£125.3 Million Spent in Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Sale in London | BLOUIN ARTINFO
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£125.3 Million Spent in Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Sale in London

£125.3 Million Spent in Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Sale in London
Auction of “Portrait on a White Cover,” 2002-2003 by Lucian Freud
(Courtesy: Sotheby's)

Lucian Freud’s “Portrait on a White Cover” led Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Sale in London on June 27, 2018. Calming fears of “fatigue,” the auction soared past expectation as it set a record sale of £125.3 million.

Sotheby's June sale of Contemporary art drew to a close in London with a combined total of £125.3 million / $166.3 million / €142.1 million — a 65% increase in GBP (70% in USD) on the equivalent sales last year, and above the pre-sale high estimate (est. £91.4-124.8 million / $121.3-165.6 million / €103.7-141.5 million).

Alex Branczik, Head of Contemporary Art for Europe at Sotheby's, said, "some commentators had predicted fatigue post-Basel, but these results speak for themselves. The balance of the sale between great masterpieces and new names that we don't often seen here in London accounted for the great energy and determined bidding we saw in the room last night. This is a vote of full confidence in the June season."

The auction house reports that the sale was led by Lucian Freud’s late masterpiece “Portrait on a White Cover,” 2002-3, which sold for £22.5 million / $29.8 million in its auction debut (est. £17-20 million).  This reclining nude of Sophie Lawrence, who worked for Tate publishing and was spotted by Freud whilst preparing for his retrospective in 2002, becomes the most valuable work by the artist ever to be sold in London, superseding the sale of Pregnant Girl for £16.1 million at Sotheby’s in February 2016.

“Peter Doig’s ‘Daytime Astronomy (Grasshopper)’ (1998-99) attracted four bidders to achieve £7.7 million / $10.2 million (est. £6-8 million). Never before offered at auction, the painting had remained in the same collection since its completion in 1999,” says Sotheby’s.

David Hockney’s bold landscape painting “Double East Yorkshire” made £11.3 million / $15 million — more than three times the £3.4 million the painting fetched in its last auction appearance in 2013.

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