Contemporary Evening Sales
Overall, the houses made a combined $921.1m in their evening sales: Christie’s totaled $397.2m; Sotheby’s $392.3m and Phillips $131.6m. This was up on last season’s combined $733m and the previous May’s total of $877.6m.
As was the case in November, the bulk of the action was in the $1m to $5m range. Excluding all Impressionist and Modern works included in Sotheby’s Mandel sale and Phillips’ main evening auction, 78 lots sold across the houses for a combined total of $200.3m. Across the $5m to $10m range, 28 lots sold for a combined $189.6m. Above $10m, 21 lots sold for a combined total of $484.5m.
Sotheby’s offered 75 lots, selling 73 for $392.3m total (97% sold by lot). Excluding the Impressionist and Modern lots in the Mandel Collection (see “Breaking Down Impressionist & Modern by Numbers“), there were 67 contemporary works offered, 65 of which sold (97%) for a total of $367.5m. Most of the activity here was for works sold between $1m and $5m (37 lots for a total $90.1m). Above this, activity was fairly evenly spread: 11 lots sold between $5m and $10m to total $78.2m; 10 lots sold for more than $10m (total $194.2m).
Christie’s sold 58 of the 64 lots on offer for a total $397.2m (91% by lot). Here too, the majority of action by volume was within the $1m to $5m price band, within which 26 works sold (total $72.7m). 13 lots sold between $5m and $10m for a combined total of $85.8m. The majority of the value was in the nine lots sold above $10m ($232.3m).
Phillips offered 33 contemporary lots, selling 30 for a combined $125.1m (91% by lot). By volume, works in the $1m to $5m range once again provided the bulk of the action: 15 lots for a total $37.5m. The value came from the two lots that sold above $10m—Robert Motherwell’s At Five in the Afternoon (1971) at $12.7m and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Flexible (1984) for $45.3m, making a combined $58m.
Contemporary Day Sales
Phillips offered 227 contemporary lots in its day auction, selling 199 for a total $21.6m at a sell-through rate of 87% by lot. Combined with the $2.4m made from the 12 Modern works it sold in the same auction, the $24m set a new benchmark for its day sales, setting a third consecutive record (beating the $20.8m total in November 2017 and $18.6m in May 2017).
The vast majority of the lots at Phillips sold for below $100,000 (139 lots for a total $5.4m) while the bulk of the value was between $100,000 to $500,000 ($55 lots for a total $12.3m).
Sotheby’s sold 312 of the 357 lots in its day sale for a total $107m (88% sell-through). Most of the works sold for prices between $100,000 and $500,000 (143 lots for a combined $37.6m) while most of the value came from the 23 lots that sold between $1m and $5m for a total $43.6m.
Christie’s offered 296 lots, selling 239 for a total $102.3m (81%). Most of the works sold were in the $100,000 to $500,000 price bracket (140 lots for a total $37.2m) while the majority of the value came from the 22 lots that sold between $1m and $5m for a combined $42.2m.