A presenter stands beside Andy Warhol’s Sixteen Jackies and Rounded JackieSotheby’s New York evening sale of contemporary art on May 10, 2011, totaled $128 million, just above the $121 million low estimate. The auction, which featured 58 contemporary works by artists such as Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons, ended with total 49 of 58 lots selling, or 84.5 percent. The result is a drop from Sotheby’s performance in fall 2010 ($222.5 million), spring 2010 ($190 million) and fall 2009 ($134.4 million). The low of $47 million was set in May 2009, while the record high of $362 million was made in May 2008.
As usual, Andy Warhol was the coin of the realm, taking four of the ten top prices. Warhol’s canvas, Sixteen Jackies, sold for $20.4 million with another, Shadow – Red selling for 4.8 million, far above the estimate of $700,000-900,000. Sixteen Jackies, 16 print painted panels in acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas narrowly avoided failure thanks to a single $18 million bid that did not match the $20 million low estimate. (The price, $20.24 million with the additional sale charge.)
Jeff Koons’ iconic Pink Panther sculpture has fetched $16.8 million at the Sotheby’s Spring Sale of Contemporary Art. The 1988 porcelain sculpture of a blonde woman hugging a pink panther toy it was earlier expected to sell for between $20 million and $30 million.
There were three editions made of the work, the one at Tuesday’s auction is the artist’s proof. One was sold at Christie’s in 1999 for $1.8 million, reportedly to the newsprint magnate Peter Brant. The others are in the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.
The major spring art auctions begin this week and will feature many instantly recognizable works by artists like Warhol, Koons and Picasso. The rapidly rebounding art market faces a critical test next week in New York, when auction houses will try to sell a mix of Impressionist, modern and contemporary works valued at nearly $1 billion. A dozen works are each priced near $20 million.
Here are some highlights:
Jeff Koons’ Iconic Pink Panther SculptureJeff Koons’ iconic sculpture of a Pink Panther hugging a bare-breasted blonde is estimated to bring $20 million to $30 million at Sotheby’sSpring Sale of Contemporary Art auction on May 10. The porcelain sculpture is the artist’s proof from an edition of three with the other examples in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and a prominent private American collection, and belongs to the artist’s iconic Banality series that includes Michael Jackson and Bubbles, Bear and Policeman and Ushering in Banality.
Pink Panther is one of the most outstanding achievements of Jeff Koons’s illustrious career. It is immediately identifiable as a masterpiece not only of the artist’s historic canon, but also of the epoch of recent contemporary art, said Tobias Meyer, Sotheby’s worldwide head of contemporary art about the vibrant pink-and-yellow work.