On Friday, Gagosian set a new record for a public sale of a work by the revered German painter Albert Oehlen. The large, 1988 untitled abstract painting by Oehlen sold just three hours after it was unveiled as the sole work in Gagosian’s online viewing room ahead of Art Basel in Hong Kong. While the gallery did not report the price achieved for the work, it was asking $6 million—a level that challenges a common perception in the art industry that only low-value works can successfully transact online.
On Friday evening, Gagosian director Sam Orlofsky tweeted about the sale, boasting that the gallery had “set a 7 figure world record for an artist within three hours of the artwork being revealed, and the purchaser never seeing it in person.”
Gagosian confirmed that the price for the Oehlen exceeded the artist’s auction record of £3.6 million ($4.7 million), set at a Christie's sale in London in October of last year, for the large figurative painting Stier mit loch (Bull with hole) (1986).
The gallery began hosting online viewing rooms alongside major fairs last June, concurrent with Art Basel. The single-artwork approach for the Oehlen painting was a first, however; previous online viewing rooms featured between 10 and 12 works.