Art Business

Sotheby’s sees strong global sales

Sotheby’s net auction sales increased 24 percent to $2.7 billion, driven by strong global sales during the period, particularly in Hong Kong and London.

The auctioneer saw an 18 percent increase in auction commission revenues to $403.8 million as compared to the prior year.

“Sotheby’s is seeing success across categories and around the world,” said chairman, president and chief executive officer Bill Ruprecht. “The number of buyers at all levels, the amount of property we were entrusted to sell, and the prices we achieved are all up significantly this year.

“We sold 487 lots at over $1 million, more than any other art market participant. We are demonstrating that the art market is robust and we’re serving new and existing clients who trust Sotheby’s to deliver superior expertise and market knowledge and attractive results.

London’s June Impressionist and Modern Art sales brought $247.3 million, near the high end of the pre-sale estimate. The highlight of the sale was Claude Monet’s Nymphéas which brought $54.1 million and the second highest price for the artist at auction. 

Piet Mondrian’s quintessential masterpiece, Composition with Red, Blue and Grey, which appeared at auction for the first time in the sale brought $25.9 million. The evening sale was 91.3 percent sold by lot and two-thirds of works sold for above their high estimate.

Sotheby’s London Contemporary Art sales hit $184.6 million, near the high end of the pre-sale estimate as well. Works by British artists achieved record prices. Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for Portrait of George Dyer brought the highest price of the evening sale with $45.4 million, a record for a small-scale triptych by the artist and surpassing the pre-sale estimate of $34 million by a wide margin. 

A new auction record was established for Peter Doig when his Country-rock (wing mirror) sold for $14.4 million. 88 percent of the sold lots of the Evening sale achieved prices at or above their pre-sale estimates.

At the end of the London summer sales season were the July Old Master and British Paintings sales series which totalled a record $127.4 million for the week, surpassing the pre-sale estimate of $73/108 million by a wide margin. 

The top lot of the series was George Stubbs’ Tygers at Play which brought $13.2 million, above the pre-sale high estimate of $10 million. 97 percent of the works sold achieved prices within or above the pre-sale high estimate and 19 auction records were attained during the week including those for a drawing by Botticelli and works by Giovanni da Rimini and Jan Brueghel the Elder.

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Jenny White

Jenny White

Jenny is based in Wales and writes about visual art, finance, food, drink and lifestlye.