Phillips had a good, insidery sale of Contemporary art last night that totaled $68m and an 88% sell-through rate. Many of the works were recently on the market, a full 25% though that is a lower percentage than either Christie’s or Sotheby’s. Several of the works were previously offered at other auction houses like the Lichtenstein and Rothko. Many were bought by dealers and market makers in a specific artists.
Carol Vogel has these sale notes:
Pop artists brought the evening’s top prices. Coming in first was Lichtenstein’s “Woman With Peanuts,” a 1962 image taken from a newspaper ad, that was expected to sell for $10 million to $15 million. Christie’s had tried unsuccessfully to auction the painting in 2003, then estimated at $2.5 million to $3.5 million. On Monday night, there was just one telephone bidder, who bought the painting for $9.5 million, or $10.8 million with fees.
The biggest disappointment came when Rothko’s “Untitled (Black on Gray),” from 1969-70 failed to sell. The painting had been estimated at $10 million to $15 million. Christie’s had tried unsuccessfully to sell it three years ago, with the same estimate.
Warhol’s “Nine Gold Marilyns (Reversal Series),” from 1980 that Phillips had sold in 2011 for $7.9 million, was on the block again, this time with an $8 million to $12 million estimate. Jose Mugrabi, the New York dealer, bought the painting for $8 million, or $9.1 million with fees.
Andrew Fabricant, the New York dealer, outbid several contenders for Mr. Grotjahn’s “Untitled (Orange Butterfly Green M 2003 G),” a 2003 canvas of different shades of orange, paying $3.6 million above its high $3 million estimate.
Judd Tully’s detailed report contained these sales and many, many others worth reading:
Lucien Smith’s “Hobbes, The Rain Man, and My Friend Barney/Under the Sycamore Tree” (2011), a huge oil on canvas that sold to New York dealer Alberto Mugrabi for a record $389,000 (est. $100,000-$150,000) and Nate Lowman’s Warholian take-off “Trash Landing Marilyn #12, 2011,” which sold to a telephone bidder for $725,000 (est. $400,000-$600,000). TheLondon dealer Gerard Faggionato was the underbidder.
John Currin’s smiling, reclining nude in oil, “Amanda” (2003), sold to Neal Meltzer $3,525,000 (est. $3 million-$4 million). The painting debuted at Currin’s 2003 solo show at the Sadie Coles HQ gallery in London.
Andy Warhol’s menacing 16-by-20-inch “Gun” (1982), which went for $1,685,000 (est. $1.5 million-$2.5 million), and his early, diagrammatic “Dance Steps” (1962), a pencil on paper work that sold to Alberto Mugrabi for $1,445,000, (est. $1.2 million-$1.8 million). It carried a third party guarantee and had last sold at Sotheby’s New York in November 2007 for $825,000.
Jeff Koons’s polychrome wood sculpture, “Buster Keaton” (1988), catalogued as number one of an edition of three plus one artist proof, sold to the New York/London dealer David Zwirner for $4,421,000 (est. $4 million-$6 million). The work, from the artist’s now storied “Banality” series, is derived from a publicity still taken for Keaton’s 1923 silent comedy, “Our Hospitality”; it has the silent-movie star perched on a miniature pony and saluting. Another version sold at Art Basel this summer, when Eli Broad bought it for an undisclosed price in the five million dollar range from Gagosian Gallery.
Gallerist provided this information:
Larry Gagosian […snapped] up Ed Ruscha’s excellent 2007 diptych Higher Standards/Lower Prices for a squarely-within-estimate $2.41 million. The same work sold for just $1.43 million three years back at Phillips de Pury & Company in the sale of disgraced C-Net founder Halsey Minor’s art collection, meaning that, even factoring in taxes, insurance and so forth, tonight’s seller turned a handsome little profit.
A Basquiat self-portrait painting from 1985 went for a disappointing $3.3 million. The same piece sold just two years ago at Phillips de Pury and Company in London for $3.29 million. (It made $647,500 in New York at Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg in 2003.)