Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction Results

Jasper Johns, "Flag", 11 5/8 x 17 1/2 inches, encaustic on silk flag on canvas

Jasper Johns, “Flag”, 11 5/8 x 17 1/2 inches, encaustic on silk flag on canvas

Alexander Rotter, Co-Head of Sotheby’s Global Contemporary Art Department, commented: “It has been a wonderful start to our week of Contemporary Art sales, with the running total now above $460 million, and a very strong day sale yet to come. Having known and admired Jasper Johns’ final encaustic Flag for decades, we were thrilled to see it establish a new record for the artist at auction. Tonight’s sale was anchored by The Schlumberger Collection and the outstanding prices achieved for works that had been tucked away in that legendary collection for a generation, including Mark Rothko’s sublime No. 21 (Red, Brown, Black and Orange) and Jean Dubuffet’s masterful Cité Fantoche, which also set a new record. Sotheby’s had the unprecedented privilege of offering three major canvases by Rothko from key moments in his career this week and the results were spectacular.”

Jasper Johns’ encaustic Flag, one of the most influential paintings of the last century, completely soared over its high estimate (coming in at $36,005,000 with the initial estimate ranging between 15M – 20M).  Rothko’s No. 21 (Red, Brown, Black and Orange), another star of the auction, sold for nearly $45,000,000.  However, No. 21 went for half as much as the Rothko painting Orange, Red, Yellow, which sold for $86.8 million during an auction at Christie’s in 2012,

Louis Bourgeois’ bronze sculpture Spider I sold for just over $7 million and an untitled work by Cy Twombly sold for more than $5 million, both over the high estimate.  Other works did considerably well, though, according to the New York Times, “of the 78 works in the auction, 11 failed to sell. The auction totaled $343.6 million, just squeaking above its low $323.1 million estimate, but far short of its $418.6 million high”

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Louise Bourgeois, 1996 Photo: Peter Bellamy Art © 2014 The Easton Foundation/Licensed by VAGA

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