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the artnet 
auction results
sotheby's nov. 19
contemporary sale
shows a market 
still in re-hab
by Stewart Waltzer 
Everything good that happened at Sotheby's 
contemporary sale on Tuesday night  was 
bad. Which is to say that the most 
interesting parts of the auction were 
occasioned by the buy-ins, with one or two 
exceptions that were simply vulgar. Things 
sure ain't what they used to be. The power 
end of the sale came undone. The big de 
Kooning was a b.i., the Bacon was a b.i. 
and the Still was a b.i. Not that you kill 
for any one of them but when three of the 
most important pictures go homeless, you 
shouldn't have to go back to the tea leaves 
to get the message. It's the prices, 
stupid. Equally interesting and unusual, 
the Hockney, the Judd, the Diebenkorn, the 
Marden, the Basquiat and the Clemente also 
went homeless. These were pictures that 
only a few months ago were America's Most 
Wanted.
On the vulgar side the Lichtenstein painted 
in 1980 sold in the middle of its estimate 
for $1.9 million. No matter what your 
feelings are for Lichtenstein's work, 
Forest Scene, painted in New Age Cubist 
vernacular, is a turkey, big and bland. It 
lacks the grit and wild savor of 
Lichtenstein's earlier works, even if 
they're not as well painted. More news: 
Andy's back! With our vision of `60s 
America consolidating as "the triumph of 
commercialism," is it hard to imagine 
people paying real money just to be a part 
of it? Nearly all of the Warhols sold above 
their estimate, and the Four Foot Flowers, 
just another bunch of pansies, really, 
topped the charts at $600,000. Don't ask 
me. 
The preponderance of works selling at or 
below the low estimate indicates that 
contemporary prices still need adjustment. 
The dollar volume at the hammer of just 
over $10 million shows us a market that's 
still in re-hab, tottering about like an 
aging aunt.
(P) = passed lots; 15 works, or 25 %, were 
passed. LOW (50%) = First column lists work 
that did not exceed the low estimate. 
MIDDLE (25%) = Second column shows work 
that exceeded the low estimate but not the 
high. HIGH (25%) = 3rd column shows work 
that exceeded the high estimate. Total 
volume at the hammer was $10,007,000. 
Prices do not include the auction house's 
commission (!5% on the first $50,000. 10% 
on the remainder).


LOW
MIDDLE
HIGH
1.$60,000
2.$70,000
3.$110,000
4.$170,000 (P)
5.$280,000
6.$600,000 (P) Still
7.$220,000
8. $75,000
9. Diebenkorn$450,000
10. $180,000
11. $ 520,000 (P) de Kooning
12.$115,000
13. $300,000
14. $60,000
15. $120,000
16. $250,000
17. $210,000
18. $42,000
19. $1,780,000 (P) Bacon
20. $260,000
21. $ 55,000
22.$100,000
23. 1st Warhol$155,000
24. $38,000 (P)
25. 2nd Warhol$210,000
26.$1,300,000
27. 3rd Warhol$600,000
28.$220,000
29. 4th Warhol $145,000
30. $460,000
31. $300,000
32. $65,000
33. $145,000
34. $58,000 (P) Noland
35.$ 300,000
36. $28,000 (P)
37. $105,000
38. $150,000
39. $38,000
40. $1,900,000 Lichtenstein
41. $190,000 (P) Hockney
42. $190,000 (P) Judd
43. $27,000
44. $65,000 (P)
45. $350,000
46.$58,000
47. $320,000 (P) Diebenkorn
48. $105,000
49. $90,000
50. $145,000
51. $140,000 (P) Caro
52. $110,000 (P) Marden
53. $240,000 (P) Kelly
54. $340,000 5th Warhol
55. $160,000 (P) Basquiat
56. $40,000
57. $95,000 (P) Clemente
58. $20,000
59.$32,000


STEWART WALTZER
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