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  • Posts Tagged ‘Sunflower Seeds’

    Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds Make Four Times Estimate

    Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

    Gerhard Richters Abstraktes Bild, the top lot at Sotheby's Contemporary sale in London. (click on image to enlarge)

    The first of Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds (Kui Hua Zi) ever to appear at auction made £349,250 (£3.50 per seed) at Sotheby’s auction of contemporary art.  The 100 kilograms of the porcelain seeds made more than four times the pre-sale estimate of £80,000-120,000 in London. Four bidders both in the saleroom and on the telephones battled to acquire 100,000 of the artist’s seeds.  The seeds in this work of art are not from Tate Modern’s 11th Unilever Turbine Hall commission.

    Sunflower Seeds draws together many of the themes and formal concerns of Weiwei’s work to date.  Sotheby’s described it as a sculptural piece which is at once singular and complex in form and meaning.  This one was executed in 2010 and is from an edition of ten unique variants.
    This evening’s Contemporary Art evening sale realised £44,359,900.  When results from last weeks ‘Looking Closely’ sale are added it brings the total for Sotheby’s Contemporary Art auction series  so far this season to £88,022,550.  This is the  second-highest total for a February Contemporary Art sales series in London, and the highest total since July 2008.
    The top lot was as Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes Bild of 1990, which sold for £7,209,250.
    (see antiquesandartireland.com post for February 10)
    UPDATE: The contemporary art day auction brought in a total of  £13,930,200 at Sotheby’s on February 16.  The result brings the overall total for contemporary art at Sotheby’s this season to £101,952,750. This is well above pre-sale expectations of £56-78million.