Press Release

Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Auction Totals £92.5 million in London

By Sotheby's

11 February 2020: Tonight in London, Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Auction totalled £92,488,659 / $119,310,370 / €110,061,504, against a pre-sale estimate of £75.3-104.7 million.

The sale was led by DAVID HOCKNEY’S breathtaking The Splash, which sold for £23,117,000/ $29,820,930 / €27,509,230 (est. £20-30 million) – the third highest price for the artist's work at auction. Executed in 1966, the landmark pool painting first appeared in Sotheby’s London salesroom in 1973, and again in 2006 when it sold for £2.9 million / $5.4 million – a record price for Hockney at the time. Nine of the top ten top prices for Hockney have been set in the past two years. David Hockney’s 30 Sunflowers will also lead Sotheby’s Hong Kong Contemporary Art Evening Auction in April.

“Tonight’s star lot needs little introduction, having received plenty of interest from collectors, the media, and art-enthusiasts across the globe in the lead up this evening’s auction. That’s what is really special about David Hockney – born in Yorkshire, the artist and his work are now truly universal.”
Alex Branczik, European Head of Contemporary Art


Fresh to auction, ADRIAN GHENIE’S The Arrival soared over the high estimate to achieve £4,184,500 / $5,401,353 / €4,962,380 (est. £2.5-3.5 million). The top 11 prices for the artist have been set since 2016.

In the year of his 100th birthday, WAYNE THIEBAUD’S Californian Fruit Stand achieved a juicy £1,815,000 / $2,342,802 / €2,152,401 (est. £800,000-1,200,000). Having remained in the same European collection since the 1960s, the auction follows the artist’s record-breaking sale at Sotheby’s New York last November.

In its auction debut, a new world record was set for A.R. PENCK’S Welt des Adlers I (World of the Eagle I) when it sold for £531,000 / $685,415 / €629,711 (est. £300,000-500,000). The work was executed in 1981 at a pivotal moment in Penck’s career following his exodus from East Germany to West in August 1980. The previous record for the artist was £369,000 / $481,100 set at Phillips London in October 2017.

BANKSY’S Vote to Love more than doubled its pre-sale estimate when the price soared to £1,155,000 / $1,490,874 / €1,369,709 (est. £400,000-600,000). The work was prominently displayed in the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition in 2018 with a price tag of £350 million – a reference to the Vote Leave bus which claimed Brexit would save the NHS £350 million per week.

JEAN DUBUFFET’S Episode champêtre doubled the low estimate to sell for £1,815,000 / $2,342,802 / €2,152,401 (est. £900,000-1,200,000). The artist will be the subject of a major retrospective at the Barbican from September 2020 to January 2021, sponsored by Sotheby’s.


JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT’S Rubber sold for £7,487,600 / $9,664,994 / €8,879,512 (est. £6-8 million) – 23 times the price achieved for the work when it sold for €420,500 at Sotheby’s New York in 1988.

FRANCIS BACON’S Turning Figure, in the same collection for more than 30 years, sold for £7,032,000 / $9,076,906 / €8,339,218 (est. £6-8 million) in its auction debut.

An exemplar of CHRISTOPHER WOOL’S feted series of abstract monochrome paintings, Untitled achieved £6,156,809 / $7,942,283 / €7,326,602 (est. £5.5-6.5 million).

In its auction debut, YVES KLEIN’S Anthropometry, (ANT 132) realised £6,177,750 / $7,969,297 / €7,351,522 (est. £6-8 million). The painting is the first Anthropometry work to appear at auction that features two full body figures and has remained in one family collection for 35 years.


Opening the sale with a bang, JULIE CURTISS’ enchanting Witch achieved £162,500 / $209,755/ €192,708 (est. £50,000-70,000), after eight determined bidders competed for the work – tripling the low estimate. Works by Curtiss’ first appeared at auction in May 2019. Her record at auction has since been broken twice.

After seeing competition from five bidders, EDDIE MARTINEZ’S Empirical Mind State soared to £615,000 / $793,842 / €729,326 (est. £100,000-150,000) – six times the low estimate. Tonight’s sale marked the first time a work by Martinez has appeared in an evening sale at Sotheby’s London. The top 20 prices for the artist at auction were all set in 2019.


Abigail Tavener | | Alicia Stockley |

About Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s has been uniting collectors with world-class works of art since 1744. Sotheby’s became the first international auction house when it expanded from London to New York (1955), the first to conduct sales in Hong Kong (1973), India (1992) and France (2001), and the first international fine art auction house in China (2012). Today, Sotheby’s has a global network of 80 offices in 40 countries and presents auctions in 10 different salesrooms, including New York, London, Hong Kong and Paris. Sotheby’s offers collectors the resources of Sotheby’s Financial Services, the world’s only full-service art financing company, as well as Advisory services for collectors, museums, corporations, artists, estates and foundations. Sotheby’s presents private sale opportunities in more than 70 categories, including three retail businesses: Sotheby’s Wine, Sotheby’s Diamonds, and Sotheby’s Home, the online marketplace for interior design.

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* Estimates do not include buyer's premium or overhead premium. Prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer's premium and overhead premium and are net of any fees paid to the purchaser where the purchaser provided an irrevocable bid.

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