Jenny Saville Leads Sotheby's $55.2m 'The Now Evening Auction' in New York

3 min read  ·  16 Nov 2023

Shift by Jenny Saville sold for $10.91m.
Image courtesy of Sotheby's

Shift by Jenny Saville sold for $10.91m. Image courtesy of Sotheby's

A work by Jenny Saville, which had a guarantee, was the headline sale at Sotheby's 'The Now Evening Auction' on November 15 in New York.

  • The sale totaled $55.2m, meeting the pre-sale estimate.

Snapshot of the sale

  • 18 works sold totaling $55.2m.
  • Estimates totaled: $43.69m (low) and $60.58m (high), excluding premiums.
  • The sell-through rate was 95% of the original 19 lots announced.

The star lot was: Jenny Saville, Shift (1996), which sold for $10.91m, 21% above its $9m low estimate. The work was backed by a guarantee. It has been traded 4 times in the past.

The outperformer sold for 800% above its low estimate. Mohammed Sami, The Praying Room (2021), sold for $952,500 ($100,000 low estimate), an auction record for the artist. It has been traded twice in the past.

Talking points included: Julie Mehretu, Walkers With the Dawn and Morning (2008), which sold for $10.74m, an auction record for the artist, 53% above its $7m low estimate. The work has been traded once in the past.

Another auction record was set by Marina Perez Simão, Untitled (2022), which sold for $422,000, 400% above its $80,000 low estimate). It has been traded once in the past.

Breakdown of results against auction house estimates that are disclosed

Breakdown of results against auction house estimates that are disclosed

  • 9 works, or 50%, sold above their high estimate.
  • 8 works, or 44%, sold within their low and high estimate.
  • 1 works, or 6%, sold below their low estimate.
  • 0 sold with undisclosed estimates.

Guaranteed sales

12 works were backed by guarantees, including: Jenny Saville, Shift (1996), which sold for $10.91m.

Works that did not sell

0 works were bought-in.

Withdrawn before the sale

1 work was withdrawn before the sale: Mark Bradford, Tina (2006) estimated at $2.5m (low) to $3.5m (high).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.