Auction Analysis: London Post-War and Contemporary Sales – Feb 2014

No. Pages6
ResearchersAnders Petterson, Michael Sahyoun
Report TypeAuction Analysis

London contemporary sales kick off 2014 on a strong note

Last week’s Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening sales raised a total of £193,899,000 (excluding buyer’s premium) against a pre-sale estimate of £163,755,000 to £208,535,000.

This was the second highest evening total in London and only 1.7% lower than June 2012. The result constitutes an increase of 35.3% from February 2013, and 42% from June 2013 sales.

With a smaller number of lots on offer this season (112 vs 136 in February 2013), the average auction price increased by 64.2%, from £1,054,081 to £1,731,226. The average was lifted by the top end of the market (lots above £1 million), which accounted for 85.4% of the overall sales result. Seven lots sold above £5 million.

Among the top performers were Francis Bacon and Gerhard Richter, who raised a total of £77,950,000 based on 6 works. However, there was a lot of interest in the younger generation of artists such as Oscar Murillo or Lucien Smith, who both achieved results significantly higher than market expectations. We saw three lots by Lucien Smith in the top 10 Surprise Lots (highest price-to-estimate ranking). Among the older generation, Domenico Gnoli’s “Black hair”from 1969, sold for more than twice its high pre-sale estimate.