Auction  April 24, 2020  Chandra Noyes

Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated Auction Sets Record for Online Sale

Courtesy Sotheby's

George Condo, Antipodal Reunion, 2005.

COVID-19 has left the art market, like many other markets and economies, struggling to survive while trying to plan for an unknown future. As galleries and museums have shuttered and laid off staff, so have auction houses. The major auction houses canceled their big sales that usually take place in May, and have shifted to working solely online like most other art institutions have had to.

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Pablo Picasso, The Bathers, 1918.

While art sales have been taking place online for years, for auction houses, closing in-person sales and viewings is still a leap into the unknown. Sotheby’s London tested the waters this week with their Contemporary Curated auction, and hopefully, the success of their sale is an indication of a still vital market.

With sales totaling $6,401,127, 88 percent of the lots offered were sold, making it the highest total ever achieved for an online sale at Sotheby’s. The top lot was George Condo’s 2005 Antipodal Reunion, which sold for $1,299,753. The large canvas references Pablo Picasso’s The Bathers from 1918, playing on the great artist’s work in Condo’s typical cartoonish style.

courtesy sotheby's

Yayoi Kusama, Star, 1993. Est. £150,000-200,000.

For this auction, Fashion designer Margherita Missoni curated a selection of works offered. Her picks included an early work from Yayoi Kusama, which sold for $298,252, and Imi Knoebel’s large-scale aluminum construct Trinity Bay, which reached  $282,555.

courtesy sotheby's

Imi Knoebel, Trinity Bay.

Several lucky bidders will take home something we could all use right now: hope, faith, and a reminder that spring means rebirth.

A 2009 edition of Robert Indiana’s HOPE (Red/White) sold for $131,144.

Courtesy Sotheby's

Robert Indiana, HOPE (Red/White), 2009.

Andy Warhol's Crosses garnered 27 bids, taking its sale price to $133,429, five times the pre-sale high estimate.

courtesy sotheby's

Andy Warhol, Crosses, 1982.

And Alex Katz's vibrant Lilies sold for $53,928.

courtesy sotheby's

Alex Katz, Lillies, 1973.

About the Author

Chandra Noyes

Chandra Noyes is Managing Editor for Art & Object.

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