Lot 12. GERHARD RICHTER B.1932, WAND (WALL)
signed, numbered 806 and dated 1994 on the reverse
oil on canvas: 240 by 240cm.; 94 1/2 by 94 1/2 in.
Estimate Upon Request (in excess of £15m/$25m). This lot sold for a hammer price of £15.5 million or £17,442,500 with the buyer’s premium ($28,678,958).
Sotheby’s February 12, 2014 Evening Sale of Contemporary art contains works by the artists collectors are hungry for: Richter, Warhol, Basquiat, Twombly, Freud and more.
The Richter Wall (above) opened at £12 million and it took an effort to get it to the £15.5 million hammer price. Indeed, much of the sale, with some exceptions, proved lethargic. Of 59 lots offered, two were withdrawn and ten failed to sell and generated a total of £87,915,500 ($144,550,665).
The Twombly from 1964, which had not been seen for some 40 years, generated a serious bidding war before finally hammering to a phone bidder for £10.8 million. The Basquiat Tenor just managed to hammer at £3.8 million, the bottom end of its estimate, while the Freud squeaked past its £2.5 million low estimate to hammer for £2.6 million, purportedly to Stephen Ongpin. The Kiefer Let a Thousand Flower Bloom dried up at £550,000 (low estimate was £60,000). The remaining Twombly’s sold – one (Lot 49, below) well over its high estimate, while another (Lot 52) went £10,000 over the reserve to hammer at £310,000.
Lot 26. ANDY WARHOL 1928 – 1987, MAO
signed on the reverse
oil on canvas: 127 by 106.6cm.; 50 by 42in., Executed in 1973.
Estimate: £5.5-7.5 million ($9,020,550 — 12,300,750). This lot sold for a hammer price of £6.7 million or £7,586,500 with the buyer’s premium ($12,473,723).
Lot 9. CY TWOMBLY 1928 – 2011, UNTITLED (ROME)
oil, wax crayon and pencil on canvas: 206 by 253cm.; 81 1/8 by 99 5/8 in., Executed in 1964.
Estimate: £5-7 million ($8,200,500 — 11,480,700). This lot sold for a hammer price of £10.8 million or £12,178,500 with the buyer’s premium ($20,023,890).
This Twombly has apparently not been seen for some four decades, which makes its appearance at auction notable. From the catalogue:
Cy Twombly’s breathtaking painting Untitled (Rome) of 1964 brings together in perfect concert all the spectacular drama, enveloping scale, stunning colour, sublime confluence of line and form, and sheer emotional urgency that characterise the most irresistible achievements of his prodigious oeuvre. Executed in the artist’s thirty-sixth year, this major triumph of his groundbreaking 1960s output belongs to a critical moment in his long and illustrious career. Created in Rome, Twombly’s beloved adopted home, it was acquired in Italy forty-five years ago and has remained in the same important private European collection ever since. Never before exhibited publically,Untitled (Rome)’s monumental scale, surpassed by only one other work of 1964, sets it apart as among the most physically impressive canvases of Twombly’s entire canon. The canvas spans in excess of two by two and-a-half meters, and to stand before it first-hand is to enter an experiential arena limited only by the beholder’s imagination.
Lot 29. JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT 1960 – 1988, TENOR
signed, titled and dated 1985 on the reverse
acrylic, oilstick and paper collage on canvas: 254 by 289.5cm.; 100 by 114in.
Estimate: £3.8-4.8 million ($6,232,380 — 7,872,480). This lot sold for a hammer price of £3.8 million or £4,338,500 with the buyer’s premium ($7,133,362).
Lot 15. LUCIAN FREUD 1922-2011 HEAD ON A GREEN SOFA
oil on canvas: 91.5 by 91.5cm.; 36 by 36in., Executed in 1960-61.
Estimate: £2.5-3.5 million ($4,100,250 — 5,740,350). This lot sold for a hammer price of £2.6 million or £2,994,500 with the buyer’s premium ($4,923,557)
Lot 49. CY TWOMBLY 1928 – 2011 LYCIAN DRAWING (NIPHIDIA)
signed with the artist’s initials twice, titled and dated Aug 22 82 and Sept 19 82
oil, crayon and pencil on Fabriano paper: 100 by 70cm.; 39 3/8 by 27 5/8 in.
Estimate: £1-1.2 million ($1,640,100 — 1,968,120). This lot sold for a hammer price of £1.55 million or £1,818,500 with the buyer’s premium ($2,989,979).
Lot 52. CY TWOMBLY 1928-2011 IDILLI
signed with the artist’s initials and dated 76
oil, watercolour and crayon on three sheets of Fabriano paper: sheet: 116.8 by 83.8cm.; 46 by 33in.
Estimate: £400,000-600,000 ($656,040 — 984,060). This lot sold for a hammer price of £320,000 or £386,500 with the buyer’s premium ($635,483).
Lot 20. ANSELM KIEFER B.1945, LASST TAUSEND BLUMEN BLÜHEN
titled; signed on the reverse
mixed media on canvas: 190 by 280cm.; 74 3/4 by 110 1/4 in., Executed in 1998.
Estimate: £600,000-800,000 ($984,060 — 1,312,080) Bidding on this lot stopped at £550,000 and it failed to sell.