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Sotheby's May Contemporary Art Evening Sale totals $364 million and is 85% sold
Tonight’s auction saw a sell through rate of 85%, marking the 12th consecutive Evening Sale of Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s New York with a sell-through rate of over 80%. Photo: Sotheby's.
NEW YORK, NY.- Alexander Rotter, Co-Head of Sotheby’s Worldwide Contemporary Art Department, commented: “Tonight, the Contemporary market continued its solid ascent with one of Sotheby’s biggest ever sales. Global participation was evident throughout the process and helped to drive our sell-through rate of 85%. We began tonight with 19 lots from The Sender Collection, which brought a fantastic total well above the high estimate and with every lot finding a buyer. These are the artists of our generation and it was thrilling to see new benchmarks set time and again. I was also delighted that Steve Wynn was the successful purchaser of Koons’ Popeye and that the work will be going on view at his casino in Las Vegas.”

SALE TOTAL: $364,379,000
85% Sold by lot
Sale Estimate $336,650,000 - 474,000,000

Tonight’s auction saw a sell through rate of 85%, marking the 12th consecutive Evening Sale of Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s New York with a sell-through rate of over 80%.

o 51% of sold works brought above their high estimates.

Global participation evident throughout the sale process:

o Works consigned from 13 countries on five continents sought after by participants from 37 countries including 33% from outside the US, and with significant participation from Latin America and Asia.

Tonight’s offering of 19 works from The Sender Collection was 100% sold, totaling $44,591,000 (est. $21.2/30 million):

o Six artist records were set with 84% of the lots bringing prices above the high estimate

o Led by the Untitled Martin Kippenberger which sold for $5,541,000 (est. $3/4 million).

o Other highlights include Rosemarie Trockel’s Untitled textile which sold for $4,981,000 to set a new record for the artist (est. $1.5/2m); Untitled (September 14, 19) by Keith Haring which fetched $4,869,000, also an artist record; and Urs Fischer’s What if the Phone Rings that brought 3,525,000 ($1.2/1.8 million).

o The Sender Collection is a pioneering assemblage of Contemporary Art which will be sold over the next 18 months with 83 lots offered tomorrow in the Day Sale.

Artist Records:

o Overall nine artist records set for Rosemarie Trockel, Dan Flavin, Adam McEwen, Matthew Barney, Sarah Lucas, Keith Haring (two prices above previous record), James Rosenquist, Wade Guyton, and Julian Schnabel.

o Five medium records for Glenn Ligon, Mark Grotjahn, Richard Serra, Dan Colen, and Mike Kelley.

The sale was led by Andy Warhol’s Six Self-Portraits which sold for $30,125,000 (est. $25/35m)

o The group of self-portraits had been in the same private collection since they were acquired from the landmark show at the Anthony d'Offay gallery in July 1986.

o Other Warhol highlights include Big Electric Chair which sold for $20,437,000 and 12 Mona Lisas (Reversal Series) which fetched $11,365,000.

The cover lot, Popeye by Jeff Koons sold for $28,165,000 (est. in excess of $25 million):

o The first sculpture of Popeye by the artist to appear at auction.

o A new benchmark for late sculpture by the artist.

o Purchased by Steve Wynn was and will be going on view at his casino in Las Vegas

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