Sotheby's contemporary art sale held in London on March 5, 2019 totaled 93.3 million GBP (including premium), however down from £109.3 million generated by the equivalent sale last year.
A large work by Jean-Michel Basquiat titled Apex (1986) bought for 16,000 pounds in 1988 before changing hands several times, sold above estimate for 8.2 million GBP whereas only six lots went unsold.
An appliqué blanket by Tracey Emin sold below estimate for 405,000 GBP while a three meter high Jenny Saville painting of a bare female back bought for 459,200 GBP in 2009 sold also below-estimate for 5.4 million.
An abstract work by Gerhard Richter fetched 6.9 million GBP but two photo paintings of an antelope and a shadow by the artist went below their estimates.
A sculpture by Anthony Gormley sold for 300,000 GBP, a portrait by David Hockney of the textile designer Celia Birtwell went for 555,000 and a punctured white canvas by Lucio Fontana fetched 447,000.
Rebecca Warren's bronze, Fascia 111, went beyond her previous record set 18 months ago for a version from the same edition, selling for 555,000 GBP, and Louise Bourgeois's pink fabric bust in a vitrine made the highest price for one of her works from the series, selling for 1.8 million GBP.
The young African American artist Adam Pendleton saw his record rise when his Black Dada/Column (K) sold above estimate for 200,000 GBP. Meanwhile, Toyin Ojih Odutola, the New York-based, Nigerian-born artist, saw her painting Selective Histories more than double its 100,000 pounds low estimate to sell for 250,000 GBP. A Roy Lichtenstein comic strip enamel, Vicki! I — I Thought I Heard Your Voice! (1964), sold disappointingly for 5.8 million GBP while a small Calder stabile failed to sell at 2.1 million.
Lucian Freud's portrait of the Guinness heir Garech Browne as a young boy in 1958 sold for a mid-estimate5.8 million GBP while Bridget Riley's striped and colored Midi (1983) sold at the high estimate of 1.8 million GBP—double the price it fetched two and half years ago. Chris Ofili 's work balanced on elephant dung supports went above estimate at 915,000 GBP
A drawing of David Hockney's dealer John Kasmin didn't sell, while an early swimming pool painting sold below estimate for 2.7 million GBP. A lacerated brass composition made in 1962 by Lucio Fontana went for 2.71 million GBP, four times the price it fetched in 2012, while the artist's Concetto Spaziale, Attese fetched 2,89 million GBP. Meanwhile, Glen Brown's Senile Youth went over its high estimate at 1,21 million GBP
Adrian Ghenie's painting, Duchamp's Funeral, sold for 4.3 million GBP, four times the price it brought in 2015, while Ilya Kabakov's, Holiday #1 (1987) went below estimate at 735,000 GBP.
SOTHEBY'S FINE 2018 OVERALL SALES
Thanks to record results in private sales and in its Hong Kong salesroom, Sotheby's notched a total of 6.4 billion USD for the year, a 16 percent increase over 2017. Annual private sales reached $1.02 billion, the highest total in the past five years and up 37 percent year on year.
The house's results in the fourth quarter of 2018 showed marked improvements from the equivalent period in 2017. Net income rose about 12 percent to $85.7 million, against $76.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Mainly, Sotheby's strong fourth quarter results came from Asia with nearly $1 billion in aggregate sales in Hong Kong in 2018, a new high during Sotheby's 45 years in that region of the world.
Online sales totaled $220.4 million for the year, a 24 percent increase over 2017 but Sotheby's did not surpass Christie's total of 7 billion USD despite a far better performance in private sales.