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Gerhard Richter Leads Phillips $69.93m '20th Century & Contemporary Art, Evening Sale Part II' in New York

3 min read  · 15 Nov 2023

Abstract Painting by Gerhard Richter sold for $34.8m. Image courtesy of Phillips

A work by Gerhard Richter, which had a guarantee, was the headline sale at Phillips '20th Century & Contemporary Art, Evening Sale Part II' on November 14 in New York.

  • The sale totaled $69.93m, falling short of its pre-sale low estimate.

Snapshot of the sale

  • 24 works sold totaling $69.93m.

  • Estimates totaled: $72.71m (low) and $89.84m (high), excluding premiums.

  • The sell-through rate was 80% of the original 30 lots announced.

The star lot was: Gerhard Richter, Abstract Painting (1987), which sold for $34.8m, 15% above its $30m low estimate. The work was backed by a guarantee. It has been traded 3 times in the past.

The outperformer sold for 225% above its low estimate. Ambera Wellmann, Ritz (2018), sold for $133,400 ($40,000 low estimate). It has been traded twice in the past.

A talking point was Jadé Fadojutimi Quirk my mannerism (2021), which sold for $1.94m, a record for the artist, 200% above its $600,000 low estimate. The work has been traded twice in the past.

Breakdown of results against auction house estimates that are disclosed

  • 10 works, or 42%, sold above their high estimate.

  • 11 works, or 46%, sold within their low and high estimate.

  • 3 works, or 12%, sold below their low estimate.

  • 1 sold with an undisclosed estimate.

Guaranteed sales

8 works were backed by guarantees, including: Gerhard Richter, Abstract Painting (1987). It sold for $34.8m. (Estimate undisclosed). It has been traded 3 times in the past.

Works that did not sell

2 works were bought-in, including: Jeff Koons, Balloon Venus Dolni Vestonice (Magenta) (2013), estimated at $3m (low) to $5m (high). It has been traded once in the past.

Withdrawn before the sale

4 works were withdrawn before the sale, including: Joan Mitchell, Blueberry (1962) estimated at $9m (low) to $12m (high).

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.


Gerhard Richter

New York