How Auction Houses are Approaching Their Crucial Summer Sales
25 June 2020
Sotheby's, Christies, Phillips and Bonham's have changed what they're selling and how they're selling it for major auctions taking place over the next two weeks.
Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild (801-3) (1994). Oil on canvas. Courtesy Phillips.
The world's biggest auction houses will hold their marquee summer sales events over the next two weeks, beginning with Sotheby's New York on Monday 29 June. With travel restricted and spending impacted by COVID-19, they've adapted both what they're selling and how they're selling it.
Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Auction, 29 June, New York
Sotheby's New York auction will be conducted remotely by an auctioneer in London this year. Sotheby's has also introduced an AR service so bidders can see works as they would appear in their homes, and a virtual tour of the pre-sale exhibitions in New York. The Contemporary Art Evening Auction will be preceded by the Ginny Williams Collection Evening Sale, which features works by Joan Mitchell among others.
Highlights of the main event include:
Vija Celmins, Night Sky #7 (1995). Oil on canvas. Estimate: $6-8 million.
Clyfford Still, 1947-Y-No. 1 ( 1947). Oil on canvas. Estimate: $25-35 million.
Roy Lichtenstein, White Brushstroke I (1965). Oil and Magna on canvas. Estimate: $20-30 million.
Bonhams Post-War & Contemporary Art, 1 July, New York
Bonhams' New York auction will be led by Ruth Asawa's Untitled (1953-1954), made of brass and wire. The work, which has been held privately since it was created, has an estimate of $1 million-1.5 million.
Other highlights include:
André Cadere, Barre de bois rond A 12003000 (1975). Painted wood. Estimate: $140,000-180,000.
Richard Pettibone, Andy Warhol, Sixteen Jackies, 1964 (1996). Acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas. Estimate $80,000-120,000.
John McLaughlin, #1 (1972). Oil on canvas. Estimate: $150,000-200,000.
Phillips 20th Century and Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York, 2 July
Following the sale of Norman Rockwell's Before the Shot in November last year for $4.7 million, Phillips is again accommodating works of kitsch in its evening sale. This time it's Maxfield Parrish's Humpty Dumpty (1921) that's going under the hammer with an estimate of $400,000-600,000.
Other highlights include:
Helen Frankenthaler, Head of the Meadow (1967). Acrylic on canvas. Estimate: $600,000-800,000.
Christie's ONE: A Global Sale of the 20th Century, New York, Hong Kong, Paris and London, 10 July
Christie's has made the most radical changes to how its conducting its summer auctions this year. They've elected to hold a relay-style auction that starts in Hong Kong and moves across time zones in real time, continuing in Paris, London and New York. Christie's has not yet released an online catalogue for the auction, but highlights can be viewed here.
Roy Lichtenstein, Nude with Joyous Painting (1994). Oil and Magna on canvas. Estimate $30 million.
Ed Ruscha, Annie (1962). Oil and graphite on canvas. Estimate: $20-30 million.
Pablo Picasso, Les femmes d'Alger (version 'F') (1955). Oil on canvas. Estimate $25 million.
Lucio Fontana, Concetto Spaziale, Attesa (1966) Estimate: $ 7.5-10.5 million.
Zao Wou-Ki, 21.10.63 (1963). Oil on canvas. Estimate: over $10 million. —[O]