheby’s at the Hanover Gallery in St. George Street, the same work fetched £150 at Bacon’s first ever commercial show.

• Participation from 38 countries - among highest levels ever for a London Contemporary Art Sale

• More than one-in-ten registered bidders came from new markets

• New auction records established for:

Pierre Soulages, Peinture, 21 novembre 1959 - £4,338,500, doubling low estimate (£2-3m)
• Record for any living French artist at auction

Thomas Struth, Pantheon, Rome - £818,500 (est. £400,000-600,000)
• More than five times the price achieved for the work in 2000

Hurvin Anderson, Beach Scene - £302,500, double the high estimate (est. £100,000-150,000)

• Average Lot Value £1.43 million –one of the highest figures for a Contemporary sale in London

• Over 90% lots sold achieved prices at or above presale estimates

• 2 lots over £10 million

• 21 lots over £1 million

“Tonight’s sale was all about the quest for quality - quality across categories - from the modern masters to the new generation of artists. We offered some great historic works of art and achieved some great prices for them, as buyers went down the connoisseurial route - buying with intelligence and passion. Participation was truly global, making it a strong night for British art, photography, European abstract works and German artists.”
- Alex Branczik, Head of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Department

Today's News

June 27, 2013

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Quest for quality drives Sotheby's London Contemporary Evening Sale total to $116,858,025

Bonhams sale of Australian art from the Grunde Collection totals $19.16 million

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Thirty years of architectural projects by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop on view at Gagosian

Junkies' Promise: A group exhibition curated by Iván Navarro opens at Paul Kasmin Gallery

Sree Sreenivasan named the Metropolitan Museum's first Chief Digital Officer

Lehmann Maupin opens two summer group shows, each with works by three-artist

Five groups of works created by Ugo Rondinone brought together in new exhibition at M - Museum Leuven

James A. Bridenstine, Executive Director of the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, retires after 23 Years

Francis Upritchard's full-scale New York gallery debut opens at Anton Kern

"HOMEwork: Selections from the Asia Society Museum Collection" opens in New York

"Reprogramming the City: Opportunities for Urban Infrastructure" opens at the Boston Society of Architects

Piero Manzoni: When Bodies became Art opens at the Stadel Museum

"WYSIWYG: What You See Is What You Get" opens at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art

The French Academy in Rome - Villa Medici presents "Victor Man: In un altro aprile"

The Whitney presents large scale installation by Robert Irwin

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4.- Special exhibition features large-scale photography by Richard Mosse & Edward Burtynsky

5.- Nobel panel gives up knockin' on Dylan's door

6.- An unprecedented, international-loan exhibition of works by Claude Monet is at the Kimbell Art Museum this fall

7.- Exhibition at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek explores Rousseau's landscapes

8.- Yoko Ono unveils her first permanent US art installation

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