Sotheby's Top 10 for 2014
New York -- Sotheby’s net auction sales increased 24% to $2.7 billion on strong global sales during the first half of 2014, particularly in Hong Kong and London.
This led to an 18% increase in auction commission revenues to $403.8 million as compared to the prior year.
Art collectors of ArtKabinett social media network are seeing auction prices at their highest.
The highlight of the period was Claude Monet’s Nymphéas which brought $54.1 million and the second highest price for the artist at auction.
Works by top British artists achieved record prices, with Bacon and Doig highlighting the results.
Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for Portrait of George Dyer brought the highest price of the Evening sale with $45.4 million, a record for a small-scale triptych by the artist and surpassing the pre-sale estimate of $34 million by a wide margin.
Also, a new auction record was established for Peter Doig when his Country-rock (wing mirror) sold for $14.4 million. 88% of the sold lots of the Evening sale achieved prices at or above their pre-sale estimates.
Healthy Balance Sheet
In the first half of 2014, adjusted expenses* increased 4% to $301.8 million, due to higher salaries and related costs.
These factors were partially offset by lower marketing and general and administrative expenses, reflecting management’s ongoing efforts to reduce costs in those areas.
In the first half of 2014, total expenses increased 22% due to the cost of Principal revenues attributable to a series of profitable transactions completed in the period ($32.0 million) and special charges ($24.3 million).
Top 10 Sales for 2014:
1. Claude Monet, Nymphéas, 1906, pictured above: Monet’s waterlily paintings are among the most revered and celebrated works of the Impressionist movement. Asian bidding helped drive the price for this 1906 work to £31.7m – the highest price for an Impressionist Painting sold anywhere in the world this year. Sotheby’s London Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale, 23rd June 2014, $45.4m.
2. Francis Bacon, Three Studies for Portrait of George Dyer, 1964: A rare and intimate triptych of the artist’s greatest love. Asian bidding helped drive the price to £26.7m – the highest price for any work of Contemporary art sold in London this season. Sotheby’s London Contemporary Art Evening Auction, 30th June 2014, $32.1m
3. Camille Pissarro, Le Boulevard Montmartre, matinée du printemps, 1897: Camille Pissarro’s series paintings of Paris are among the supreme achievements of Impressionism. This exceptional, museum‐quality masterwork, which was restituted in 2000 to Max Silberberg’s family, was brought to auction for the first time ever ‐ achieving a new record for the artist at auction. Sotheby’s London Impressionist, Modern & Surrealist Art Evening Sale, 5th February 2014, $28.7m.
4. Gerhard Richter, Wand (Wall), 1994: The painting, never before seen at auction, was treasured by Richter and kept in his personal collection for over 15 years, singling it out as a keynote work for many important museum exhibitions. This is the third highest price for any painting by the artist, and the second highest price for one of his abstract works. Sotheby’s London Contemporary Art Evening Auction, 12th February 2014, $27.5m.
5. Vincent van Gogh, L'homme est en mer, 1889: Soared to double the high estimate to achieve the highest price for a painting by the artist sold at auction in London in 25 years. Sotheby’s London Impressionist, Modern & Surrealist Art Evening Sale, 5th February 2014, $25.9m.
6. Piet Mondrian, Composition with Red, Blue and Grey, 1927: Quintessential masterpiece by the master of minimalism. Made £15.2m ‐ second highest price ever achieved for a work by the artist. Sotheby’s London Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale, 23rd June 2014, $20m.
7. Cy Twombly, Untitled (Rome), 1964: Breathtaking painting bringing together all the drama, scale, colour, confluence of line and form and emotional urgency of Twombly’s prodigious oeuvre. Sotheby’s London Contemporary Art Evening Auction, 12th February 2014, $16.9m.
8. Pablo Picasso, Composition (Composition au Minotaure), 1936: From the legendary private collection of Jan Krugier, featuring the recurring figure in Picasso’s oeuvre: Sotheby’s London Impressionist, Modern & Surrealist Art Evening Sale, 5th February 2014, $16.1m.
9. A Marble Statue of Aphrodite, Roman Imperial, circa early 1st Century A.D.: Asian bidding helped drive the price, the highest price ever achieved for a classical antiquity sold at auction in Europe. Sotheby’s London Treasures, 9th July 2014, $14.6m.
10. Claude Monet, La Seine à Argenteuil, 1875: One of four major Impressionist paintings from the collection of Ralph C. Wilson Jr, the father of American football. Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale, 23rd June 2014, $8.5m.