Tonight, the opportunity to acquire landmark works for their collections bought bidders from 38 countries to compete at Sothebys
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 Sothebys at the Hanover Gallery in St. George Street, the same work fetched £150 at Bacons 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
Tonights 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 Sothebys Contemporary Art Department