Bonhams’ Nifty Post-War & Contemporary Art Sale

Mark Bradford, Dream Deferral, 2009 achieved £1,565,000

Bonhams’ New Bond Street salesroom scored a successful late afternoon Post-War and Contemporary Art auction on Thursday that tallied £7,076,750/$9,199,775.

Though the sum trails Phillips’ £24.3 million result later that evening and ever more distant from Sotheby’s £62.4 million evening sale on Wednesday, Bonhams increased its visibility and market share in that fiercely competed for and lucrative space.

Bonhams sold all but two of the 39 lots offered for a tiny buy-in rate by lot of five percent.

Mark Bradford nailed the evening’s top lot with “Dream Deferral” from 2009 in mixed media with metallic elements on canvas and inspired in part by a Langston Hughes poem from 1951. It sold for £1,565,000/$2,031,066 (est. £1-1.5 million), to New York’s Mnuchin Gallery (as first reported by The Baer Faxt).

The 48 1/8 by 60 inch work last sold in the single owner Christie’s London sale, “A Visual Odyssey: Selections form the Lambert Art Collection” in October 2015 for £902,500.

As reported here in an earlier blog from Art Basel this month, Mnuchin sold a much larger Bradford, “Smear” from 2015, also in mixed media collage on canvas and scaled at 96 by 72 inches, for $5.5 million.

In a New Yorker profile on Bradford in 2015, the L.A. raised artist, currently a star in the Venice Biennale representing the American Pavilion, described his art as abstraction, but abstraction “with a social or political context clinging to the edges.”

Other Bonhams’ highlights included Christopher Wool’s black on white, vine patterned abstraction, “Untitled” from 1991 that made £1,025,000/$1,330,251 (est. £850,000-1.25 million), Andy Warhol’s late portrait, “Lenin” from 1986 that sold for £785,000/$1,078,777 (est. £650-750,000) and Banksy’s effortlessly cheeky, “Laugh Now But One Day We’ll Be in Charge,” from 2000 and featuring a sandwich board carrying chimpanzee that brought £293,000/$380,257 (est. £120-180,000).

On a more serious front, Leon Kossoff’s heavily impastoed Expressionist work, “Red Brick School Building, Willesden, Spring,” from 1981 sold for £641,000/$831,893 (est. £520-720,000).

All of these highlighted lots were backed by financial guarantees.

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