From 1st - 9th March, Sotheby's, London, Impressionist, Modern, Surrealist and Contemporary art sales combined brought in £350 million, £134.7 million of which came from the Contemporary art sales.

On Wednesday 7th March, Sotheby's held their Contemporary Art evening sale, which looked more than promising with pieces by David Hockney and Wolfgang Tillmans, both of which have exhibitions at the Tate Britain and Modern, and with offerings by Basquiat, Richter, Kusama, Dubuffet and Wool, as well as the other usual suspects.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 09.15.08 Carol Rama, Arcadia (Ti Amo...Ti Amo) 1975

The sale began with a new record set for Italian artist Carol Rama, her piece Arcadia (Ti Amo...Ti Amo) reached a £190 000 hammer price against an estimate of £70 000-100 000. This figure was £5 000 over the record set for the artist at Christie's, London, just the night before.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 09.15.17 Wolfgang Tillmans, Freischwimmer 119, 2005

A new record was also set for Wolfgang Tillmans, the German artist is subject of a retrospective at currently at the Tate Modern, so it came as no surprise that this photographic piece caused excitement in the room. Freischwimmer 119 sold for £380 000 against the artist's previous auction record of £269 000.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 09.15.34 Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild, 1988

Then it was the turn of the first Richter of the night, Abstraktes Bild sold for well over the estimate of £1.5-2 million as it went under the hammer for £3.4 million. The second Richter piece was the much hyped Eisberg, an unusual landscape piece from the artist which was set to do well before the sale. And it did. But not before a long stretch of bidding before buyers soon warmed up to Richter's icy piece, with the hammer finally coming down at £15.6 million, £3.6 million higher than the high estimate for the piece.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 09.15.53 Gerhard Richter, Eisberg, 1982

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 09.16.06 Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (One Eyed Man or Xerox Face) 1982

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 09.18.11 Jean-Michel Basquiat, Trophy, 1984

Jean-Michel Basquiat's Untitled (One Eyed Man or Xerox Face) did not seem to impress bidders as it sold for £10.5 million against an estimate of £14-18 million. The second Basquiat piece of the night fared better, Trophy sold for £2.3 million, £300 000 over the high estimate.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 09.17.04 Christopher Wool, Untitled, 2007

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 09.17.21 Cy Twombly, Untitled, 1963

Christopher Wool's Untitled reached an incredible £6.2 million, leaps and bounds above it pre-sale estimate of £2.8-3.5 million. Cy Twombly also continues strong on the secondary market, his pencil, wax crayon and acrylic on paper sold for £2.2 million, against an estimate of £700 000-900 000.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 09.17.42 Pat Steir, Four Yellow/ Red Negative Waterfall, 1993

Bidders were hot for New Jersey native Pat Steir, her Four Yellow/ Red Negative Waterfall sold for £560 000, almost three times its high estimate.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 09.18.27 Miquel Barceló's En Los Medios, VIII.90

Spanish painter Miquel Barceló's En Los Medios sold for £950 000 against an estimate of £500 000-700 000.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 09.17.58 David Hockney, Beach House by Day, 1990

The most excitement in the room came at the halfway mark of the sale, as David Hockney's Beach House by Day sold for £1.4 million, just short of the high estimate. As bidders in the room, on the phone and online battled it out for Hockney's Malibu beach house piece, with auctioneer Oliver Barker declaring there was ''an explosion of Hockney fans.''

Comment