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Sotheby's Contemporary Art Day Auction hits $100 million mark again in New York
Brice Marden, Couplet Painting Study II, 1987-88. Estimate $500/700,000. Sold for $1.5 million. Courtesy Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s marquee November auctions continued yesterday in New York, with the Contemporary Art Day Auction achieving $100.1 million with 83.2% of lots sold. Sotheby’s worldwide sales of Contemporary Art have reached $1.6 billion year-to-date in 2018 – up 22% over the same period in 2017.

Courtney Kremers, Head of Sotheby’s Day Auctions of Contemporary Art in New York, commented: “Today’s sale marks our third-consecutive Day Auction to reach the $100 million benchmark in New York, demonstrating demand across the Contemporary art market. We saw continued success for distinguished private collections – from Judith Neisser to Michael Asher and Betty Asher and of course the incredible David Teiger, whose collection inspired continued competition for works by Elizabeth Peyton and set a new auction record for Ugo Rondinone. From an early portrait by Jean Dubuffet from 1945, to an exhilarating example of Sean Scully’s Landline series from 2015, our top prices show strength across the full breadth of the post-war and contemporary category.”

Cy Twombly, Untitled, 1970. Estimate $1.2/1.8 million. Sold for $3.1 million
The auction was led by Cy Twombly’s Untitled, which had remained in the same private collection since the year it was executed in 1970. A stunning example of Twombly’s distinguished Roman Note series, Untitled translates onto paper the artist’s signature gesture of liberated swirls.

Ugo Rondinone, a day like this.made of nothing and nothing else. Estimate $800,000/1.2 million. Sold for $1.1 million *World Auction Record for the Artist*
Following last night’s ‘white-glove’ selection of 11 works from the personal collection of visionary collector, patron and Museum of Modern Art, New York trustee David Teiger, the Afternoon session began with an additional 27 pieces from the collection. Sotheby’s ongoing sales of the Teiger Collection have reached $107.3 million to-date, with further material to be offered through 2019. Proceeds from the collection will benefit Teiger Foundation – soon to be one of the world’s largest and most significant contemporary art foundations – which was set up to support and promote excellence in contemporary art.

Today’s selection was led by Ugo Rondinone’s a day like this.made of nothing and nothing else from 2009, which set a new world auction record for the artist when it sold for $1.1 million. Meticulously molded from the ancient olive trees which grow outside of the artist’s ancestral Naples, the sculpture functions as a highly personal tether between Rondinone’s familial origins and his ever-evolving conceptual aims.

Joan Mitchell, Untitled, Circa 1956. Estimate $1.5/2 million. Sold for $3 million
Joan Mitchell painted Untitled circa 1956, at a formative point in her celebrated career. Untitled blends together rich colors, unmixed on the brush, in order to create a sense of dimensionality and physicality. The work had remained in the same private American collection since it was acquired at a Sotheby’s New York auction in 1984.

Brice Marden, Couplet Painting Study II, 1987-88. Estimate $500/700,000. Sold for $1.5 million
The Day Auction opened with a group of 28 works on offer from the collection Judith Neisser, who amassed an extraordinary collection of Contemporary art across several decades. Combined with last night’s sale of works by Robert Ryman, Lucio Fontana, Donald Judd and Cy Twombly, works from the Neisser Collection have reached $19.7 million at Sotheby’s thus far – surpassing their high estimate of $15 million – with additional property to be offered in the Contemporary Curated auction in March 2019. Today’s selection was led by Brice Marden’s Couplet Painting Study II, which Judith acquired in 1998.

Tom Wesselmann, 18 Year Old on the Beach, 1984. Estimate $1/1.5 million. Sold for $3 million
Tom Wesselmann’s 18 Year Old on the Beach hails from the artist’s Great American Nude series of works depicting his wife, Claire. The title refers to the fact that Wesselmann returned to the work 18 years after initially starting it in the mid-1960s – not that Claire was 18 years old at the time of the painting. The work was offered from the Estate of Harriet Griffin Whitelaw, a prominent art dealer who began her career at Sotheby’s Parke-Bernet.

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November 17, 2018

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