Tonight at Sothebys in New York, Andy Warhols monumental masterpiece, 200 One Dollar Bills, brought a remarkable $43,762,500, soaring past the pre-sale estimate of $8/12 million. The Warhol was the top-selling lot in a sale of Contemporary Art that brought an outstanding total of $134,438,000, far-above pre-sale expectations (est. $67.9/97.7 million).
11 November 2009 – Tonight at Sotheby’s in New York, Andy Warhol’s monumental masterpiece, 200 One Dollar Bills, brought a remarkable $43,762,500, soaring past the pre-sale estimate of $8/12 million. Competition was fierce. Auctioneer Tobias Meyer opened the bidding at $6 million and was immediately met with an almost unheard of response – a bid of $12 million, twice his opening bid. Five more bidders raised their paddles before the winning bid was cast by an anonymous purchaser bidding on the telephone.
The Warhol was the top-selling lot in a sale of Contemporary Art that brought an outstanding total of $134,438,000, far-above pre-sale expectations (est. $67.9/97.7 million) and with all but two lots finding buyers. The sale was 98.6% sold by value and 96.3% sold by lot – the highest sold-by -lot total by lot in about twenty years, with only one exception. New auction records were established for Alice Neel, Jean Dubuffet, Juan Muñoz and Germaine Richier; as well as for a sculpture by Willem de Kooning, a neon by Bruce Nauman and a work on paper by Jackson Pollock.
“The desire for great art is very strong,” said Tobias Meyer, Worldwide Head of Contemporary Art. “In a market that
has been characterized by pent-up demand, we were able to offer fresh material with conservative estimates, and our sellers were rewarded with the remarkable results we saw this evening.”
Other works that achieved strong prices include Jasper Johns’ Gray Numbers (lot 29), which saw seven bidders drive
the price to $8,706,500 (est. $5/7 million). Orange, Red, Orange (lot 47) by Mark Rothko from the Estate of
Lucia Moreira Salles had not appeared on the market for nearly 30 years and fetched $3,386,500 (est. $2/3 million)
after a contest involving six bidders.
Trinité-Champs-Elysées (lot 48) by Jean Dubuffet made $6,130,500 (est. $4/6 million) and set a new record for the artist at auction. Violins Violence Silence (lot 27) by Bruce Nauman established a new record for a neon work by the artist when it sold for $4,002,500, comfortably in excess of the $2.5/3.5 million estimate.
Click here to download prices for the top ten lots in the sale