The hashtag #SothebysBearWitness was scattered across social media last week as a result of Sotheby’s London New Bond Street being transformed into a week long carnivalesque art-house event.
Six hundred and forty eight lots were housed within the walls of Sotheby’s for a week before they were put up for auction- with the auction itself needing three days to complete.
With themed wallpaper lining the inside walls and a giant neon bear sign at the entrance it is with no hesitation to say Sotheby’s pulled out all of the tops for this auction and what a triumph it was - with the three-day sale soaring past its pre-sale expectations (£24.7- £35.2 million) and reaching a rather grand total of £36,124,636.
One single anonymous owner; with a passion for art, predominantly bears and skulls filled the entirety of Sotheby’s New Bond Street showrooms, one of Sotheby’s biggest sales to date and inclusive of all of Sotheby’s specialist departments apart from the Wine department.
The curatorial aim was to reflect just how the collector had the works displayed in his home, resulting in a contemporary wonderland of toffee tins, cans of coke, feathered bears and works by post war and contemporary masters such as Warhol, Fontana, Rothko and Richter. Low estimates ranged from an accessible £20 through to the higher £2 million for this collection which included an art debut, the first ever ‘Playboy Bunny’ by the hand of the iconic Andy Warhol appeared, and fetched a staggering £425,000.
Over 7,500 people visited Sotheby’s New Bond Street in the week leading to this magnificent sale with bids received from fifty countries. A total of eighty-one skull themed items were sold and a striking one hundred and fifty three bears. All in all this auction was not to be missed, a success from Sotheby’s and a hit for anybody who attended the culturally curious Wunderkammer.