Photograph courtesy of Sotheby’s showing a triptych by the British Francis Bacon, « Triptych inspired by Aeschylus’ Orestiad » (1981). . / Sotheby’s
New York, June 29 . .- The auction house Sotheby’s held its first global digital sale on Monday, the solution that has found the coronavirus-forced halt in the acquisition of masterpieces among the world’s wealthiest, and in the one that highlighted Francis Bacon’s « Triptych Inspired by Aeschylus’ Orestiad » (1981), for which more than 84 million dollars were paid.
The multi-million dollar sale of Bacon’s work was to be expected, as it was the first time it had been on the market since 1987, when it was sold by the prestigious Marlborough art gallery to Hans Rasmus Astrup, a prominent Norwegian businessman and collector.
In addition, as explained by the experts at Sotheby’s, the monumental work, almost 4.5 meters wide and two meters high, is one of only 28 triptychs of this type painted by Bacon, of which half already belong to museums.
For this set of reasons, and because in the last 35 years, only 5 or 6 other triptychs of this type of Bacon have been put up for auction, the piece sold for exactly $ 84.55 million, above what the auction house, which valued it at a minimum of 60 million and a maximum of 80 million.
In the contemporary art section, the first to be finalized, it also featured Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1982 « Untitled (Head) », considered one of the most important works on paper by the New Yorker and for which 15.18 million were paid of dollars.
Also, Roy Lichtenstein’s « White Brushstorke I » reached $ 27.03 million, Clyfford Still’s « PH-144 (1947-Y-NO.1) » $ 28.73 million, and « Green, Blue, Green « by Mark Rothko the 8.35 million.
In Impressionist and modern art, he highlighted Pablo Picasso’s « Tête de Femme Endormie » (1934), one of the copies of the series of portraits of the Spanish painter Marie Therese Walter’s lover asleep and that Sotheby’s experts rated highly of $ 12 million.
Finally, the piece, described by Sotheby’s as « one of the most valuable cultural portraits of all time, » reached $ 11.19 million after not going on sale in nearly 60 years, after being purchased at a auction of the same house in London in 1960.
Cuban Wifredo Lam also had a prominent role in the sale with his « Omi Obini » (1943), considered a precursor to his important works of the late 1940s and 1950s, and which has been compared to his praised piece « La Jungle « (1943), which is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art of New York (MoMA).
« Omi Obini », sold for 9.60 million dollars, easily exceeded the artist’s hitherto record, which was reached in 2017 with « Three centimeters from the ground », for which 5.2 million dollars were paid in an auction in Paris.
In addition to the works themselves, he highlighted the format of the auction, which had to be adapted to the social distancing imposed by the coronavirus.
Without the pandemic, Sotheby’s would have held this remarkable sale in mid-May at its luxurious New York Upper East Side headquarters, as it has done so far every year.
This time, however, it was an event in which the auctioneer was practically alone in a room, in front of the cameras and without the company of the millionaire buyers, who bid through the Sotheby’s website or in a telephone conversation. with representatives of the house, distributed by nine cities in the world, including Geneva, Paris, Milan, Chicago, Hong Kong and Palm Beach (Florida).