Our Evening Auction realised £130.4m ($204.7m / €183.9m), Sotheby’s highest-ever total for a sale of Contemporary Art in Europe. Warhol’s Painting of a One Dollar Bill sold for £20.9m, the highest price for any work sold in London this week.
Two newly discovered works by Francis Bacon made £30 million. Four Eggs on a Plate, a present from Lucian Freud to the Late Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, made almost £1 million - ten times its low estimate, and £250,000 per egg.
Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s Head of Contemporary Art in London, said “We reached new heights at Sotheby’s tonight with the highest total we’ve ever achieved for Contemporary Art in London. Bidders from across the globe were drawn to Warhol works that ripped up the rule book for 20th-century art; rediscovered Francis Bacon gems; and some of the greatest works by British artists of the last 70 years. Tonight’s achievements affirm the pivotal position of London within the international art market.”
The Contemporary Art Evening Auction this July is headlined by masterpieces by Francis Bacon: a rare work from his iconic Pope series and two re-discovered self-portraits. Other highlights include a magnificent abstract painting by Gerhard Richter, one of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s renowned sports figure paintings, an imposing IKB monochrome by Yves Klein, an impressive ten-cut Concetto Spaziale, Attese in red by Lucio Fontana and Peter Doig’s seminal workPelican from 2004. This extraordinary sale is punctuated by a group of exceptionally rare masterworks by Andy Warhol, which chart his career in terms of the artist’s iconic obsession with the American dollar. Finally, alongside Francis Bacon, works by Lucian Freud, David Hockney, Frank Auerbach, Leon Kossoff and R.B Kitaj champion the School of London.