Post-War & Contemporary Art sale on 2nd July in London made a total of £4,041,025, with committed bidding from all corners of the globe on works from 1946 to 2013. A crowded room, packed banks of telephone bidders and voracious activity from internet bidders boosted the sense of excitement in the saleroom at Bonhams new headquarters in New Bond Street.
Top lots included a stunning stainless steel sculpture by Anish Kapoor which made £625,500, a rare Concetto Spaziale in red by Lucio Fontana from 1952 selling for £770,000, an important Alexander Calder, Araignée (Maquette) from 1957 at £362,000, and Frank Auerbachs Portrait of J.Y.M. for £374,500.
The sale also achieved two world record results:
Highest price paid at auction for a work on paper by Wols: Lexplosion de la Cathédrale, 1946 selling for £143,099 against an estimate of £12,000 - £18,000.
Highest price paid at auction for a sculpture by Mimmo Paladino: Assediato, 1992 selling for £111,349 against an estimate of £25,000 £35,000.
Bonhams new UK Board Director of Post-War & Contemporary Art, Ralph Taylor, said; Todays success is a statement of intent as to our strength as a department in selling the highest quality works at the most competitive levels. We designed the sale to be filled with museum quality, asset class works from across the range of the sector so as to achieve the best results for our consignors. We saw committed activity in the room and on the phones from some of the worlds most prestigious collectors, advisors and dealers; we move forward with confidence and the recognition that Bonhams Post-War & Contemporary Art Department is a force to be reckoned with.
As one of Britains most respected and best known artists, Sir Anish Kapoor is at the forefront of Contemporary Art practice with his works taking their place in many of the worlds most important collections. Bonhams dedicated its cover to the concave steel sculpture, an instantly recognisable example from the artists most important series.
Frank Auerbachs stunning portrait of Juliet Yardley Mills captures not just a physical likeness of the sitter he knew so well, but also the unique energy of the subject and the vitality of a moment.
Lucio Fontanas Concetto Spaziale, 1952 is an early and important example of Fontanas Buchi (holes) series. Coming from a private Spanish collection for the first time in forty years, this is a rare example of one of the most influential artistic practices of the second half of Twentieth Century.
BANKSY PRANK GETS SERIOUS AT BONHAMS
Two new Banksy works purchased during his 2013 residency in New York for just $60 apiece featured in the sale for prices which reflects their true value.
Kids on Guns sold for £68,500 and Winnie the Pooh for £56,250. Both were acquired from Banksys Central Park stall where an unassuming trader sold his paintings to passing tourists. The stunt gifted the lucky buyer £124,630, a 1,780% increase.
Film footage shows Banksy's immediately recognisable black and white stenciled canvases stacked on a trestle table or suspended on the stall's makeshift metal framework. One canvas was stencilled with a discount store label announcing the price of each work as $60. The following day the event was documented on the artist's website: "Yesterday I set up a stall in the park selling 100% authentic original signed Banksy canvases. For $60 each."