Bonhams Post-War & Contemporary Art sale on 2nd July in London made a total of £4,041,025, with committed bidding from all corners of the globe on works from 1946 to 2013. A crowded room, packed banks of telephone bidders and voracious activity from internet bidders boosted the sense of excitement in the saleroom at Bonhams new headquarters in New Bond Street.
Top lots included a stunning stainless steel sculpture by Anish Kapoor which made £625,500, a rare Concetto Spaziale in red by Lucio Fontana from 1952 selling for £770,000, an important Alexander Calder, Araignée (Maquette) from 1957 at £362,000, and Frank Auerbach's Portrait of J.Y.M. for £374,500.
The sale also achieved two world record results:
Highest price paid at auction for a work on paper by Wols: L'explosion de la Cathédrale, 1946 selling for £143,099 against an estimate of £12,000 - £18,000.
Highest price paid at auction for a sculpture by Mimmo Paladino: Assediato, 1992 selling for £111,349 against an estimate of £25,000 – £35,000.
Bonhams new UK Board Director of Post-War & Contemporary Art, Ralph Taylor, said; "Today's success is a statement of intent as to our strength as a department in selling the highest quality works at the most competitive levels. We designed the sale to be filled with museum quality, asset class works from across the range of the sector so as to achieve the best results for our consignors. We saw committed activity in the room and on the phones from some of the world's most prestigious collectors, advisors and dealers; we move forward with confidence and the recognition that Bonhams Post-War & Contemporary Art Department is a force to be reckoned with."
As one of Britain's most respected and best known artists, Sir Anish Kapoor is at the forefront of Contemporary Art practice with his works taking their place in many of the world's most important collections. Bonhams dedicated its cover to the concave steel sculpture, an instantly recognisable example from the artist's most important series.
Frank Auerbach's stunning portrait of Juliet Yardley Mills captures not just a physical likeness of the sitter he knew so well, but also the unique energy of the subject and the vitality of a moment.
Lucio Fontana's Concetto Spaziale, 1952 is an early and important example of Fontana's Buchi (holes) series. Coming from a private Spanish collection for the first time in forty years, this is a rare example of one of the most influential artistic practices of the second half of Twentieth Century.
BANKSY PRANK GETS SERIOUS AT BONHAMS
Two new Banksy works purchased during his 2013 'residency' in New York – for just $60 apiece – featured in the sale for prices which reflects their true value.
Kids on Guns sold for £68,500 and Winnie the Pooh for £56,250. Both were acquired from Banksy's Central Park stall where an unassuming trader sold his paintings to passing tourists. The stunt gifted the lucky buyer £124,630, a 1,780% increase.
Film footage shows Banksy's immediately recognisable black and white stencilled canvases stacked on a trestle table or suspended on the stall's makeshift metal framework. One canvas was stencilled with a discount store label announcing the price of each work as $60. The following day the event was documented on the artist's website: "Yesterday I set up a stall in the park selling 100% authentic original signed Banksy canvases. For $60 each."
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com