This report on the Sotheby's Contemporary Day sale for June 2020 by Angelica Villa is available to AMMpro subscribers. (The first month of AMMpro is free and subscribers are welcome to sign up for the first month and cancel before they are billed.)
Following Sotheby’s staggering $362.3 million evening sale, the market test continued into Tuesday's contemporary day sale. 212 lots by postwar and contemporary brand names like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robert Ryman and Ruth Asawa came to auction, realizing a total sale price of $51.5 million and seeing an 83% sell-through rate overall.
The highly anticipated evening sales brought to the post-coronavirus market a long-awaited test of confidence, showing that even in a fragile socio-economic climate, the top end of the art market remains resilient. Leading the contemporary Day sale was minimalist painter Robert Ryman’s off-white monochrome Contract from 1998 which brought in $2.72 million, hammering below its pre-sale estimate range of $3 million to $4 million. It was purchased by the seller in 2009 at New York’s Luhring Augustine. California sculptor Ruth Asawa’s hanging lobed 1956 sculpture went for $2.6 million, after drawing 21 bids against an estimate of $2 million to $3 million. The work was consigned from the estate of Adrian and Joan Skewes-Cox Malone. The record price for Asawa at auction recently moved to $4 million for a hanging sculpture sold at Christie's New York in November 2019. Alexander Calder’s hanging mobile Occhio Giallo from 1956 reached above its high estimate, achieving $1.64 million with the buyer’s fee against an estimate of $1 million to $1.5 million.
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