Post-Auction Analysis – London and Paris, May 2012 / by ArtTactic
First half of 2012 sees photography auction sales up 6.3% from the same period last year.
(NOTE: All prices and figures are quoted excluding buyer’s premium)
The European spring season of Photography sales in London and Paris raised a total of £3,790,244, which was 13.5% below the low pre-sale estimate of £4,385,600 to £6,115,900. However, despite a patchy season in Europe this May – the total auction results for the first 6 months of this year is 6.3% higher than same period last year, and 3% higher than the second half of 2011, largely helped by strong results in New York last month.
This positive sentiment in the market was confirmed last week when ArtTactic published the results of its 6 monthly Photography Market Confidence Survey, showing an increase in confidence of 38%.
Sotheby’s sale of Photographs at their Paris saleroom on 15th May 2012 fell 64% short of its low estimate. The final tally was €478,200 (£384,900), against the pre-sale estimate was €1,312,400 – €2,069,000. The auction was 50% sold by lot and only 30.8% sold by value. Of the 113 lots in the auction, eight lots sold above their mid-estimate, 34 lots sold under mid-estimate and 57 lots remained unsold.
Christie’s sale of Photographs at their London, King Street saleroom on 16th May 2012 raised a total of £1,242,800. The pre-sale estimate was £1,144,500- £1,640,500. The auction was 75% sold by lot and 88.7% sold by value. 106 lots were offered in the King Street saleroom. The top lot in this auction was Helmut Newton’s ‘Self-Portrait with Wife and Models, ‘Vogue’ Studios, Paris’ (1980) which sold for £180,000 (Est. £70,000-90,000)
Phillips de Pury & Company’s sale of Photographs at their London saleroom on 17th May 2012 raised a total of £1,789,350, against the pre-sale estimate of £1,652,200 – £2,288,200. The auction was 87% sold by lot and 91% sold by value. Of the European sales held over last week, Phillips had the largest offering with 162 lots. Similar to their last photography sale in New York in April, the sale focused on post-war and contemporary works, and did not include any 19th Century or Early 20th Century works. Similar to their competitors, the sale included well-known examples of fashion photography by artists such as Helmut Newton and Irving Penn.
Bonhams Photography Sale on the 17th May raised a total of £259,350 against a pre-sale estimate of £276,500 to £401,600. The auction was 72% sold by lots, with 28 out of the 90 works on offer selling above the mid-estimate. Top lots of the sale included a photograph by Peter Beard entitled Giraffes on Mirage on the Taru Desert, Kenya c. 1960 that sold for £20,000. Exceeding the presale estimate of £8,000-12,000. A 1965 portrait of the renowned Kray Brothers, by the celebrated British photographer David Bailey sold for £17,000. A c-type print by Idris Khan entitled Every Bernd and Hilla Becher spherical gasholders sold for £10,500, selling for over double the presale estimate of £4,000- 6,000.
Fashion photography featured prominently in each of the auctions, particularly works by Irving Penn and Helmut Newton. However, Peter Beard, whose works also performed strongly in Sotheby’s and Phillips de Pury’s sales last month, has been the real winner this season. The strong performance of this artist’s works may be explained by the uniqueness of each mixed media photographic work, an attractive feature for collectors seeking rarity.
Please see accompanying charts in the gallery at right.
ArtTactic, founded in 2001 by Anders Petterson, has developed methodologies and analytical frameworks for the art market often used by economists and people in the financial markets. ArtTactic provides a new dimension to art market analysis by combining both qualitative and quantitative research tools with an in-depth knowledge of how the art market works. www.arttactic.com