Art Market

A $4 million work by Barkley L. Hendricks set a new auction record for the artist at Sotheby’s.

Justin Kamp
Dec 9, 2020 10:23PM, via Sotheby’s

Barkley L. Hendricks, Mr. Johnson (Sammy From Miami) (1972). Courtesy Sotheby’s.

Sotheby’s New York cross-category evening sale closed yesterday, bringing in a total of $63.3 million in sales with a sell-through rate of 92 percent by lot. The auction was the last marquee evening sale of the year for Sotheby’s, and pushed the auction house’s global public and private sales of impressionist, modern, and contemporary art to over $2.75 billion in total for the year.

The sale was led by Alexander Calder’s hanging sculpture Mariposa (1951), which more than doubled its high estimate of $8 million to sell for $18.1 million. The sale marked the first time the work has come to auction since it was acquired by the esteemed Neiman Marcus Collection in 1951. Pablo Picasso’s late career portrait Buste de Femme Assise (1962) followed, selling for $11.1 million. Claude Monet’s Vernon, Soleil (1894), on offer as part of the Brooklyn Museum’s recent deaccessioning sales, sold for $4.7 million.

The sale also marked the continuation of Barkley L. Hendricks’s secondary-market ascendance, with the late artist’s 1972 portrait Mr. Johnson (Sammy From Miami) selling for a record $4 million, beating out his previous record of $3.7 million, set at Sotheby’s in May 2019. According to Artsy data, demand for works by Hendricks has steadily increased in tandem with the number of artworks made available by the artist on the platform, culminating in a quadrupling of inquiries between 2017 and 2019.

Further Reading: How Barkley Hendricks Became the Portraitist of “Black Cool”

Justin Kamp