With only a handful of estimates above the five-figure range, the mid-season Contemporary art sales in London at Phillips and Sotheby’s brought in a combined total of £4.997m yesterday. Phillips had the larger of the two sales with £2.794m brought in by 195 lots out of the 235 offered for a an 91% sell-through rate. The top lot was an Antony Gormley sold within estimates at £369k followed by works by Kaws and Yinka Shonibare that also sold within the estimate ranges for £162,500 and £100k respectively. Below that level, a number of works popped over the estimates by Gormley, A.R. Penck, Jonas Wood and Yan Pei-Ming.
At Sotheby’s, we saw something slightly different with £2.2m achieved when 79% of the 163 lots offered were sold. There the bulk of the top lots were sold at prices above the modest five-figure estimate ranges. A Peter Halley work out-performed estimates to become the top lot at £150k; a Banksy work sold for three times the high estimate to make £137.5k; and fitting with this year’s fever for works by George Condo, a mostly estimated early work, Funny Landscape, from 1985 was sold for £112,500. (There’s a bit of a story there which we’ll get into later this week.)