Colin Gleadell does some explaining about the highly successful London sales of Contemporary art, especially why the Lenz works sold so well, and provides a scorecard on market darlings, Doig and Ofili:
The Lenz sale also included works by more established artists of the era such as Lucio Fontana (shimmering works on copper) and Yves Klein (female body outlines made with a blowtorch). Selling for more than £3 million to a collection in Switzerland, these prices were anticipated. What the Lenz sale demonstrated was that the market loves a prestigious private collection, and is ready to set new price levels for previously under-valued post-war classics that are now safely in the history books.
Peter Doig’s huge ski painting, Saint Anton, did not attract much competition, selling for £2.8 million. But, for the owner who bought it in 1996 for £12,000, that was some result.
Chris Ofili: His radiantly pink glitter-and-elephant dung painting, Through the Grapevine, bought in 1999 for around £20,000, sold well above expectations for a record £802,850 – a price that makes Tate’s purchase of Ofili’s 13-painting installation, The Upper Room, for £600,000 five years ago look like a complete bargain. Salzau, a small watercolour by Ofili, made £20,000, four times its estimate and five times what it fetched at auction in 2002.
Art Sales: Spring Brings Ray of Sunshine (Telegraph)