1. Establishing a record price for a female artist, Georgia O’Keeffe’s iconic flower painting Jimson Weed of 1932 more than tripled the previous world auction record for any female artist when it fetched $44.4m / £28.4m (est. $10 – 15m) in New York in November.
2. Causing a stir in the Impressionist & Modern Art field, the sale of American artist Kay Sage’s evocative painting Le Passage of 1956 marked an emergence from the shadow of her husband’s (Yves Tanguy) prominent reputation when the work surpassed all expectations when it sold for £4.3m / $7.1m (est. £70,000 – 90,000), establishing a new record for the artist in London’s February sales.
3. A notable female figure on the contemporary art scene in 2014 was Vija Celmins. The scarcity of her labour- intensive, painstakingly detailed works ensures furious competition among collectors each time a significant example appears at auction. New York’s Contemporary Curated sale in September was led by the most important group of her works ever offered auction, including the seminal painting Burning Plane from 1965 which doubled the high estimate of $1.2 million to sell for $3.4m / £2.1m.
4. Hidden from view for eight decades, a re-discovered painting by the Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi, Mary Magdalene fetched the remarkable sum of $1.2m / £691,626 (est. €200,000 – 300,000) in Paris in June, a new record for the artist at auction.
5. A new record was set for the 19th-century pioneering photographer Julia Margaret Cameron in New York when No. 5 of series of twelve lifesized heads (Kate Keown) sold for $461,000 / £293,462 (est. $250,000 – 350,000) in December, nearly doubling the previous record for the artist.
6. Having remained in the shadow of her more vaunted male contemporaries – artists such as Piero Manzoni, Lucio Fontana, Enrico Castellani – Dadamaino emerged triumphant in 2014 when a new benchmark was set for the artist when Volume by far exceeded pre-sale expectations and sold for £122,500 / $196,453 during October’s Italian Sale, swiftly followed by the opening of a landmark survey of her work at London’s S|2 Gallery. Size Matters: The Highest Prices of 2014 Quantified The most valuable object by weight and size sold in 2014 The British Guiana One-Cent Black on Magenta sold in June at Sotheby’s New York for $9,480,000 – nearly 1 billion times its original face value and a new world auction record for any stamp. No stamp is rarer than the sole-surviving example of the British Guiana.
Every second counts: the most valuable timepiece in auction history The Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication – the most complicated watch ever made completely by human hand – sold in Geneva in November for CHF 23.2m / $24m / €19.3m / £15.1m – a new auction record for any timepiece. The world’s most expensive glass of wine
A world auction record for the most expensive wine lot was set in Hong Kong in October when a Romanée-Conti Superlot of 114-bottles sold for HK$12.6m / US$1.7m / £1m (est. HK$12–20m). This equates to HK$110,143 / US$14,121 / £8,836, per bottle, or HK$13,768 / US$1,700 / £1,105 per glass for 912 glasses. The most expensive per carat A record price per carat for a ruby at $997,727, sold from the collection of Dimitri Mavrommatis, The Graff Ruby sold in Sotheby’s November Geneva Magnificent & Noble Jewels sale for CHF 8.3m / $8.6m / £5.4m (est. CHF 6.5 – 8.6 million), also establishing a world auction record for a ruby.
Great British Greats Benefitting from a geographical position that bridges international time zones between the US and Asia, the UK’s art market alone is bigger than all the other western European art markets combined. The number of countries active in Sotheby’s London sales is greater than in any of our other selling centres (clients from over 120 countries have transacted here over the last 5 years).
