Auction  September 21, 2018  Megan D Robinson

Collection of Frank and Lorna Dunphy Exceeds Auction Estimates

Courtesy Sotheby's

Damien Hirst’s Smashing Yellow Ball at Peace Painting

Courtesy Sotheby's

Damien Hirst's Bust of Frank

Sotheby’s Yellow Ball Auction, presenting the extraordinary art collection of Frank and Lorna Dunphy, realized $13.3 million today, with 92% of lots sold, and participants from 43 countries. Known for managing Damien Hirst, Frank and his wife, Lorna, collected an impressive array of art. Today’s live auction put 108 lots up for auction. A further 98 lots are part of an online auction, which ends tomorrow.  

Frank and Lorna’s joint company, Yellow Ball, was named in honor of their first meeting, during a game of snooker, while Frank potted a yellow ball. Appropriately, one of the highlights of the sale was Hirst’s Smashing Yellow Ball at Peace Painting, a gift from the artist to the Dunphys at their retirement. Eight bidders drove the final sale price to $392,883 (est. $132,690-$199,035).

Courtesy Sotheby's

Lucio Fontana’s Concetto Spaziale, Attese 1961

Given the Dunphy’s close relationship with Hirst, a large number of his works were featured in the auction. The bidding opened on Damien Hirst’s 1997 spot painting, N-Chloroacetyl-L-Phenylalanine (PFS) Crystalline, which sold to an Asian private collector, after fairly competitive bidding, for $471,987, triple its pre-sale estimate. Boys ‘n’ Girls ‘n’ the Sun (2006), a brightly colored butterfly triptych sold for $756,762, while Epiphany (2005), a circular painting reminiscent of stained glass, patterned with butterflies, reached $646,016, over twice it’s estimated value.

Six bidders competed for the top sale, Lucio Fontana’s Concetto Spaziale, Attese 1961, which sold for $1,547,802. Seven bidders competed for the second highest sale, Andy Warhol’s Dollar Sign, which sold for $962,432. The rest of the top ten sales were works by Hirst. Two of Takashi Murakami’s pieces sold for significantly more than estimated value. His Rainbow Flower–7 O’Clock sold for $181,280 (est. $53,500-80,000) and Flower of Joy–Yellow made $140,080 (est. $53,500-80,000).

Courtesy Sotheby's

Andy Warhol’s Dollar Sign

The Dunphys became deeply involved in the art world, advising a number of YBAs, including Tracey Emin and Angus Fairhurst, and often bought or were gifted work from their clients and friends. Three bidders competed for Emin’s My Heart is With You And I Love You Always Always Always, a neon work created in 2006, which sold for $173,040 (est. $53,500-80,000). A sculpture by Angus Fairhurst set a new auction record for the artist. His Gorilla sculpture, A couple of differences between thinking and feeling (2000), sold for $36,256 (est. $10,700-16,000).

Courtesy Sotheby's

Angus Fairhurst, A couple of differences between thinking and feeling, 2000

About the Author

Megan D Robinson

Megan D Robinson writes for Art & Object and the Iowa Source.