Sotheby's spring season of Contemporary Art auctions started on March 2 2017 in New York with Contemporary Curated fetching $26,187,625, well over the $16.4/23 million estimate.
Coinciding with The Armory Show, the sale opened with pieces from the Collection of Ed Cohen & Victoria Shaw, led by Gerhard Richter's Abstraktes Bild (843-4) which sold for $1.2 million, well above its 800,000 estimate. Other top prices from the esteemed New York couple's collection of Post-War and Contemporary Art included Cecily Brown's Bonus, and Brice Marden's Cold Mountain Series, Zen Study 1-6 and Untitled (Window Study No. 1), all of which comfortably doubled their high estimates. In his auction debut, Croatian artist Mangelos achieved $56,250 and $16,250 for Paysage of Phoenix Renascence and Capone respectively. Ed Ruscha's Broken Pencil emerged as an early highlight of the sale's various-owner sequence, nearly tripling its high estimate of $450,000 to achieve $1.3 million.
"We are thrilled to start our 2017 Contemporary Art auctions with an outstanding Contemporary Curated result," commented Grégoire Billault, Head of Sotheby's Contemporary Art Department in New York. "Coupled with the record-setting Impressionist & Modern Art sales earlier this week in London and the strong offerings at the various fairs taking place in New York, it's clear that there is demand for great works of art at all levels that is creating momentum as we head into the London Contemporary Art sales next week and gather property for the flagship May auctions."
Emily Kaplan, Head of Sotheby's Contemporary Curated in New York, said: "We're overjoyed with the stellar results from today's sale, which demonstrate Sotheby's strength and commitment across all parts of the Contemporary Art market. A number of highlights helped to cement the second-highest total for a Sotheby's Contemporary Curated sale in New York; Ed Ruscha's Broken Pencil fetched one of the highest prices for a work on paper by the artist in nearly a decade – resulting in a round of applause from the room – and setting two new auction records for female artists: Pat Steir's The Brussels Group: Misty Mountain Waterfall and Yayoi Kusama's Sun Green for a work on paper".