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