Dealer Brett Gorvy explained as he walked out of the saleroom that rather than a watershed moment for the market, or an indication of the market’s expansion to a new stage, the Hockney was a unique case. He said that the result “reflects that painting, that this was an extraordinary painting, and there were at least two people who wanted it.”
Pylkkänen agreed, and hastened to let such an outlier define the current standing of the market. “I don’t think that price will be surpassed in my lifetime,” he said.
More indicative may be the lots where truly engaged bidding pushed prices well past the high estimate:
- More than 10 bidders vied for the night’s opening lot, a work on paper titled Window (1969-1970). This deep demand pushed the price to more than four times the work’s high estimate of $500,000 to hammer at $2.6 million to the client on the phone with Francis Outred, or $3.1 million with the buyers premium.
- achieved a new record when eight bidders on the phones and the advisor Todd Levin in the room attempted to secure Cultural Exchange (1987). It eventually hammered at $750,000, more than double the high estimate of $350,000, purchased by the client on the phone with Gouzer for a price of $912,500 with fees.
- , the street artist who just this year has started to appear at evening sales with regularity, saw his Chum (KCB7) (2012) quadruple its high estimate when it hammered for $2 million ($2.4 million with fees); it sold to a collector in Asia.
But that wasn’t the biggest KAWS sale of the night—that sale came a few hours earlier at Phillips’s 20th Century and Contemporary Art Sale where Untitled (Fatal Group) (2004) hammered at $2.9 million, above a $900,000 high estimate. It sold to Phillips specialist Kevie Yang for $3.5 million with fees, setting a record for the artist.
It was a bright spot in a sale that brought in $88 million—below its $100 million low estimate—with high-profile flops that included a
consigned by the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro
expected to sell for $18 million and work by
expected to sell for between $10 million and $15 million.