Silvery $105.4 Million Warhol Car Crash leads Sotheby’s Nov. 2013 Contemporary Art sale in New York
Sotheby’s November 13, 2013 evening sale of Post War and Contemporary art in New York has no chance of besting Christie’s record setting $691.5 million sale of the previous evening, but it did bring in $380,642,000 led by Warhol’s Silver Car Crash, which sold for more than $105.4 million ($94 million hammer price plus buyer’s premium), a new auction record for the artist.
The evening got off to a solid start, with strong results for Lot 2 Untitled by Rudolph Stingle, which hammered at $1.1 million ($1,325,000 with the buyer’s premium) against a $500,000-700,000 estimate, followed by Lot 3 Mark Bradford’s Mithra, estimated at $600,000-800,000, which pulled down $2.2 million ($2,629,000 with the buyer’s premium), a new auction record for the artist. [Complete sale results]. The first lot to test the eight figure range was Jean Michel Basquiat’s Untitled (Yellow Tar and Feathers), carrying an estimate of $15-20 million, hammered at $23 Million ($25,925,000 with the buyer’s premium). The first of the Steven Cohen (SAC) pictures, Brice Marden’s The Attended, drew $9.6 million ($10,917,000 with the buyer’s premium), against a $7-10 million estimate. The New York Times has more about what Cohen sold.
The major lot of the evening, the Warhol car crash, estimated at $60 million, opened at $50 million then jumped to $60 million, stalled briefly before progressing at $1 million increments to a hammer price of $94 million ($105,445,000 with the buyer’s premium).
The Dia Foundation off loaded a sizable number of works including Lot 20. Cy Twombly’s incredibly important Poems to the Sea, a glorious collection of 24 works on paper, estimated at $6-8 million. Bidding was brisk and quickly broke through the $8 million high estimate with 7 buyers vying for the work – it finally hammered for $19.2 million ($21,669,000 with the buyer’s premium). Let’s hope this doesn’t disappear into a private collection and not be seen again. It’s one of the most consequential works of Twombly’s career.
The giant Richter (below), the second work being sold by Steven Cohen, crept along but managed to surpass its $20 million high estimate and hammer for $23.5 million ($26,485,000 with the buyer’s premium). The next Cohen lot, Joan Mitchell’s Atlantic Side, from 1960-61, with a $5-7 million estimate, pulled down $6 million ($6,885 with the buyer’s premium). Then came the Cohen-owned Warhol Liz #1 (Early Colored Liz), estimated at $20-30 million, that hammered for $18 million ($20,325,000 with the buyer’s premium).
The Barnett Newman (bel0w) went slightly above its $18 million low estimate to dealer David Zwirner for a hammer price of $18,250,000 ($20,605,000 with the buyer’s premium). The de Kooning Untitled V (below), which carried an irrevocable bid and a $25-35 million estimate, sold below estimate for a hammer price of $22 million ($24,805,000 with the buyer’s premium).
The Twombly sculpture Untitled (The Mathematical Dream of Ashurbanipal) (below), estimated at $2-3 million, sold just below its low estimate for a hammer price of $1.9 million ($2,285,000 with the buyer’s premium).
The withdrawal of the last work with a seven figure estimate, the Clyfford Still 1960-F meant there would be no more uber-$$$ dramatic moments and the crowd steadily departed to make their dinner reservations. Auctioneer Tobias Meyer sped up the pace to get the auction to its conclusion.