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Ed Ruscha Leads Sotheby's $18.15m 'The Emily Fisher Landau' Day Auction in New York

3 min read  · 09 Nov 2023

Life by Ed Ruscha sold for $2.84m. Image courtesy of Sotheby's

A work by Ed Ruscha, which had a guarantee, was the headline sale at Sotheby's 'The Emily Fisher Landau Collection: An Era Defined' day auction on November 9 in New York.

  • The sale totaled $18.15m, meeting the pre-sale estimate.

Snapshot of the sale

  • 79 works sold totaling $18.15m.

  • Estimates totaled: $12.64m (low) and $18.47m (high), excluding premiums.

  • The sell-through rate was 96% of the original 82 lots announced.

The star lot was: Ed Ruscha, Life (1984), which sold for $2.84m, 57% above its $1.8m low estimate. The work was backed by a guarantee. It has been traded once in the past.

The outperformer sold for 700% above its low estimate. Thomas Nozkowski, Untitled (1988), sold for $69,800 ($8,000 low estimate). The work was backed by a guarantee. It has been traded once in the past.

A talking point was Mark Innerst Astor Place (2000), which sold for $48,260, 700% above its $6,000 low estimate, an auction record for the artist. It has been traded once in the past.

Breakdown of results against auction house estimates that are disclosed

52 works, or 66%, sold above their high estimate.

12 works, or 15%, sold within their low and high estimate.

15 works, or 19%, sold below their low estimate.

0 sold with undisclosed estimates.

Guaranteed sales

All 81 works were backed by guarantees, including: Ed Ruscha, Life (1984).

Works that did not sell

3 works were bought-in, including: Barbara Kruger, Heart (Do I have to give up me to be loved by you) (1988), estimated at $400,000 (low) to $600,000 (high). It has been traded once in the past.

Withdrawn before the sale

0 works were withdrawn

Terms and definitions

All results include the fees and premiums added to the price of a work of art when the auctioneer's hammer falls. Sale prices are compared to the auction house’s low estimate, which do not include premiums.

Guarantees: Sometimes an auction house guarantees to pay a seller for a work, regardless of whether the bidding reaches the reserve price, a figure that is typically confidential.

Bought-in: If there are no bids for a work, or if bidding falls short of the reserve price, the lot is unsold or “bought-in”.

Withdrawn: This happens when a seller decides, for whatever reason, to withdraw a work before the bidding begins.

Premiums: Typically a sliding-scale of charges paid in addition to the hammer price by the buyer, plus any other fees.


Ed Ruscha

New York