Although the coronavirus pandemic has led major cultural institutions and fairs to move online, Sotheby’s has witnessed the highest-ever result for an online sale of 20th century design last week. The sale, which was scheduled to be held live, shows how online auction programs can be successful; the auction house reported that nearly half of all pieces offered sold for more than their highest estimates. The bidders came from 31 countries, with one-third of the bids coming from mobile devices.
“The remarkable success of our mid-season design auction demonstrates the strong demand we continue to see from collectors worldwide for works across the full spectrum of the design markets,” said Jodi Pollack, co-worldwide Head of Sotheby’s 20th Century Design department. “Our record total also reinforces the confidence and shift we are seeing towards bidding and buying online.” Six works sold for more than $100,000 USD, marking the success of the auction house’s online sale strategies.
Highlights from the auction include a series of windows designed by Frank Lloyd Wright which brought in $487,500 USD, a 1895 “Moorish” wire chandelier by Tiffany Studios that sold for $300,000 USD — 20 times its estimated price — and Jean Prouvé’s pair of “Direction” armchairs for $175,000 USD. The sale toppled its high estimate by more than 25 percent. “This result is an important indicator of the design market’s momentum and growth at a much-needed time,” Pollack noted.
Check out key pieces from Sotheby’s 20th Century Design Auction in the slideshow above.