Dec 16, 2020
News

Works by Salman Toor, Banksy, and Eddie Martinez led Phillips’s “New Now” sale.

Salman Toor, Liberty Porcelain (2012). Courtesy Phillips.

Salman Toor, Liberty Porcelain (2012). Courtesy Phillips.

Phillips’s “New Now” sale closed in London yesterday, achieving £3.8 million ($5 million) in total sales, the highest ever achieved by the category in London. The auction saw 172 out of 215 lots find buyers for a sell-through rate of 80 percent by lot.
Works by Salman Toor, Banksy, and Eddie Martinez led the auction. Toor’s 2012 canvas was the top lot of the evening, soaring past its high estimate of £60,000 ($80,100) to sell for £378,000 ($504,000), nabbing the third highest auction result for a work by the artist, who made his debut on the secondary market in October of this year. An edition of Banksy’s iconic Girl With Balloon (2004) followed, selling for £189,000 ($252,300) above a high estimate of £150,000 ($200,200). Eddie Martinez’s Skullscape 3 (large) (2012) rounded out the top three results, achieving £163,800 ($218,600) above a high estimate of £120,000 ($160,200).
The sale also saw new auction records set for works by The Connor Brothers, Neil Stokoe, and Michael Sailstorfer, among others. The Connor Brothers’s Two works: (i) The Truth Is Like Poetry; (ii) Study for The truth is Like Poetry (2018) sold for £40,300 ($53,800), beating out their previous record of HK$350,000 ($44,600) set in 2019. The British duo, who had the eighth-highest number of bidders at auctions on Artsy in 2020, have been the subject of an explosion in interest on the platform over the past three years, according to Artsy data. Between 2018 and 2020, the number of artworks by the duo published on the platform increased by nearly 158 percent. Over the same period, the number of inquirers on their work increased by 282 percent.
Simon Tovey, Head of New Now, said in a statement:
Dec 15, 2020

An Ansel Adams photograph achieved a new auction record for the artist at Sotheby’s.

Ansel Adams, The Grand Tetons and the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (1942). Courtesy Sotheby’s.

Ansel Adams, The Grand Tetons and the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (1942). Courtesy Sotheby’s.

A photograph by Ansel Adams achieved a new auction record for the artist at a dedicated Sotheby’s sale yesterday. A large-scale print of Adams’s The Grand Tetons and the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (1942) sold for $988,000, beating the photographer’s previous record of $722,500, achieved at a Sotheby’s New York sale in 2010.
The Grand Tetons and the Snake River sold as part of Sotheby’s dedicated sale “A Grand Vision: The David H. Arrington Collection of Ansel Adams Masterworks.” The auction saw 123 lots go under the hammer, achieving $6.4 million in total sales with a sell-through rate of 94 percent by lot. Nearly half of the offered works achieved prices above their estimates, helping push the auction to the highest total for a Sotheby’s photograph sale since 2014.
Emily Bierman, head of Sotheby’s Photographs Department in New York, said in a statement:
Dec 14, 2020

A collector donated works by McArthur Binion, Amy Sherald, and others to a historically Black college.

McArthur Binion, DNA:Study (2019). Courtesy Lehmann Maupin.

McArthur Binion, DNA:Study (2019). Courtesy Lehmann Maupin.

New York business executive and Morehouse College alum George Wells has pledged to donate roughly $1 million worth of works from his collection to his alma mater. The historically Black Atlanta college will receive a selection that includes works by Amy Sherald, Rashid Johnson, Mickalene Thomas, Ivy Haldeman, and McArthur Binion, among others. The works will be displayed around the college’s campus in 2021 and will form Morehouse’s first permanent art collection.
Wells said in a statement:
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Dec 11, 2020

A new Banksy mural appeared on a building in Bristol, England.

Banksy’s newest mural in Bristol, England. Photo by Geoff Caddick / AFP via Getty Images.

Banksy’s newest mural in Bristol, England. Photo by Geoff Caddick / AFP via Getty Images.

A new pandemic-themed Banksy work has appeared on the side of a house in Bristol, England. The mural, which features an elderly woman in the midst of a sneeze so forceful that her dentures have flown out, was claimed by the artist in an Instagram post on Thursday with the caption “Aachoo!!”
Dec 10, 2020

Kudzanai-Violet Hwami has joined Victoria Miro’s artist roster.

Portrait of Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, 2019. Photo by Jo Metson Scott, courtesy Victoria Miro.

Portrait of Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, 2019. Photo by Jo Metson Scott, courtesy Victoria Miro.

Kudzanai-Violet Hwami has joined Victoria Miro’s artist roster. The Zimbabwe-born, U.K.-based painter will be included in an online exhibition presented by the gallery as part of the Reprieve Collective, launching today on the Vortic Collect app. Her first in-person exhibition with the gallery will take place in summer 2021.
Hwami, who grew up in South Africa, is best known for her intimate figurative portraiture, which often focuses on the minutiae of South African life. Her richly-rendered subjects are contrasted with vivid gestural backgrounds, which often combine abstract color fields, pared-down patterning, and a variety of other media such as digital collage, silkscreen, pastels and charcoal.
Hwami described her process in a statement:
Dec 9, 2020

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

Barkley L. Hendricks, Mr. Johnson (Sammy From Miami) (1972). Courtesy 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”