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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

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

  • 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Withdrawn before the sale

1 work was withdrawn before the sale: Mark Bradford, Tina (2006) estimated at $2.5m (low) to $3.5m (high).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


Jenny Saville

New York