Trendsetting Sales: The 5 Biggest Acquisitions of the Last Month

Find out what were the sales of the main art fairs in the world and how these works direct the trends for the artistic universe.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

The two biggest art fairs in the world took place in October. Among them are the Frieze London and Frieze Masters, which opened its doors on October 13 at The Regent's Park in London, and the Paris+ by Art Basel which had its vernissage on the 19th of the same month. All fairs were a success, without a doubt, but what really shocked the artistic community were the sales digits

According to Phillips, the leading art auction house, in just two days, sales totaled nearly £29.8 million, about R$182 million reais. Among the main sales, we had names like Banksy, Francis Bacon, David Hockney, Frank Auerbach and more. Here we'll talk about the selection of works, the estimated values and how these purchases generate a wave of trends for the next art season. 

The 5 biggest sales of the season

Obra de Francis Bacon sendo segurada por duas pessoas no leilão da Sotheby's.
Image: work “Three Studies For Portrait of Henrietta Moraes”, Francis Bacon (1963). 

In first place in the most extravagant purchases of recent weeks is the work “Three Studies For Portrait of Henrietta Moraes”, in Francis Bacon, sold during Sotheby's auction for £24.3 million, about R$143 million reais

The trilogy is part of a series of portraits he painted of his friends, at a time when his art was becoming increasingly personal. The sale, however, was twice as low and shocked collectors as 2012 was the last time a portrait of Henrietta signed by Bacon appeared at auction and sold for around £21 million. R$127 million reais

Obra "Early Morning, Sainte-Maxime" de David Hockney.
Image: work “Early Morning, Sainte-Maxime”, David Hockney (1969). 

Another millionaire work that cannot be missing from this list of highlights was the sale of the work “Early Morning, Sainte-Maxime”, sold by Christie's auction house, in London. Hockney's inspiration for painting the painting came from a photo he took when he was visiting film director Tony Richardson. 

It was estimated to raise between £7 million and £10 million, but the work sold within six minutes, when bidding between private buyers began, for double the amount. The final sale was confirmed at £20,899,500, almost R$123 million reais – the biggest (and fastest) sale in recent times. 

Imagem da obra de Jan Brueghel The Elder, 1616.
Image: work “The edge of a village with people dancing on a riverbank”, Jan Brueghel The Elder (1616). 

Another notable sale was made by London dealer Johnny Van Haeften during the first day of the London Frieze. The work "The edge of a village with people dancing on a riverbank”, an oil painting by Jan Brueghel The Elder, dating from 1616, sold for U$10 million, almost R$54 million reais

Imagem da obra "Je t'aime No II" de Robert Motherwell.
Image: work “Je t'aime No II”, Robert Motherwell (1957).

Another artist on the list of most expensive works this season is the expressionist Robert Motherwell. The painter, who works alongside Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and many other names in the American abstract scene, produced a series of works shortly after his second marriage came to an end. 

The sale of one of the works in this series took place on the second day of Art Basel, when Pace Gallery announced “Je t'aime No II” for U$ 6.5 million, almost R$ 35 million reais.  

Imagem da obra "Head of J.Y.M, Frank Auerbach".
Image: work “Head of JYM”, Frank Auerbach (1984). 

Last but not least (or expensive), the work “Head of JYM” by expressionist artist Frank Auerbach also reached millionaire values in this period of fairs and became a highlight of Sotheby's night auction. 

The portrait of your nanny, Juliet Yardley Mills, has an interesting history. The work was one of the protagonists in his exhibition at the Rijksmuseum in 1989, but it also accompanied him to places like the Royal Academy of Arts and to Timothy Taylor in New York. The painting, which was estimated to sell for £3 million, actually was bought for £5.6 million, about R$34 million reais. 

to keep an eye

Imagem da obra “Surinder”, Raghav Babbar (2020). 
Image: work “Surinder”, Raghav Babbar (2020). 

Among the highlights of the auction, a new name on the scene surprised everyone – Indian artist Raghav Babbar broke the London Frieze record by selling “Surinder” for £403,200, almost R$2.4 million reais, twenty times the estimated price. For the artist, figuration is a vehicle for channeling emotion onto the canvas.

It's not just about money

Imagem da obra "Cloud of Blood" da artista Tracey Emin.
Image: work “Cloud of Blood”, Tracey Emin (2022).

Last but not least, artist Tracey Emin set a new record during Christie's overnight sale with her piece “Cloud of Blood”. Emin herself sold her work to raise funds for the TKE Studios – his artist residency program which will open in January 2023. The painting sold for £2,322,000 R$14 million reais and the value will be converted directly to your social project.

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