This Week’s Top Lots: May 9 – 15

Editorial Staff Art

*  At Brunk Auctions in Asheville, North Carolina the top lot of the May 9-10 sale was a Chinese famille rose vase that was sold for $1.2 million (estimate $400-800). The vase was purchased at a yard sale seven years ago and thought to be a 20th century copy—it is now believed to be an example of Qianlong Dynasty Imperial porcelain.

*  The contemporary art evening sale at Sotheby’s New York on May 12 totaled over $47 million. The top lot was Jeff Koons’ Baroque Egg with Bow that brought $5.4 million (estimate $6-8 million). Other top lots included Alexander Calder’s Ebony Sticks in Semi Circle that sold for just under $3.5 million (estimate $1-1.5 million), and a Richard Prince canvas, Can You Image, that sold for over $1.3 million (estimate $600,000-800,000).

*  Sotheby’s contemporary art day sale on May 13 totaled nearly $28.5 million and sold 247 of 326 lots offered. The top lot was a Love sculpture by Robert Indiana that brought $914,500 (estimate $500,000-700,000). Other top lots included Number 2-07 by Morris Louis that was sold for $722,500 (estimate $500,00-700,000), and Neil Jenney’s Saw and Sawed from 1969 that was sold for $506,500 (estimate $180,00-250,000).

*  The evening sale of post-war and contemporary art at Christies New York on May 13 totaled 93.7 million, and sold 49 of the 54 offered. The top lot was David Hockney’s Beverly Hills Housewife that brought $7.9 million (estimate $6-10 million)—an auction record for the artist. The next highest lot was Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park No. 117 that sold for over $6.5 million (estimate $4-6 million). Other notable sales included Willem de Kooning’s Woman from 1953 that brought $3.6 million (estimate $1.4-1.8 million) and an Alexander Calder wall relief that brought $2.8 million (estimate $1.2-1.8 million).

*  On May 14 the morning sale of post-war and contemporary art at Christie’s totaled over $18 million. The top lot of the morning sale was a 1986 Four Marilyns (Reversal Series) by Andy Warhol that brought $1.1 million (estimate $600,000-800,000). Wayne Thiebald’s Ripley Street Ridge was sold over $1 million (estimate $650,000-850,000), and Richard Pousette-Dart’s Composition Number 1 set an auction record for the artist, fetching just under $700,000 (estimate $300,000-400,000). Another lot that greatly surpassed its estimate was a group of Ed Ruscha artist’s books that brought $96,100 (estimate $6,000-9,000). The afternoon sale was also strong and totaled $13.6 million. The top lot was Zhang Xiaogang’s Two Sisters (The Grand Family no. 7) that sold for $722,500 (estimate $500,000-700,000). Also notable was an untitled work by Richard Prince that fetched $542,500 (estimate $200,000-300,000).

Contemporary art was sold at Phillips de Pury in New York on May 14, which totaled $7.7 million, although sales were less than stellar. The top lot was Philip Guston’s Anxiety from 1975 that sold for over $1 million (estimate $1-1.5 million). Also notable was Sherrie Levine’s Black Newborn sold for $110,500 (estimate $40,000-60,000). The second part of the sale on May 15 totaled over $4.5 million, and the top lot was Entwurf für Grund (Basic Draft) by Gerhard Richter that brought $170,500 (estimate $120,000-180,000). Other top sales included a two-part canvas by Sean Landers that sold for $122,900 (estimate $40,000-60,000), and an untitled piece by Juan Muñoz that sold for $152,500 (estimate $60,000-80,000).

Images from above: Famille rose vase, Chinese, probably Qianlong Dynasty. Courtesy of Brunk AuctionsSaw and Sawed by Neil Jenney, 1969. Courtesy of Sotheby’s; Richard Pousette-Dart’s Composition Number 1, 1943. Courtesy of Christies Images Ltd., 2009.