Sotheby’s contemporary evening sale in London tonight totaled $61.8 million, about a third as much as last May’s New York contemporary sale. Results are respectable: eighty-three percent of lots found buyers. Nine of 53 lots failed to sell. The same London sale tallied just $42 million a year ago.
The evening’s top lot was Klein’s Re 49, Relief Eponge Blue, the surface arrayed with sponges, pebbles and coated in the artist’s signature blue hue. The 1961 piece sold for $9.3 million to an unnamed U.S. collector, according to Sotheby’s. The seller was HypoVereinsbank.
Other Kleins on the block included a gold leaf panel MG42 which sold for $732,848, six times the price it fetched in at auction 2000. Another piece, a fire painting titled F124 sold for $1.4 million. The artist’s retrospective continues at Washington’s Hirshhorn Museum until Sept. 12.
Sotheby’s press department calculated any and all auction records, including one for a Boetti tapestry: Mappa fetched $1.3 million. Bharti Kher’s life-size elephant sculpture The Skin Speaks a Language not its Own, set an auction record for the artist, selling for $1.5 million–also a record for a contemporary female Indian artist at auction.
Here is a list of the Top Ten Priciest Lots Sold
1. Yves Klein, Re 49, natural sponges, pebbles, dry blue pigment and synthetic resin on canvas laid down on panel, 1961
Sold for $9,327,300 to US Private
2. Lucio Fontana, Concetto Spaziale, La Fine di Dio, oil on canvas, 1963
Sold for $7,137,331 to a European Private
3. Gerhard Richter, Neger (Nuba), oil on canvas, 1964
Sold for $5,621,198 to a Private Collector
4. Frank Auerbach, Mornington Crescent – Summer Morning, oil on canvas, 1991
Sold for $3,431,228 to Anonymous
5. Richard Prince, Millionaire Prince, inkjet print and acrylic on canvas, 2002
Sold for $3,262,769 to European Private
6. Andy Warhol, Camouflage Self-Portrait, acrylic and silkscreen on canvas, 1986
Sold for $2,588,932 to US Trade
7. Andy Warhol, Three Jackie, 1964, acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas, 1964
Sold for $2,336,243 to US Trade
8. Alexander Calder, Untitled, painted metal hanging mobile, 1963
Sold for $2,083,555 to Private Collector
9. Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild, oil on aluminium, 1997
Sold for $1,746,636, to Asian Private
10. Bharti Kher, The Skin Speaks a Language Not Its Own, bindis on fibreglass, 2006
Sold for $1,493,947 (artist record at auction), to Anonymous