Colin Gleadell has been doing some sleuthing on the Contemporary art sales coming up next week in London. But the bigger news takes a little explaining.
Gleadell points out that a signal Damien Hirst was never paid for seven years ago. Now it’s back on the market. That’s only half of the story. When Lullaby Winter sold in New York in May, it doubled the high estimate and sold for $7.4m. Five weeks later in London, Lullaby Spring sold for nearly three times that amount at $19.2m. The sales were two important inflection points in Hirst’s market leading up to the epic Beautiful Inside My Head Forever sale later the next year. But if the first sale was never completed, would the second sale have taken place at the same level?
Following the record £48 million paid for one of Cy Twombly’s looped “blackboard” paintings in New York last November, no less than 10 of his works are coming up for sale in London next week. Among the hopeful sellers is rock star Eric Clapton, with a 1969 painting that he bought in 2012 for $5.8 million that is now estimated at £4-£6 million ($6-9 million); and Los Angeles film producer, Stavros Merjos, who bought his slightly smaller “blackboard” painting in 2012 for what was then a record $17.4 million. Christie’s has guaranteed Merjos an undisclosed amount for his painting and given it an estimate in excess of £15 million ($22.5 million).
Lullaby Winter, a 9ft- wide steel cabinet full of painted pills by Damien Hirst, is back at auction, having sold in 2007 for $7.4 million in New York to an Asian buyer. But it was never paid for. Christie’s has a triangle next to the lot in the catalogue meaning that it is now owned by Christie’s. The estimate is £2.5-£4 million.
Market News: a new London record? (Telegraph)