The art market heats up during 20th Century Week at auction as investors flock to works from the Contemporary and Modern Masters as alternative assets.
This week’s Contemporary and Modern 20th Century Sales at Christie’s, Phillips and Sothebys have shown the market to be highly resistant in times of financial uncertainty with works by the Masters taking centre stage and smashing both their high estimates, and auction price records in an uncertain economic climate.
Among them are original works by David Hockney, Gerhard Richter, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Yoshimoto Nara, Francis Bacon. As the market trend rises for these blue-chip icons of the 20th Century, so too does the demand in their print market portfolios. And when originals hit records, the print market demand follows.
Here’s the highlights from the week so far.
David Hockney’s, Early Morning, Sainte-Maxime, 1968-1969, acrylic on canvas, sold for £20,899,500, on an estimate of £7,000,000 - £10,000,000, realising over double it’s high estimate. This work was offered at auction for the first time in 30 years, representing a once in a lifetime opportunity for this work.
The work last hammered for £176,640 (US$320,000) in 1988, at Christie’s New York. Whilst 30 years have past, the result represents an extraordinary return on investment.
Our Hockney Specialist, Celine Fraser, commented:
“The most recent auction result has affirmed the truth about the Hockney market, that it is on the rise with many collectors investing. We are seeing lots of works selling above estimate either as screenprints and editions or acrylics on canvas. Across the board there is a steady trend upwards and a new appreciation for his work and recognition as a worthwhile investment.”
The work joins the list of Hockney’s most expensive works ever sold, just behind a previous record breaking landscape from the artists oeuvre, Pacific Coast Highway And Santa Monica which soared past the previous auction record when it was offered at Sotheby’s in New York on 16 May 2018.
Meanwhile in Hockney's, The Garden from 'L'Enfant et Les Sortilèges', Gouache on paper from 1980, sold at Christie's Postwar & Contemporary Evening Sale for double it's presale high estimate at £302,400.
We have access to a number of Hockney’s most in-demand prints from both his early and more recent portfolios. Request a Hockney valuation today.
Tracey Emin’s Like A Cloud Of Blood, 2022, acrylic on canvas, broke an auction record for the artist's painting at auction, when it sold for £2,322,000 on a pre-sale estimate of £500,000- £700,000.
This was the first time this work has been seen at public auction, donated by the artist herself to the seller. This result joins the list of record prices for the artist at auction. The most expensive artwork by Emin at auction My Bed, which was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1999 to much controversy, was purchased Charles Saatchi a year later. It sold on 1 July 2014 for £2.5 million – more than twice its high estimate.
Emin’s market has been stable and demand for works from her print portfolio increase with records set at auction. Emin has engaged with printmaking for many years and regards it as a key medium making the ability to explore Emin’s work through prints an ideal collecting opportunity. She is also one of the stars of the Young British Artists movement in the 1990s, allowing her the timeless resonance that marks artists for the future. Her smaller-scale prints having realised up to US$46,000 at auction. You can find all Tracey Emin auction records here.
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Yoshitomo Nara's, Girl With A Knife, 1999, acrylic, graphite, coloured pencil and crayon on paper more than doubled its pre-sale high estimate of £350,000, selling for £882,000.
The work came from a private family collection in Belgium - ‘Le Jeune: A Collecting Legacy’ - built over multiple generations. Another of Nara’s Girl With A Knife (1998) sold at Christie’s New York March 2020 for a realised price of £475,219 (US$615,000).
Nara’s market has expanded over the last five years, drawing international collectors into both the print and original market. Nara has established a cult-like following that show no signs of abating. Nara’s most expensive work ever sold was Knife Behind Back (2000) which sold for an astounding HK$195,696,000 (£20,229,095) at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong in 2019.
This work joins our list of the top ten most expensive works by the artist, some way behind Nara's 2007 Untitled which fetched £4.9 million during the 20th and 21st Century Art Evening Sale at Christie's, Hong Kong in 2021.
Looking to sell?
Speak to the team today to discuss a valuation of your Yoshitomo Nara print today.
Damien Hirst's work saw some strong results including his work Omnipotence, 2008, which was offered in Phillips' 20th Century & Contemporary Evening sale. The work comprising butterflies and household gloss on canvas sold for £796,900, against a hammer of £350,000 – £450,000.
An impressive result, proving the enduring continued demand for Hirst's ethereal butterfly works.
Hirst's print market has seen a steady 12% rise in the past 5 years, with £4.5millions worth of prints sold in the last 12 months, at an average of £10,000. There is a lot of opportunity and wall appeal in Hirst's dynamic portfolio.
Meanwhile Hirst's 5259 Touch Your Skin, from The Currency shot past estimate in Sotheby's Contemporary Day auction selling for £22,680.
Our network's demand for Hirst Prints is at an all time high. Request a free and zero obligation valuation with our team without hesitation.
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