Highlights from a Week of Modern and Contemporary Auctions -ARTnews

David Hockney’s Pool and Pink Pole (1984) sold for $3.14 million at Sotheby’s contemporary art day sale.

COURTESY SOTHEBY’S NEW YORK

After a wild week of Impressionist, modern, and contemporary auctions in New York, the action is finally coming to a close. Results from the big-money evening sales have grabbed headlines—you can read coverage of Sotheby’s and Christie’s here, and Phillips here—and now it is time for a look at the daytime auctions. While lower-priced works tend to appear in these events, there is often quite a bit of intriguing activity—hints of emerging trends, shifts in taste, and more. Below, a quick notebook dump. (As this goes to print, Sotheby’s is still selling, so we’ll update the post after they conclude.)

IMPRESSIONIST AND MODERN DAY SALES

  • Christie’s Imp-mod day sale totaled $27.18 million, just about the same as last year’s $27.4 million. It was led by Tamara de Lempicka’s La Sagesse (1940–41), which realized $1.21 million against a $1.2 million high estimate.
  • Sotheby’s Imp-mod achieved $44.7 million total, up from $40.9 million last year. The top-performing lot set a new record for Émile Bernard, Bretonnes ramassant des pommes (1889), which went for at $1.9 million.

Kaws, Untitled , (2016), sold for $1.12 million with Phillips.

COURTESY PHILLIPS

20TH-CENTURY AND CONTEMPORARY DAY SALES

Phillips

  • While the house saw a drop in its evening-sale performance this go-round by about $32 million, it saw a spike in its day sale performance, climbing from $24 million last year to $34.68 million week. Several lots went above their high estimates, including, naturally, a KAWS, which brought $1.12 million, doubling its $550,000 high estimate.
  • Several artists had auction records reset: Rashid Johnson, whose Color Men (2016) went for $500,000, above a $300,000 high estimate; Ed Clark, for Hot and Cold (2007), which sold for $337,500, nearly doubling his previous top mark of $198,000; Thomas Downing, for Blue Tender (1964), at $200,000 (besting a $50,000 estimate); Patrick Nagel, for Kristen (1982–83), which more than tripled its high estimate for a $300,000 finish; and Sarah Crowner, for Untitled (2018), which skyrocketed over its $40,000 high mark, landing at $137,500.
  • Aside from those that set records, several other lots went notably over their estimate. Jeff Sonhouse’s Papi Shampoo (2010)—a stark portrait reminiscent of religious iconography—went for $106,250 over a $15,000 top estimate, and Julie Curtiss’s Chicago Imagism-channeling Princess (2016) tossed aside its $8,000 top estimate to go for $106,250.

Jonas Wood’s M.S.F. Fish Pot #5 (2015) achieved $3.37 million with Christie’s.

COURTESY CHRISTIE’S

Christie’s

  • The house saw a total of $92.97 million across its morning and afternoon sales, down from $102.22 million last year.
  • Artist records were set for Michelle Obama portraitist Amy Sherald, for Innocent You, Innocent Me (2016), at $350,000; Stanley Whitney, for Lush Life (2014), at $362,500; Mickalene Thomas, for Just a Whisper Away (2008), at $495,000; and Mary Bauermeister, for Alutable (1972), at $350,000.
  • Other artists records: Shio Kusaka, Brian Calvin, Margaret Kilgallen, and Esteban Vicente.
  • Notable sales included Joan Mitchell’s Landscape for a Friend (1977), which went for $3 million; Frank Stella’s Untitled (Study for Getty’s Tomb) (1959), for $1.9 million; Ed Ruscha’s Hell Heaven (1989) for $3.31 million; KAWS‘s In the Woods (2002) for $3.85 million, and Jonas Wood’s M.S.F. Fish Pot #5 (2015), which tripled its high estimate, selling for $3.37 million, more than twice its $1.2 million high estimate.

Sotheby’s

  • The top lots included David Hockney’s Pool and Pink Pole (1984) for $3.14 million, over a $2.5 million high estimate; Abstraktes Bild (1986) by Gerhard Richter for $2.48 million, just beneath its $2.5 million high estimate; and another Hockney, Steps With Shadow (Paper Pool 2), 1978, which was estimated at $1 million to $1.5 million and sold at $2.42 million.
  • Auction records were set for Rashid Johnson, Charles Gaines, Jimmie Durham, Shio Kusaka, and Kevin Beasley.

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