Giorgio Morandi Leads Sotheby's $11.62m 'Contemporary Auction' in Milan

3 min read  ·  27 Nov 2023

Natura morta by Giorgio Morandi sold for $1.3m.
Image courtesy of Sotheby's

Natura morta by Giorgio Morandi sold for $1.3m. Image courtesy of Sotheby's

A work by Giorgio Morandi was the headline sale at Sotheby's 'Contemporary Auction' on November 22 in Milan.

  • The sale totaled $11.62m, meeting the pre-sale estimate.

Snapshot of the sale

  • 51 works sold totaling $11.62m.
  • Estimates totaled: $8.8m (low) and $12.58m (high), excluding premiums.
  • The sell-through rate was 93% of the original 55 lots announced.

The star lot was: Giorgio Morandi, Natura morta (1955), which sold for $1.3m, 21% above its $1.07m low estimate. It has been traded 4 times in the past.

The outperformer sold for 500% above its low estimate. Luigi Ghirri, Senza titolo (Roma) (1979), sold for $16,600 ($2,394 low estimate). It has been traded once in the past.

A talking point was Salvo, Il villaggio (2014), which sold for $276,000, 400% above its $55,000 low estimate. The work has not been traded before.

Breakdown of results against auction house estimates that are disclosed

Breakdown of results against auction house estimates that are disclosed

  • 26 works, or 51%, sold above their high estimate.
  • 24 works, or 47%, sold within their low and high estimate.
  • 1 works, or 2%, sold below their low estimate.
  • 0 sold with undisclosed estimates.

Guaranteed sales

No sales had a guarantee.

Works that did not sell

4 works were bought-in, including: Alighiero e Boetti, Ammazzare il tempo (1983), estimated at $427,600 (low) to $641,400 (high). It has been traded twice 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Withdrawn before the sale

0 works were withdrawn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Withdrawn: This happens when a seller decides, for whatever reason, to withdraw a work before the bidding begins.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