Contemporary Evening Auction
Live Auction: 19 May 2022 • 7:00 PM EDT • New York

Contemporary Evening Auction 19 May 2022 • 7:00 PM EDT • New York

Francis Bacon, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol and Ed Ruscha Power $210.5 Million Sale with Two Artist Records

T his May’s Contemporary Evening Auction was powered by towering figures of contemporary art, with Francis Bacon’s triumphant finale to his “Pope” paintings realizing $46.3 million. Also leading the sale were: Cy Twombly’s Untitled ($38 million), Andy Warhol’s Elvis ($21.6 million), Ed Ruscha’s Cold Beer Beautiful Girls ($18.8 million) and Georg Baselitz’s Dresdner Frauen – Besuch aus Prag [Women of Dresden – Visit from Prague] ($11.2 million, a new artist record). Additionally, the evening’s final lot, Sean Scully’s Song ($2 million), earned the artist a new auction record.

After four days of consecutive auctions, the Contemporary Evening Auctoin tipped Sotheby’s weeklong series over 1 billion US dollars.

Top 10 Lots from the Contemporary Evening Auction

Led by Francis Bacon’s iconic Study of Red Pope 1962, 2nd Version 1971 and Cy Twombly’s gripping Untitled from 1969, Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening Auction in May comprises works by many of the most celebrated Post-War and Contemporary artists. Curated to include works by artists who eschewed Abstract Expressionism and the European-centered modernist structure that preceded it, the sale offers masterpieces by Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha, Sigmar Polke, David Hockney, Philip Guston and Ellsworth Kelly. The Contemporary Evening includes the most significant grouping of works by Georg Baselitz in private hands from the Collection of Hardie Beloff, which together succinctly articulate the very best of the German artist’s inimitable oeuvre. The appearance of the Beloff Collection at auction constitutes the first time that this remarkable group of works in its entirety has been seen publicly. Rebound from the Collection of Susanne & Franklin Konigsberg is an incomparable embodiment of Ellsworth Kelly’s profound impact on twentieth-century art. The sale also includes definitive works by Helen Frankenthaler, Alex Katz, Sturtevant and David Hammons.

Explore the Exhibition

View 1 of Lot 115: Study of Red Pope 1962, 2nd Version 1971
Francis Bacon
Study of Red Pope 1962, 2nd Version 1971
Estimate: 40,000,000 – 60,000,000 USD
Francis Bacon's Final Pope Painting
A defining masterpiece and triumphant finale to the artist's seminal series of Pope paintings, Study of Red Pope 1962, 2nd version 1971 depicts the first and only encounter within Francis Bacon's oeuvre between his two most important subjects: the Pope raised on a dais, drawn from Diego Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X,1650, and George Dyer, the love of Bacon's life and one of his most celebrated muses.

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View 1 of Lot 119: Untitled
Cy Twombly
Estimate: 40,000,000 – 60,000,000 USD
Cy Twombly's "Untitled"
Vibrating with lyrical vitality and poetic force, Cy Twombly’s Untitled from 1969 is a marvelously gestural iteration of the artist’s pivotal Blackboard paintings. Captivating in its large scale, the present work is part of a limited number of panoramic canvases from the celebrated series.

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Drawn Together: The Collection of Marcia and Stanley Gumberg, featuring Modern Masterworks on Paper
View 1 of Lot 128: Song
Sean Scully
Estimate: 800,000 – 1,200,000 USD
Sean Scully's "Song"
An ebullient configuration of striped forms, Song is an exceptional painting from Sean Scully’s early oeuvre of multi-panel works. Exemplifying the inimitable pictorial dialect of glossily painted horizontal and vertical bars that have become the artist’s hallmark, the present piece reveals not only the possibility of color in non-figurative form but also the artist’s spirited artistic philosophy.

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