This week's top lots
What: Madonna I by Andreas Gursky, 2001
Where: Sotheby's London (February 10, Contemporary Art Evening Auction)
Estimate: £900,000 - 1,300,000
Sold For: £1,077,250
Claimed to be the world's most collectable living photographer, Gursky took this large-scale aerial photograph, measuring 111 by 81 1/2 inches, of a Madonna concert at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Originally scheduled for September 11, 2001, the concert was postponed to September 13, due to the terrorist attacks that toppled the World Trade Center. This photograph—one of two prints made, the other is in the collection of the Centre Georges Pompidou—was inscribed for and given to Madonna, who can be seen on stage wearing an American flag tied around her waist. Due to its epic scale and heroic imagery, Sotheby's likens the image to the tradition of nineteenth-century history painting.
What: Concrete Cabin West Side by Peter Doig, 1993
Where: Christie's London (February 11, Post War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction)
Estimate: £2-3 million
Sold For: £2,057,250
This example is one of a major series of paintings, called the "Concrete Cabins," by Doig that depicts Le Corbusier's Briey housing complex in Lorraine built between 1959 and 1960. Doig was inspired to paint the brutalist building after seeing photographs that he had taken of the site, which he felt had transformed it from architecture to emotion. The present painting was one of three from the series that were included in Doig's Turner Prize installation at the Tate in 1994.
What: Maori nephrite hei tiki pendant, before 1850
Where: Bonhams San Francisco (February 12, African, Oceanic, and Pre-Columbian Art)
Sold For: $45,750
This small pendant, measuring only four inches high, is a traditional Maori ornament called a hei tiki or simply tiki—hei meaning suspended from the neck, and tiki which refers to the human figure. In this example, one eye retains its original paua shell-inlay. Hei tiki are important family heirlooms in Maori culture and are usually passed down through families. They became sought after in Europe, however, after they were seen and collected by Captain Cook and his crew.