Little Britain Sales

Bruce Nauman Double Poke in the Eye II 1985
Phillips and Christie’s will hold their much smaller London sales on Thursday; Despite the size, there are still some important works on offer that may foreshadow the direction of the market. Photo: Courtesy of Christie's
Marion Maneker
June 25, 2024

Sotheby’s London Evening sale took in £83.6 million ($106 million) with 46 of 51 works sold. The hammer ratio was a passable 1.03. Those are the official statistics. But three lots were withdrawn, including the £6 million Tamara de Lempicka nude. If we included those lots, the hammer ratio falls to .94, or pretty much where we’ve been all through the first half of the year. 

Even in soft sales there can be strong showings. Tonight, Françoise Gilot posted her ninth-highest auction price, for a 1944 self-portrait that made $457,200. A bouquet of lilacs that Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted in 1878 sold for more than 2.5 times the estimate to make $8.7 million. Cy Twombly, Lucio Fontana, Alberto Giacometti, Alexander Calder, Agnes Martin, and Lucy Bull all had good nights, too.