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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Most expensive painting by a living artist - Sothebys Contemporary Auction Shatters Records usual Suspects - Gerhard Richter, Jeff Koons, Basquiat and Lichtenstein Ultimate Trophy art.

Gerhard Richter has proven to be the all time leader in cost for a painting at auction by a living artist. Gerhard Richter’s “Domplatz, Mailand [Cathedral Square, Milan]” from 1968 sold for 37 million at Sothebys.

Gerhard Richter, perhaps one of the most controversial and philosophical artists of our time.  "Domplatz Mailand" from 1968 shown here at Sothebys will now hang in a private collection in Napa Valley - formerly owned by Hyatt and the Pritzker family. 
Gerhard Richter at Sothebys.sold for a record, 
Gerhard Richter’s “Domplatz, Mailand [Cathedral Square, Milan]” from 1968.
Gerhard Richter’s “Domplatz, Mailand [Cathedral Square, Milan]” from 1968.


Francis Bacon



Jeff Koons
Basquiat
Christopher Wool 
Barnett Newman Onement

Barnett Newman



Roy Lichtenstein


Jeff Koons




Jeff Koons

Christopher Wool



As predicted records were shattered by Newman, Richter and Koons. 

In a hushed salesroom at Sotheby’s on Tuesday night, a packed audience watched intently as six bidders fought over Barnett Newman’s “Onement VI,” a deep blue abstract composition from 1953. The winner, a telephone bidder speaking Italian, ended up paying $43.8 million, a record price for the artist’s work at auction — beating out the previous record of $22.4 million, paid just a year ago for another canvas in the same series. Faint applause could be heard from the onlookers.
It was the high point of a solid sale — the first of three consecutive evening contemporary art auctions. Record prices were bid for the rarest works, but for the overpriced or second-rate, there was little to no action.
“The high end of the market is quite deep,” said Tobias Meyer, head of Sotheby’s contemporary art department worldwide and the event auctioneer, speaking of the number of bidders. “People are very educated; they know what is what.”
Of the 64 works for sale, 11 failed to find buyers. The auction totaled $293.6 million, above its low estimate of $283.9 million but well below its $382.9 million high.
Another record price was paid for Gerhard Richter’s “Domplatz, Mailand [Cathedral Square, Milan]” from 1968. Prices for Mr. Richter’s work have been escalating ever since a recent traveling retrospective in London, Paris and Berlin. And this painting, an unusually large example of the German artist’s photo-based paintings — it measures 9 by 9 ½ feet — depicts both the cathedral and the square’s 19th-century shopping arcade.
Until recently the painting had hung in the Hyatt Hotel in Chicago and was being sold by the Hyatt Hotels Corporation. The Pritzker family, majority shareholders in the hotel chain, had bought the work at Sotheby’s in London in 1998 for what was then a record price for Mr. Richter at auction, $3.6 million. On Tuesday night, Donald L. Bryant, a New York businessman, bought it for $33 million or $37.1 million with fees. (It had been estimated to fetch $30 million to $40 million.) It was a record price, beating the $34.2 million set at Sotheby’s in London in October for an abstract canvas that had belonged to Eric Clapton. After the sale Mr. Bryant said he planned to hang it in a house he is building in the Napa Valley.
(Final prices include the buyer’s premium: 25 percent of the first $100,000; 20 percent from $100,000 to $2 million and 12 percent of the rest. Estimates do not reflect commissions.)
The evening also included some expensive casualties. There was not a bid in sight for “Study for Portrait of P.L.,” a 1962 painting of Peter Lacy, Francis Bacon’s drug-addicted, alcoholic lover at the time. The painting had been estimated to sell for $30 million to $40 million.
Yves Klein’s “Sculpture éponge bleue sans titre, SE 168,” from 1959, one of the artist’s sponge sculptures soaked in his signature shade of blue, was thought to bring around $20 million. It ended up selling to Sandy Rower, who runs the Calder Foundation, for $19.5 million, or $22 million with fees.
Clyfford Still’s Abstract Expressionist paintings have never won the kind of big numbers that paintings by Pollock have, but on Tuesday night “PH-21,” from 1962, performed well. The canvas of floating forms of jagged colors, was thought to bring $16 million to $20 million. A telephone bidder ended up paying $18.5 million for it, or $20.8 million with fees.
The same price was paid for Pollock’s “Blue Unconscious,” a 1946 painting from his series “Sounds in the Grass.” Sold by an unidentified Texas collector who had bought it in 1965 for $45,000, it ended up in the hands of David Zwirner, a New York dealer, who paid $18.5 million, or $20.8 million with fees.
Prime examples from Diebenkorn’s “Ocean Park” series are usually in demand. “Ocean Park #46,” from 1971, expected to sell for $6 million to $8 million, was snapped up by a telephone bidder for $9.75 million or $11 million with fees.
A group of works by Jeff Koons belonging to Peter Brant, the Connecticut newsprint magnate, brought mixed results. A 1980 work, “The New Jeff Koons,” that had been expected to sell for $2.5 million to $3.5 million was bought by Philippe Ségalot, the Manhattan dealer, for $8.2 million, or $9.4 million with fees. But one of his seminal installations from the 1980s, four vacuum cleaners encased in acrylic, failed to sell. It had been expected to bring $10 million to $15 million.
After the sale, as the audience was milling on the sidewalk outside Sotheby’s, there was talk of who bought “Onement,” the star work of the evening. Many dealers guessed it wasMiuccia Prada, the famed fashion designer and collector. Others simply commented on the top prices.
“I guess a million dollars doesn’t buy you much anymore,” remarked Stephen Mazoh, a private dealer.