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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Breaking News from Sotheby's In London: Contemporary Art Evening Auction Realises Exceptional Above-Estimate Total: £50,688,450/ $79,672,106/ €60,719,674

This evening’s London Contemporary Art Evening Auction, which realised the exceptional total of £50,688,450/ $79,672,106/ €60,719,674, surpassed pre-sale high expectations (estimate: £35.8-49.7 million*). The auction established extremely strong sell-through rates of 90.5% by lot and 94.6% by value, and saw two artist records at auction set for A. R. Penck and Albert Oehlen. Buyers from 20 countries participated in the auction, which also witnessed 9 works sell for over £1 million, and 21 lots sell for over $1 million.

Following last November’s auction record for a work by Gerhard Richter, the top-selling lot of tonight’s sale was Abstraktes Bild (numbered 768-4) - one of the most vivid and commanding works from the artist’s cycle of abstracts executed in 1992 - which sold for £4,857,250/ $7,634,626/ €5,818,498, exceeding its pre-sale high expectations (est. £3-4 million). The work appeared at auction for the first time this evening.

Discussing the results, Cheyenne Westphal, Sotheby’s Chairman of Contemporary Art Europe, said: “We’re extremely pleased with the results of tonight’s sale and the above-estimate total of £50 million which we achieved. We witnessed a huge depth of international bidding right across the auction, with buyers coming from no fewer than 20 countries. Gerhard Richter once again dominated, with all six of his works selling for an aggregate sum of £17.6 million, above the combined estimate for the group of £14.8 million, with four of the pieces falling within the top-ten selling works in the sale.”

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