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Contemporary Art sees the backside of the recession

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13th May 2009

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Jeff Koons' Baroque Egg. Photo: Sotheby's
12 May 2009, New York, NY - "The Contemporary Art market is alive and well, said Tobias Meyer, Worldwide Head of Contemporary Art at Sotheby s and the evening s auctioneer following the sale, which saw a sell-through rate of 81% by lot and 78% by value.

"This is obviously a very different market from just a year ago, said Alex Rotter, Head of the Contemporary Art Department in New York. Therefore, we decided on quite a different approach for this season s sale. We wanted to ensure that we had an excellent representation of iconic names, which we achieved. We also wanted to include artists whose works have been somewhat scarce and whose appeal, as a result, has remained consistent, among them, Kippenberger, Wool, Gober, Wall and Mu oz, all of whom have been celebrated with recent exhibitions and major museum retrospectives. And so, together with their work, we have included rare and choice examples by Rauschenberg, Calder and Twombly.

The sale featured rare and important works by artists who rarely appear at auction. Some of the hot names gracing the saleroom walls were Martin Kippenberger s self portrait from 1988, Robert Gober, Jeff Wall, Charles Ray, Christopher Wool, Yayoi Kusama and Juan Mu oz beside the Basquiat, Koons and Calders.

Provocative was the word of the night. Charles Ray's Untitled/'Who the Fuck is Roy Lichtenstein?" brings into question who really is an artist calling into question the difference between fine and commercial art. Other themes broached in this sale were the conflicts and metaphors between the real and interpretation.

Jeff Koons, Baroque Egg with Bow (Turquoise/Magenta) had never before appeared at auction. It was estimated at 4-6 million and became the star of the show last night selling for $5,458,500.

Where do valuations for the big boys go from here?