Henry Moore (1898-1986), born in Castleford Yorkshire, the son of a coal miner, was one of the most significant British artist and internationally renowned sculptor of the postwar period. After a brief period of teaching and serving in the army during World War I, Moore enrolled at Leeds School of Art in 1919 to learn to become a sculptor. During his lifetime, Moore was recognized for Modern sculpture in England, America and beyond, introducing the public to modern styles such as Surrealism and Primitivism.
He is particularly well known for a series of reclining nude and semi-abstract monumental marble and bronze sculptures, which can be found in public parks and plazas around the world. He was also carving a variety of subjects in stone, including half-length female figures, mother-and-child groups, masks and heads and his forms generally contained hollow spaces. Moore also produced many drawings specially the images of figures sheltering on the platforms of subway stations in London during the bombing raid of World War II.
On June 12, Sotheby’s is featuring Moore’s works at its Modern & Post-War British Art Day Sale and Evening sale in London. Later, Christie’s will auction his works at its Modern British Art Evening (on June 19), Modern British Art Day (on June 20), Impressionist & Modern Art Evening (June 20) and Impressionist and Modern Works on Paper (June 21) sales.
Here is a performance analysis of Henry Moore’s artworks in the auction market:
1. Sales Trend in the Past 20 Years
An analysis for the Moore’s artworks indicates that 2012 was the best year, when sales of 143 works totaled $91.5 million, which was followed by 2015 when sales of 337 works totaled $71.9 million.
2. Volume of Artworks on Offer vs. Bought-in Rate
From 2013 to 2014, there was a steep increase in the volume of lots on offer at auctions for the artist, and it remained between 432 and 470, in the period 2014 to 2017. While the volume kept increasing, the bought-in rate, or works unsold, shot up to nearly 40 percent.
3. Bought-ins by Auction Houses
The average bought-in rates at Christie’s and Sotheby’s remained around 20 percent in the past 10 years.
4. Average and Median Sale Price Trend in the Past 20 Years
In 2008 Moore’s sale price average hit an all-time high of $720,514 million, followed by $639,779 in 2012. But in the past four years, the average and median sale prices have drastically declined.
5. Highest-Priced Artworks
Moore’s 10 highest-priced artworks were sold at main auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s; where Christie’s sold the most.
“Reclining Figure: Festival,” a bronze sculpture with a brown finish, became a highlight of Christie’s 250th anniversary auction Defining British Art Evening sale in London on June 30, 2016, and established a record for the artist when it sold for £24.7 million ($32.9 million). The work can be viewed as an abstraction of a reclining female human figure, resting on two arms, with a small head.
The same bronze work but with dark brown patina was his second highest sold artwork, when it brought in $30.3 million in 2012 at Christie’s.
“Reclining Figure,” a plaster model polished with gold patina, fetched $11 million at Christie’s New York last year.
6. Price Band in Which His Works Have Sold in the Past 20 Years
Most of his works sold in the price band of less than $5,000 and $10,000 to 50,000, with each band resulting in nearly equal selling rates of around 30 percent. Works that sold for more than $1 million totaled 127, or 4.3 percent, in the past 20 years.
7. Where His Works Have Sold the Most in the Past 20 Years
Christie’s and Sotheby’s accounted for 95.5 percent of the artist’s total sales in the past two decades.In terms of volume, while most of the artist’s works, or 63 percent, is being sold at Christie’s and Sotheby’s, a significant 36.8 percent is being sold at other auction houses.
From a geographical perspective, the United States leads with $334.4 million, followed by United Kingdom at $304.7 million, and France and Germany accounting for the rest.
8. How Often Have His Works Exceeded the Auction Houses’ High Estimates?
In the 10-year period between 2007 and 2017, Moore’s artworks exceeded auction high estimates more often at Sotheby’s than at Christie’s.
Founder Louise Blouin