Francis Bacon. Three Studies for Portrait of George Dyer (on light ground), 1964. Francis Bacon. Three Studies for Portrait of George Dyer (on light ground), 1964.


Contemporary Art Evening Auction on June 30th at Sotheby's, London

Bets are on as records are anticipated to be broken in Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening sale! Last week Barnebys Journal featured two articles on the two most publicized items. The Francis Bacon triptych portrait of his burgler-turned-lover George Dyer, a type of lot would have sold for under $4 million ten years ago but should fetch between $20 and $33 million during today's sale and Scottish artist Peter Doig's Country-Rock (Wing Mirror). A contender for the  world record price for a British artist at auction currently held by Damien Hirst's Golden Calf, sold at Sotheby's in 2008 for $17.3 million.

Two other works by Bacon are available in the sale: Study For Portrait of PL, No 1 estimated at $7.5 million (1957) and Seated Man, expected to reap between $2.5 and $3.4 million (1957). Other artists included in the 59 lot sale are Lucio Fontana, Adriana Varejao, Gerhard Richter, Cindy Sherman, Rosemarie Trockel and Chris Ofili.


Francis Bacon Study for Head of Lucian Freud Francis Bacon
Study for Head of Lucian Freud


Post War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on July 1st at Christie's, London

It is not a coincidence that Christie's, like Sotheby's has featured a Francis Bacon piece on the front page of their catalog, the artist's price index is currently world leading. Christie's has two of his pieces up for sale Study for head of Lucian Freud (1967) from the collection of Roald Dahl, who died in 1990. The celebrated children's book author bought the painting for £2,850 in 1967 and although the estimate is not revealed with reference to past sales it should sell between $8 - $10 million and Head I (1958) estimated at $4.3 - $6 million

YBAs are a regular feature in Contemporary Art auctions,  several pieces by Damien Hirst are offered at both Sotheby's and Christie's, pieces by Rachel Whiteread, Jenny Saville and Martin Creed are offered only in the latter's 79 lot sale.


Lucien Smith, Boys Don't Cry, 2012 Lucien Smith, Boys Don't Cry, 2012


Contemporary Art Evening Auction on July 2nd at Phillips, London

Phillips 29 lot sale includes an Andy Warhol 'fright-wig' Self Portrait from 1986, if the piece sounds familiar it's because a much larger pink version was recently sold for $39 million by Skarstedt at Art Basel. This smaller blue piece (22 x 22 in.) is estimated at the smaller price of $4.3- $6 million.

The sale also includes younger artists such as Wade Guyton (b. 1972), Kaws (b. 1974), David Ostrowski (b. 1981) and Lucien Smith, all Americans. Smith is the youngest of the lot, born in 1989. The market for Smith's work has rapidly inflated, 23 of pieces have been sold at auction since his auction debut in November 2013 when Phillips sold a canvas he made as a student at Cooper Union entitled Hobbes, The Rain Man, and My Friend Barney / Under the Sycamore Tree at double its high estimate. Three days later, Sotheby's sold a piece for four times its high estimate at $100.000. Phillip's has a mesmerizing acrylic on un-primed canvas titled Boys Don't Cry on offer with an estimate of $68.400 - $102.600.