Ultra-contemporary sculpture


Ultra-contemporary sculpture

Our Friday TOP! Every other Friday Artprice posts a theme-based auction ranking. This week we present the ten best results for Ultra-contemporary sculpture.

With its price index up 14% over the last 12 months and a number of new records, sculpture today represents more than 10% of fine art auction revenue for only 5% of the total lots sold. While sculptures by Giacometti, Matisse and Modigliani sell for millions of dollars, we take a look at what is happening to the prices of the new generation of artists working in three dimensions.

Top 10 : the ten best results for Ultra-contemporary sculpture

Rank Artist Hammer Price Artwork Sale
1 Urs FISCHER $6 000 000 Untitled (Lamp-Bear) (2005-2006) 05/11/2011 (Christie’s NY)
2 Urs FISCHER $900 000 Untitled (Candle) (2003) 11/09/2010 (Sotheby’s NY)
3 Urs FISCHER $878 020 Thank You Fuck You 06/27/2011 (Phillips de Pury & Co London)
4 Abdulnasser GHAREM $700 000 Message/Messenger (2010) 04/19/2011 (Christie’s Dubaï)
5 Joana VASCONCELOS $657 762 Marilyn (2009) 02/11/2010 (Christie’s London)
6 BANKSY $550 000 Vandalised Phone Box (2005) 02/14/2008 (Sotheby’s NY)
7 Matthew Day JACKSON $550 000 Harriet (Last Portrait) (2006) 05/12/2010 (Sotheby’s NY)
8 Urs FISCHER $500 000 Airports Are Like Nightclubs (2005) 05/11/2011 (Christie’s NY)
9 Chintan UPADHYAY $440 000 New Indians (2007) 09/21/2007 (Sotheby’s NY)
10 Matthew Day JACKSON $430 920 Tennanaut II (2008) 06/28/2011 (Christie’s London)

In 2010, Urs FISCHER’s price index rocketed and the artist signed a new personal auction record of $900,000 for Untitled (Candle) on 9 November 2010 at Sotheby’s in New York. The movement has continued this year with another new record in May for a gigantic 7-metre tall sculpture, Untitled (Lamp/Bear), which fetched $6m at Christie’s in New York, nearly seven times his previous record. With this result Urs Fischer has become the market’s most expensive artist under the age of 40. Rare on the secondary market (only 20 lots presented at auction so far), no less than 4 of his works were offered during the month of May alone, and all sold for over $80,000, including one robotic sculpture entitled Airports Are Like Nightclubs which fetched $500,000 at Christie’s on 11 May.

The Swiss artist’s ascension has continued in 2011: on 29 June, at Phillips de Pury in London, he signed his third best result with a sculpture called Thank You Fuck You which fetched £550,000 ($878,020).

The young Saudi artist, Abdulnasser GHAREM, signed a spectacular result of $700,000 at Christie’s Dubai sale of Modern and Contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish Art on 19 April. The sculpture, entitled Message/Messenger, was estimated at a mere $70,000 – $100,000.
Of the two works by the artist that had been sold at auction previous to that sale, neither has fetched more than $7,000! At 36, this Middle-Eastern Contemporary sculptor was exhibited at the Saudi Arabian pavilion of the 53rd Venice Biennial.

The Portuguese artist Joana VASCONCELOS takes 5th place in this week’s Top with an enormous sculpture entitled Marilyn that was acquired for £420,000 ($657,762) at Christie’s in London. The work – a pair of gigantic stiletto shoes made entirely from stainless steel pots, pans and lids and measuring 410 x 297 x 150 cm – is the artist’s best-ever auction result. The young Vasconcelos now has four results above $150,000 under her belt.

The only American in the ranking, Matthew Day JACKSON, signed his best result in 2010 for a work entitled Harriet (Last Portrait) that fetched $550,000 at Sotheby’s in New York just three months after his Bucky generated a new personal record of £570,000 ($783,050) at Christie’s in London on 11 February 2010.
Although none of his works have sold that high since, in 2011 four of his works have sold for more than $100,000, including Tennanaut II that was acquired for £270,000 ($430,920) at Christie’s in London on 28 June.

BANKSY – the most famous “anonymous” artist – takes 5th place in this ranking with a result of $550,000 for his sculpture Vandalised Phone Box, an allegory to violence consisting of a vandalised London telephone box (14 February 2008) at Sotheby’s New York.
This was the artist’s fourth best auction result. The crisis brought the price euphoria for Banksy’s works to an abrupt halt and none of the artist’s works have reiterated the 7-figure results generated in 2008 which allowed him to make a stunning entry into the Top 15 Contemporary artists at 13th place with a 2008 auction revenue total of $12.5m.

The Indian artist, Chintan UPADHYAY, posted his first auction result in 2005 at $7,000. In 2007, his index moved into another dimension when his work was exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery in London. On 21 September 2007, his New Indians fetched $440,000 at Sotheby’s.