Sotheby’s live-streamed sales of contemporary, modern, and Impressionist art closed on Wednesday for a total of $283.9 million, with the two auctions jointly achieving a sell-through rate of 97 percent by lot. The sale saw works from a number of collections go under the hammer, including newly-deaccessioned works from the Brooklyn Museum’s collection, which jointly achieved $19.8 million. New auction records were set for works by Giorgio de Chirico and a joint painting by Banksy and Damien Hirst.
The sales were led by Alberto Giacometti’s towering bronze sculpture Femme Leoni, originally conceived in 1947, with this iteration being cast in 1958. The sculpture sold for $25.9 million, squarely within its estimate of $20 million to $30 million. Works from the collection of the Brooklyn Museum were spread across both the contemporary and the modern and Impressionist sales with a 100 percent sell-through rate by lot. Notable sales from this collection include Claude Monet’s Les Îles à Port-Villez (1897), which sold for $4.6 million in the modern and Impressionist sale, and a mid-century dining table (1950) designed by Carlo Mollino sold for $6.2 million. The proceeds from the sales will go towards establishing a Collection Care Fund for the museum.
Deaccessioned works by Clyfford Still, Brice Marden, and Andy Warhol from the Baltimore Museum of Art’s collection were also originally scheduled to go on offer in order to fund staff salaries and the acquisition of newer, more diverse artists, but the museum reversed its decision at the last minute following growing criticism.
Despite the unexpected withdrawal from the BMA, the evening saw a number of notable auction records set. De Chirico’s 1913 painting Il Pomeriggio di Arianna (Ariadne’s Afternoon) was the subject of a nearly ten-minute bidding battle, ultimately selling for $15.9 million, breaking the artist’s previous auction record, which had stood since 2009. The contemporary sale saw a rare collaboration between the British contemporary titans Banksy and Hirst go on offer, only the second time a joint piece from the artists has ever gone to auction. Sorry, the Lifestyle You Ordered is Currently Out of Stock (2013–2014), which combines Hirst’s famous dot pattern with Banksy’s signature deadpan sloganeering, sold for $2.3 million, beating the pair’s last collaboration, Keep it spotless (2007), which sold in 2008 for $1.87 million
The Los Angeles–based multidisciplinary artist Cauleen Smith won the 15th annual Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize. The prize, which was established in 2006 by jazz musician George Wein in honor of his late wife, is given yearly to an African-American artist who “demonstrates great innovation, promise, and creativity,” according to a press release. The prize is presented in conjunction with the Studio Museum in Harlem’s annual Gala campaign, and carries a cash prize of $50,000. Previous winners include Diedrick Brackens, Simone Leigh, and Derrick Adams.
Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of the Studio Museum, said in a statement:
David Hockney’s 1980 landscape painting Nichols Canyon will go on offer at the upcoming Phillips contemporary evening sale, scheduled to take place on December 7th. The painting carries an estimate of around $35 million, according to a press release from Phillips, and is billed as “unequivocally the most important landscape by the artist in private hands.” The hefty price tag makes it Hockney’s most expensive landscape to ever appear at auction, and, if its estimate is achieved, would place the work in the artist’s top three most expensive auction results.
Nichols Canyon marked Hockney’s embrace of landscape painting following a brief foray into photography in the 1970’s, and was included in the landmark 1981 exhibition “A New Spirit in Painting” at the Royal Academy in London. The painting will be on view at Phillips London until November 1st, then travel to Hong Kong, and finally New York before heading to auction.
Hockney described the process of painting the work in a statement:
A maquette of the bronze sculpture Holding Hands (2020) by the British street artist Stik sold at Christie’s contemporary day sale for £287,500 ($376,700), setting a new auction record for the artist. The piece is a proof of a larger sculpture that was installed in London’s Hoxton Square earlier this year. Stik donated the maquette to the Hackney Council, the local government of the London borough of Hackney; proceeds from its sale will go towards funding a new public sculpture and installations across the borough.
Philip Glanville, mayor of Hackney, said in a statement:
Tariku Shiferaw has joined Galerie Lelong & Co.’s artist roster and is scheduled to present his first solo exhibition with the gallery in spring 2021. The Ethiopian-American artist will continue to be represented by Addis Fine Art in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and inLondon.
Shiferaw is best known for his work in geometric abstraction. His densely-layered works center on the artist’s notion of the “mark,” which “reveals the thinker behind the gesture—an evidence of prior markings of ideas and self onto the space,” according to Shiferaw. He also utilizes materials such as mylar and vinyl to add further dimensionality to his canvases, while his sculptural works utilize commonplace objects such as wooden pallets or even sweatshirts to create assemblages that carry similar gridlike visual motifs.
Mary Sabbatino, vice president and partner at Galerie Lelong & Co., said:
The photographer Deana Lawson has been awarded the 2020 Hugo Boss Prize, which comes with a $100,000 honorarium as well as a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum, scheduled to take place in spring 2021. Lawson is the thirteenth recipient of the biennial prize, whose past winners include Anicka Yi and Simone Leigh, and is the award’s first photographer. Lawson was chosen from a shortlist comprising the artists Nairy Baghramian, Kevin Beasley, Elias Sime, Cecilia Vicuña, and Adrián Villar Rojas.
The prize jury said of their choice in a statement: