Auction Advice: Paintings & Sculpture

The current state of art auctions



Contemporary art is still commanding sky-high prices. Unlike the works of many Old Masters, contemporary art is easily displayed on sparkling white loft structures or rooms designed with retro floral wallpapers. “Access to unlimited information through technology has allowed collectors to broaden their interests to include other mediums or even regions, giving birth to more eclectic collections,” says McGinnis. “What’s even more fascinating about collecting contemporary art is the ability to actively acquire works that represent the social, cultural, and aesthetic movements that developed during a collector’s lifetime—it gives us the ability to create an autobiography through art.”

At Phillips, Barbara Kruger’s Face It! had an estimated price of $30,000-$40,000 and sold for $43,750. The public also had an emotional pull towards Martin Creed’s Work No. 287 (Feelings), which fetched $3,750 more than the estimated price. However, feelings can be fickle. In New York's Contemporary Art Evening Sale, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled, 1981, failed to surpass the estimate of $3,500,000 to $4,500,000 and sold for $4,085,000. Still, some love is enduring, including ardor for Old Masters such as Flemish painter Pieter Brueghel and 20th century icons like Edward Hopper.

Phillips New York 
Latin America
LYGIA CLARK, Contra Relevo (Objeto N. 7)
Estimate: $600,000 - $800,000
Sold: $2,225,000

Contemporary Art Evening Sale
ANDREAS GURSKY, Rhein, 1996
Estimate: $1M – $1.5M 
Sold: $1,925,000

Sotheby’s New York
JOAQUÍN TORRES-GARCÍA 
Composition Constructive
Estimate: $700,000 - $900,000
Sold: $1,445,000

PIETER BRUEGHEL THE YOUNGER Spring
Estimate: $700,000 - $900,000
Sold: $2,285,000

Christie’s
EDWARD HOPPER
Don Quixote
Estimate: $10,000-$15,000
Sold: $21,250

HOWARD NORTON COOK
Harbor Skyline
Estimate: $5,000-$7,000
Sold: $21,250

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