On Thursday, May 19, 2022, Sotheby's New York held two evening auctions, which resulted in an overall sales value of 283.4 million dollars by selling 50 lots. The first auction, titled "The Now", consisted of 23 artworks produced in the 2000s and later, with an overall value of 72.9 million dollars. The next auction was titled "Contemporary" and involved 27 artworks dating back to the post-war period (before the 21st century) with an overall value of 210.500 million dollars. This auction, however, was not very successful, since some of the most valuable works were sold for prices lower than the estimations.
The 2nd version of the painting "Study of Red Pope" by Francis Bacon, which had the highest price in this auction, was among these works. It had an estimated value of 40.000 to 60.000 million dollars and was auctioned for 46.3 million dollars.
Besides Bacon's painting, "Untitled" by Cy Twombly with 38 million dollars, "Elvis" by Andy Warhol with 21.6 million dollars, "Cold Beer Beautiful Girls" by Ed Ruscha with 18.8 million dollars, and "Besuch aus Prag Dresdner Frauen" by George Baselitz with 11.2 million dollars were the most expensive lots respectively. Additionally, artists such as Baselitz and Sean Scully set new sales records.
What distinguished this auction from others was that the number of artworks by women exceeded the artworks by men. Unlike any other auction, in this auction, 14 artworks (about 65%) with an overall value of 28 million dollars belonged to women artists. This gender inequality rarely happens in auctions. In fact, the auction was aimed at combining masterpieces by artists such as Kerry James Marshall and Simone Leigh with artworks by emerging artists like Anna Weyant and Lucy Bull, whose works are focused on race, geography, gender, and technology in today's society.
Fourteen artworks by women artists in this auction:
- Falling Woman by Anna Weyant
- Night Fell Upon Us / Up On Us by Christina Quarles
- Birmingham by Simone Leigh
- Next Time Fire by Jennifer Packer
- Special Guest by Lucy Bull
- Happening by Avery Singer
- You Are There Now by Tracy Emin
- The Lovers 4 by María Berrío
- Emergent Algorithm by Julie Mehretu
- 11pm Sunday by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye
- Dead Zebra by Dana Schutz
- Study for goes both ways by Issy Wood
- I Am an Island by Shara Huges
- A Leaf if an Arrow by Lauren Quin
Best artworks among the 23 artworks presented in "The Now" evening auction:
In this auction, the artwork with the highest price was "Beauty Examined" (artwork No.11) by Kerry James Marshall. In this painting, Marshall is inspired by "The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulip" by Rembrandt. He has visually autopsied the body of a black woman in order to depict the black people's history, which the artist himself is a member of it. The painting was evaluated with an estimation of 8 to 12 million dollars, but it was sold for 13.538 million dollars.
"Degenerate Art" by Adrian Ghenie with $9.286.700, "The Night Watcher" by Matthew Wong with $5.897.150, "Happy Life Blossom" by Damien Hirst with $5.609.900, "Happening" by Avery Singer with $5.253.000, "Emergent Algorithm" by Julie Mehretu with $4.890.000, "Night Fell Upon Us/ Up On Us" by Christina Quarles with $4.527.000, "Trip" by Adrian Ghenie with $4.500.000, "This is Not a Photo Opportunity" by Banksy with $2.690.000 and "Next Time Fire" by Jennifer Packer with $2.349.000 were among the best artworks presented in this auction.
In this event, artworks by young, emerging artists such as Anna Weyant and Lucy Bull were sold for $1.623.000 and $907.000 respectively, which were new records for each of them.
- Anna Weyant | 1995 | Falling Woman (detail)