Sotheby’s UK sales represent 39% of Sotheby’s global total, accounting for 29% of the company’s total turnover in 2014 to date. The Top British Artists Prices of 2014 SEE FULL CAPTIONS FOR THE TOP TEN PRICES AT END OF DOCUMENT The Most In-Demand Works of Art of 2014 The lot that attracted the highest number of bids (71) A silver matchbox holder by Padgett & Braham Ltd given to Winston Churchill as a Christmas present by his children sold for £68,500 / $107,648 (est. £300 – 500) at Sotheby’s Daughter of History: Mary Soames and the Legacy of Churchill sale in London. Lots that sold for the highest sums above their high estimate:
Mark Rothko, Untitled sold for $39,925,000 / £25,100,591, almost double the high estimate (est. $15 – 20m) Property from the Collection of Mrs Paul Mellon: Masterworks, November, New York A Fancy Vivid Blue Diamond Pendant sold for $32,645,000 / £20,802,269 ($3,348,205 per carat) – a new auction record for any blue diamond and price per carat for any diamond. Property from the Collection of Mrs Paul Mellon: Jewels & Objects of Vertu, November, New York The lot that attracted the highest number of nationalities to bid (15) Audemars Piguet, an automatic stainless steel wristwatch sold for $12,500 / £7,436 (est. $3,000 – 4,000) in Sotheby’s New York Important Watches sale in June.Top Ten Highest Prices at Sotheby’s Auctions in 2014
1. Alberto Giacometti, Chariot Sold for £63,130,745 / $100,965,000 Impressionist & Modern Art Evening sale, November, New York
2. Amedeo Modigliani, Tête Sold for £44,222,473 / $70,725,000 *RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION* Impressionist & Modern Art Evening sale, November, New York
3. Vincent Van Gogh, Still life, Vase with Daisies and Poppies Sold for £38,620,021 / $61,765,000 (est. $30— 50 million) Impressionist & Modern Art Evening sale, November, New York
4. Claude Monet, Nymphéas Sold for £31,722,500 / $54,071,001 (est. £20 – 30 million) Impressionist & Modern Art Evening sale, June, London
5. JWM Turner, Rome, From Mount Aventine Sold for £30,322,500 / $47,430,454 (est. £15 – 20 million) *RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION* Old Master & British Paintings Evening sale, December, London
6. Francis Bacon, Three Studies for Portrait of George Dyer Sold for £26,682,500 / $45,400,274 (est. £15 – 20 million) Contemporary Art Evening auction, June, London
7. Mark Rothko, No. 21 (Red, Brown, Black and Orange) Sold for £28,376,246 / $44,965,000 Contemporary Art Evening auction, November, New York
8. Georgia O’Keeffe, Jimson Weed Sold for £28,377,428 / $44,405,000 (est. $10 – 15 million) *RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION* *RECORD FOR ANY FEMALE ARTIST AT AUCTION* American Art, November, New York
9. Mark Rothko, Untitled Sold for £25,100,591 / $39,925,000 (est. $15 – 20 million) Property from the Collection of Mrs Paul Mellon: Masterworks, November, New York
10. Mark Rothko, Untitled (Yellow, Orange, Yellow, Light Orange) Sold for £22,988,180 / $36,565,000 (est. $20 – 30 million).
Property from the Collection of Mrs Paul Mellon: Masterworks, November, New York Top British Artists Prices of 2014
1. JWM Turner, Rome, From Mount Aventine Sold for £30,322,500 / $47,430,454 (est. £15 – 20) *RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION* Old Master & British Paintings Evening sale, December, London
2. Francis Bacon, Three Studies for Portrait of George Dyer Sold for £26,682,500 / $45,400,274 (est. £15 – 20 million) Contemporary Art Evening auction, June, London
3. Laurence Stephen Lowry, Piccadilly Circus, London Sold for £5,122,500 / $8,444,441 (est. £4 – 6 million) Lowry: The A.J. Thompson Collection, March, London
4. Lucian Freud, Head on a Green Sofa Sold for £2,994,500 / $2,994,500 (est. £2.5 – 3.5 million) Contemporary Art Evening Auction, February, London
5. Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Venus Verticordia Sold for £2,882,500 / $4,522,931 (est. £1 – 1.5 million)