Sotheby’s 16 May auctions in New York started with a bang – the 100%-sold Morton and Barbara Mandel Collection totaled $107.8 million, thanks to a bidding war for a record-setting work on paper by Rothko. Among the myriad artist records were Cecily Brown, Mark Tansey, Barkley L. Hendricks, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Avery Singer, Kerry James Marshall and David Hockney, who alone achieved two records during the Contemporary Art Evening Auction. Five works donated by artists to benefit The Studio Museum’s new building were also 100% sold, totaling $16.4 million, with 37 lots to come on 17 May. Leading the night’s astounding $392.3 million combined total was an iridescent Pollock drip painting from 1949, which had remained in the same private collection since 1983. Ahead, view the evening’s top 10 lots.
It was one for the books with the $157 million sale of Modigliani’s Nu Couché in the Impressionist & Modern Evening Sale, becoming the most expensive artwork auctioned in Sotheby’s history and leading off what would be a billion-dollar week. Two days later, the Morton and Barbara Mandel Collection was 100% sold, led by a record-setting work on paper by Rothko, while a feverish Contemporary Art Evening Auction saw new highs for artists including Kerry James Marshall, David Hockney and Cecily Brown. All of the works donated to benefit the Studio Museum in Harlem sold across both contemporary auctions, many far above their high estimates, and helped to drive the $107.9 million Contemporary Art Day Auction, itself a record total. For more of the best moments of a historic week, click ahead.
Kerry James Marshall’s pivotal Past Times was a highlight of the artist’s recent mid-career survey organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. The most significant work by the renowned artist to ever come to auction, Past Times has officially quadrupled the artist's auction record, achieving $21,114,500 in Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Auction (16 May, New York). An extraordinary visual feat that positions Marshall’s singular vision in dialogue with the masters of art history, Past Times has been a cornerstone of Kerry James Marshall’s acclaimed career since it debuted at the 1997 Whitney Biennial. As seen in Past Times and five other lots by the artist – listed below – on offer in Sotheby's Contemporary Art Day Auction (17 May, New York), Marshall has consciously pushed against the constraints of art history throughout his career. With Past Times, he confidently reclaims the presence of figures of African descent in the canon of Western art.
In November 2016, Sotheby's broke David Hockney's auction record with Woldgate Woods, which sold in New York for $11.7 million. In less than two years, Hockney's record has officially doubled, thanks to the large-scale oil painting, Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica, which sold in Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Auction (16 May, New York) for an astonishing $28,453,000. The sale also marked a record for a work on paper by Hockney, with Piscine de Medianoche (Paper Pool 30) selling for $11,743,800. A highlight of Hockney’s recent critically-acclaimed retrospectives at the Tate Britain, London, the Centre Pompidou, Paris and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica is a paragon of the artist’s storied career.
In this 60-Second Gallery, discover five works by Ed Ruscha that encompass more than 35 years of his groundbreaking career and demonstrate the enduring power of his distinctive style. The allure of his images and the wit of his text reflect how Ruscha draws from pop culture and Hollywood to create an entirely unique aesthetic. These five works will be offered in Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Day Auction on 17 May in New York.
In this episode of Anatomy of an Artwork, delve into the complex iconography of Jean-Michel Basquiat's 'Flesh and Spirit'. Inspired by a host of influences including Robert Farris Thompson’s seminal 'Flash of the Spirit,’ 'Gray’s Anatomy' and the anatomical drawings of Leonardo Da Vinci, Basquiat takes on science and religion in his own strikingly unique visual language. This monumental, multi-paneled work declares Basquiat’s arrival as a fully matured artistic force at the thrilling apex of his powers. 'Flesh and Spirit' will be offered as a highlight of Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Auction on 16 May in New York.
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