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Sotheby’s Sale: Happy Days For Art, Especially For Richter

The Sotheby’s sale last night brought a total of $315.8 million, which the auction house notes is “the highest for a Contemporary Art Evening sale at Sotheby’s since May 2008 and the Company’s third highest ever, virtually matching the $315,907,000 set at Sotheby’s in November 2007.”

RichterAB, 1992.jpgAside from the Clyfford Still bonanza ($114.1 million, as reported here), Gerard Richter had a great night. His Abstraktes Bild, dated 1997, fetched $20,802,500, with four ardent bidders competing for a painting whose presale estimate was $9 million to $12 million. Further, the collection of eight of his “abstract figuration” works for sale brought a totalof nearly $74.3 million, versus the presale estimate of $27 million to $36.7 million (no estimates include the buyer’s premium). 

The Richter record supplants the one set just last month, which I wrote about here: Kerze (Candle), from 1982, fetched £10,457,250, or just over $16.4 million.

That’s a detail from one of them, from 1992, at left, which sold for $14.1 million.

Credit Richter’s current retrospective at the Tate for some of the fury for Richter. He’s been getting more attention elsewhere lately as well, and I expect it will grow.

For more details on the sale, here’s the Wall Street Journal’s report and here is the New York TImes’s article. And here’s the Richter record-setter:


Nov10_sothebys64600x464.jpgOther artists with new record prices last night in clude Joan Mitchell, David Hammons, and Dan Flavin.


  1. Jim VanKirk says:

    And I expect that the enthusiasm for Richter will wane.

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