The 10 Highest Prices for Art at Auction in July

A closer look at the top-selling lots, from Bacon to Brueghel.

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Christopher Wool,
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Francis Bacon, Study for Head of Lucian Freud, Christie's London
Francis Bacon, Study for Head of Lucian Freud. Medium: oil on canvas; Size: 14 x 12 in. / 35.5 x 30.5 cm.; Sale Of: Christie's London: Tuesday, July 1, 2014; Sold For: 11,506,500 GBP (19,726,555 US$) Premium.
Peter-Doig-Gasthof-2002-04-Christies-Images-Ltd-2014
Peter Doig, Gasthof. Medium: oil on canvas; Size: 108.1 x 78.7 in. / 274.5 x 200 cm.; Sale Of: Christie's London: Tuesday, July 1, 2014; Sold For: 9,938,500 GBP (17,038,402 US$) Premium.
Francesco Guardi, "Venice, the Bacino di San Marco, with the Piazzetta and the Doge's Palace" Christie's London
Francesco Guardi, Venice, the Bacino di San Marco, with the Piazzetta and the Doge's Palace sold at Christie's London this past July for $16.9 million. Photo: Courtesy Christie's Images Ltd.
George Stubbs, Tygers at play. Medium: oil on canvas; Size: 40 x 50 in. / 101.5 x 127 cm.; Sale Of: Sotheby's London: Wednesday, July 9, 2014; Sold For: 7,698,500 GBP (13,186,879 US$) Premium.
Jan Brueghel the Elder, The Garden of Eden with the fall of man, Sotheby's London
Jan Brueghel the Elder, The Garden of Eden with the fall of man. Medium: oil on copper; Size: 9.3 x 14.5 in. / 23.7 x 36.8 cm.; Sale Of: Sotheby's London: Wednesday, July 9, 2014; Sold For: 6,802,500 GBP (11,652,106 US$) Premium.
Andy Warhol, "Self-Portrait (Fright Wig)" Christie's London
Andy Warhol, Self-Portrait (Fright Wig). Medium: acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen; Size: 40 x 40 in. / 101.6 x 101.6 cm.; Sale Of: Christie's London: Tuesday, July 1, 2014; Sold For: 6,354,500 GBP (10,894,051 US$) Premium.
Christopher Wool, "Untitled" Christie's London
Christopher Wool, Untitled. Medium: enamel on aluminum; Size: 108 x 72 in. / 274.3 x 182.8 cm.; Sale Of: Christie's London: Tuesday, July 1, 2014; Sold For: 6,242,500 GBP (10,702,040 US$) Premium.
Johannes (van Delft) Vermeer, "Saint Praxedis"
Johannes (van Delft) Vermeer, Saint Praxedis. Medium: oil on canvas; Size: 40 x 32.3 in. / 101.6 x 82 cm.; Sale Of: Christie's London: Tuesday, July 8, 2014; Sold For: 6,242,500 GBP (10,691,042 US$) Premium.
Lucio Fontana, Concetto spaziale, Attese, Christie's London
Lucio Fontana, Concetto spaziale, Attese. Medium: waterpaint on canvas and lacquered wood frame; Size: 39.4 x 52.5 in. / 100 x 133.3 cm.; Sale Of: Christie's London: Tuesday, July 1, 2014; Sold For: 6,018,500 GBP (10,318,018 US$) Premium.
Giovanni da Rimini, Episodes from the lives of the Virgin and other saints. Medium: tempera on panel w/gold ground; Size: 20.7 x 13.5 in. / 52.5 x 34.3 cm.; Sale Of: Sotheby's London: Wednesday, July 9, 2014; Sold For: 5,682,500 GBP (9,733,641 US$) Premium.

The top 10 most expensive works of fine art sold at auction in July 2014 went for a total of over $130.8 million, according to the artnet Price Database. The list is a healthy mix of contemporary works like Peter Doig‘s Gasthof, alongside Andy Warhol‘s  Self-Portrait (Fright Wig), and Johannes Vermeer‘s Saint Praxedis.

It’s been a notably good summer for Doig—as you may recall, his Country-rock (wing-mirror) (1999) was featured prominently on last month’s price list, having hammered quickly at £7.5 million ($12,770,700) at Sotheby’s, while Gasthof came in at second place for this month’s sales.

The top lot from this month’s sales is Francis Bacon‘s Study for Head of Lucian Freudwhich sold at Christie’s London postwar and contemporary evening auction on July 1st. Coline Milliard, artnet News’ European Market editor in London, was in attendance and had this to say about the sale of the painting:

[Study for Head of Lucian Freud] had entered Roald Dahl’s collection in 1967, when Britain’s revered writer of children’s books bought the portrait of Bacon’s then-friend Freud at Marlborough Fine Art with the proceeds from his most famous work, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Despite the ongoing Bacon craze­­—which saw the artist’s Three Studies of Lucian Freud break all auction records when it sold for $142 million at Christie’s last November—the less spectacular Head 1 (1958) failed to find a buyer. It had been tagged with a pre-sale estimate of £2.5–3.5 million (roughly $4.3–6 million).

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