For one week this March, Sotheby’s galleries in New Bond Street hosted Bear Witness, an extraordinary collection of contemporary art and curious artefacts. Open to all and with estimates ranging from £20 to £2 million, Bear Witness will enthral everyone from established collectors to the culturally curious.
The sale of one of the most extraordinary collections of our time, led by titans of Contemporary Art such as Warhol, Fontana, Rothko and Richter, concluded with a total of £36,124,636, exceeding all pre-sale expectations. Following a week-long exhibition which drew a record 7,600 visitors to Sotheby’s New Bond Street galleries, over 1,000 collectors participated in the three days of sales. Alongside countless bear and skull-themed artefacts, curiosities and objets d’art, the Bear Witness collection included 284 works of Contemporary Art, which together realised £34,567,188.
“We’ve seen a bullish market for bears, while the market for skulls is alive and kicking. This was a collection unlike any other offered before, a modern day Wunderkammer, featuring everything from Rothko and Rembrandt Bugatti to crystal skulls and Coca-Cola. Almost every department in Sotheby’s was represented, and in every category we saw remarkable results, with all three sales surpassing their high estimate.” – Alex Branczik, Head of Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s London