Sotheby’s Highest-Ever Total For an Auction of Contemporary Art in Europe

Evening Sale Realises: £130.4m/ $204.7m / €183.9m

Warhol’s Painting of a One Dollar Bill sells for £20.9m/ $32.8m / €29.4m - Highest price for any work sold in London this week -

Two newly discovered works by Francis Bacon make £30 million

Four Eggs on a Plate, a present from Lucian Freud to the Late Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, makes almost £1 million -Ten times low estimate, and £250,000 per egg

1st July 2015 - Tonight’s sale realised £130,376,500 / $204,730,218 / €183,870,150 - the highest total for any auction of Contemporary Art ever held at Sotheby’s London.

Artistic Currency: Warhol’s One Dollar Bill (Silver Certificate)

Andy Warhol’s landmark first ‘dollar’ painting, hand-painted in 1962, sold for £20.9m / $32.8m / €29.4m tonight - the highest price achieved across all auction houses this week (est. £13- 18m). This marks the fourth consecutive sale season in London that Sotheby’s has achieved the top lot across all auction houses.  One of the defining works of the artist’s career, this work not only set the foundations for the entire ‘dollar bill’ series, it is also the only painting from this body of work to have been painted entirely by hand.  This was one of eight works sold this evening that took the dollar as their subject, which made a combined total of £34.3m / $53.9m / €48.4m. The remaining 11 works from the collection will be sold in the Contemporary Art Day auction tomorrow.

Further standout works

Two major self-portraits by Francis Bacon, re-discovered in a European private collection earlier this year, sold for a combined total of £30m. Acquired soon after they were painted in 1975 and 1980 respectively, they had never been on public exhibition before this year:  Francis Bacon’s, Self-Portrait (1975) realised £15.3m / $24m / €21.5m (est. £10-15m).  Francis Bacon’s, Three Studies for Self-Portrait (1980) fetched £14.7m / $23.1m / €20.7m (est. £10-15m). Gerhard Richter’s A B, Brick Tower (1987), created for the artist’s first major commercial exhibition in London, held at Anthony d’Offay Gallery in 1988, sold for £14.1m / $22.2m/ €20m (est. £12-16m). The last time this work appeared at auction in 2001 it realised $534,000 or £367,000.

British Art

British art accounted for over 30% of this evening’s sale total (£42m)  Seven bidders drove Four Eggs on a Plate (2002), a treasured gift from Lucian Freud to the late Dowager Duchess of Devonshire to £989,000 / $1.6m / €1.4m, nearly 10 times the pre-sale low estimate (£100,000-150,000), equating to almost £250,000 per egg!  The auction record for Paula Rego was broken twice this evening when the sale of Looking Out (1997), for £965,000 / $1.5m / €1.4m, was swiftly followed by The Cadet and his sister which soared to £1.1m / $1.8m / €1.6m (est. £600,000-800,000).  Frank Auerbach’s early portrait of his cousin Gerda, Head of Gerda Boehm (1961), soared to £2.2m / $3.5m / €3.1m (est. £250,000-350,000) - a new auction record for any work on paper by the artist, and the second-highest price achieved for the artist at auction.  David Hockney's view of his beloved Yorkshire Wolds, Arranged Felled Trees (2008) recently exhibited at The Royal Academy and The Guggenheim Bilbao, totalled £3.4m / $5.3m / €4.8m, above its high estimate (£1.5m – 2m).

New Auction Records

New Auction Records  For any work by Paula Rego: her record was broken twice this evening when the sale of Looking Out (1997) for £965,000 / $1.5m / €1.4m was swiftly followed by The Cadet and his sister which soared to £1.1m / $1.8m / €1.6m (est. £600,000-800,000).  For any work on paper by Frank Auerbach: Head of Gerda Boehm (1961) soared to £2.2m / $3.5m / €3.1m (est. £250,000-350,000).


details on Sotheby's


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