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Andy Warhol's Diamond Shoes Sparkle at Sotheby's Contemporary $37m Sale

3 min read  · 16 Oct 2023

Andy Warhol's Diamond Dust Shoes sold for $4.08m, copyright the artist's estate, courtesy of Sotheby's

Discover key data points, top sellers and talking points at Sotheby's Contemporary Evening Auction in London on October 12.

All sales results are hammer prices plus premiums.

Auction breakdown

  • The sale totalled: $37.09m.

  • Pre-sale estimates (excluding premiums): $51.91m (low) and $75.43m (high).

  • The sell-through rate was 83% of the 23 lots announced ahead of the auction.

  • 19 works sold in the auction.

The top lot above its low estimate was: Andy Warhol, Diamond Dust Shoes (1980), which sold for $4.08m, 175% above estimate. It has been traded 4 times in the past.

The top lot by value was: Francis Bacon, Study for a Portrait (1979), which was guaranteed, selling for $5.27m, 22% above estimate. It has been traded 12 times in the past.

Breakdown of results against auction house estimates

  • 6 works, or 26%, of works sold above their high estimate.

  • 8 works, or 35%, sold within their estimate.

  • 5 works, or 22%, sold below their low estimate.


    9 works had a guarantee.

    Guaranteed works included: Francis Bacon, Study for a Portrait (1979).

    Guaranteed works had a total estimate of $18.47m.


    2 works were bought-in.

    Bought-in works included: Gerhard Richter, Abstract Painting (1986) estimated at $19.7m (low) to $29.56m (high). It has been traded 5 times in the past.

    Bought-in works had a total estimated value of: $20.57m (low) to $30.79m (high).


    4 works were withdrawn before the sale.

    Withdrawn works included: Mark Grotjahn, Untitled (White Butterfly, Blue MG) (2001) estimated at $1.48m (low) to $2.22m (high).

Jeff Koons, Caterpillar Ladder (2003), estimated at $1.22 (low) to $1.83 (high). It has been traded 2 times in the past.

Talking point

Philip Guston, The Canvas (1973), which sold for $3.75, 104% above its low estimate. It has been traded once in the past, acquired from the artist’s estate through Hauser & Wirth. The auction sale coincided with Tate Modern opening a major, and controversial, touring exhibition.

Auction jargon

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.


Francis Bacon