20th century and contemporary art sale held on November 15 2018 in New York
failed to meet expectations with ten lots unsold including a heavily promoted
wood combustion painting by Alberto Burri (est. $10 million—15 million); a
“Gray Painting” by Christopher Wool (est. $4 million—6 million); and the
catalogue's cover lot, a Jackson Pollock painting once owned by
Nelson Rockefeller (estimated in the region of $18 million),
The house had hoped a success following its encouraging $135
million contemporary sale in London this past March. But in New York it only
totaled $88.5 million, well short of the $100 million it expected. The
best result of the night was Joan Miro's Femme
dans la nuit (1945) (estimated at $12 million—18 million), which rose
to $22.6 million.
Burri's Grande legno e rosso (1957-59), which had
been expected to set a new auction record for the artist, and Pollock's Number 16 (1950), a small-scale drip
painting that Nelson Rockefeller donated to Rio de Janeiro's Museum of Modern
Art and works by David Hockney, Donald Judd, Kerry James Marshall and Dan
Flavin also failed to sell.
the auction, Phillips CEO Ed Dolman attributed the house's disappointing
performance to a saturated market with several sales held in New York in one
week though it recorded some good results, notably for Henri Laurens's La Lune (1946), which set a new record
for the artist when it sold for $2.1 million. Amy Sillman's U (2008)
also sold for a record price of $855,000, while Carmen Herrera more than
doubled her previous record of $1.1 million with the sale of her Blanco y Verde (1966) for $2.6 million.
In addition, KAWS recorded a best price for his painting Untitled (Fatal Group) (2004) sold for
$2.7 million while his monumental sculpture CLEAN
SLATE (2014) went for $1.9 million. Meanwhile, Andy Warhol's
Gun (1981-1982) fetched $9.5 million, making it the second-most
expensive work of the night.