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the artnet
auction report
sotheby's and christie's
spring contemporary sales
results
by Stewart Waltzer

SOTHEBY'S
Our Miss Brooks, Dee Dee that is, ran the
auction last night at Sotheby's with all
the dogged, long suffering, determination
that Eve Arden brought to the role once
upon a time.  The contemporary department
used to be the third largest grossing 
department, right behind jewelry and 
Impressionist and Modern, but a dollar 
volume, at the hammer, of $11,079,000 is 
nothing to enthuse about. Nor did ritual 
examination of sacred entrails augur that 
the naissant health of the I and M market 
will magically trickle down.  What's Mr. 
Boynton gonna say?
In the fifty nine lots auctioned, fifteen 
were comprised of works from the Helen 
Benjamin estate and Sotheby's needed them 
because they all sold and most of them well 
above their high estimate.  13 lots were 
passed last night, which is not unusual but 
unfortunate, in that two of them, the large 
Kline and the DeKooning, were the most 
important lots of the evening.  The de 
Kooning had appeared on May 8th 1990 at 
Sotheby's New York, with an estimate of 9M 
to 12M and quickly bought in at 4.75M when 
the one of the chandeliers would go no 
higher.  Nor did the Gorky, selling at 
2.2M,  fullfil the promise of its 2.5M to 
3.5M estimate.
The individual hammer prices are as 
follows. They are arranged in three 
columns.  On the left are lots which failed 
to exceed the low estimate (56%), in the 
middle are lots that exceeded the low 
estimate but not the high estimate (7%), 
and on the right are those that exceeded 
the high estimate (37%).  The results must 
have taken Sotheby's by surprise too, 
because only 4 of the 59 lots offered fell 
within their projected estimates.  Not a 
banner evening, but as one dealer said, " 
At least it reflects the market."  Prices 
of unusual interest are marked by !!
1. 				$110,000!!
2.				$75,000
3.				$200,000!!
4.$140,000
5.$200,000
6.$600,000
7.PASSED (62)
8.				$950,000
9.		$ 140,000
10$2,200,000!!
11.$240,000
12.PASSED (38)
13.				$60,000
14.				$270,000
15.$650,000
16.				$75,000
17.				$160,000
18.				$65,000
19.				$97,500
20.$60,000
21.PASSED!!
22.225,000
23.				$475,000
24.		$410,000
25.				$160,000
26.PASSED!!
27.PASSED
28.				$290,000
29.PASSED
30.$190,000
31.$140,000
32.				$52,000
33.$25,000
34.				$160,000
35.PASSED
36.PASSED!!
37.				$65,000
38.				$65,000
39.PASSED (120)
40.$16,000
41.$21,000
42.				$600,000!!
43.PASSED
44.$42,500
45.				$40,000	
46.PASSED
47.$100,000
48.$140,000
49.PASSED (80)
50.			$200,000
51.$85,000
52.$350,000
53.$50,000
54.PASSED!! (450)
55.$200,000
56.				$160,000
57.				$210,000
58.				$160,000
59.   			$155,000
CHRISTIE'S
The individual hammer prices are as 
follows. They are arranged in three 
columns.  On the left are lots which failed 
to exceed the low estimate (55%), in the 
middle are lots that exceeded the low 
estimate but not the high estimate (15%), 
and on the right are those that exceeded 
the high estimate (30%).  The hammer volume 
was $15,077,500 which was greater than 
Sotheby's with about one third less lots.  
While better than recent years it is still 
far from the market it uses to be.  Prices 
of unusual interest are marked by !!
1.				$140,000
2.$37,500
3.				$95,000
4.				$130,000
5.$75,000
6.PASSED!!
7.				$240,000
8.$150,000
9.				$875,000
10.				$3,400,00
11.				$370,000
12.$270,000
13.				$440,000
14.$215,000
15.PASSED (600)
16.$600,000!!
17.		$85,000
18.$90,000
19.		$750,000
20.$245,000
21.		$600,000
22.		$2,200,000
23.PASSED (75)
24$95,000
25.				$220,000
26.				$365,000
27.$300,000
28.PASSED (55)
29.PASSED (240)
30.				$320,000
31.PASSES (85)
32.$95,000
33.				$160,000
34.				$90,000
35.		$130,000
36.				$320,000
37.		$160,000
38.$20,000
39.		$345,000
40.$40,000
41.$65,000
42.PASSED
43.$180.000!!
44.PASSED (80)
45.PASSED (48)
46.$85,000
STEWART WALTZER