The overall hammer total from the Frieze week auctions was £197m (including the Post-War and Contemporary Italian art sales which are held concurrently). This was the highest sum ever generated by an October series and above the £112m seen for the equivalent sales last year.
Christie's held an additional evening sale - a special 44-lot auction of works from the Essl Museum in Austria which were being sold to secure the future of the privately owned collection located just outside Vienna. This contributed an additional £40.1m to the week's figures.
As ever during Frieze week, the question on a lot of people's minds was 'What's new?' and the auctions yet again produced a series of eye-catching prices for lesser known but 'up-and-coming' names like the Danish Vietnamese-born artist Danh Vo (b.1975) whose auction record was broken first at Phillips when the copper installation We The People (detail) took £170,000, and then again at Sotheby's two nights later when a work made of gold leaf on cardboard box entitled Numbers (9) fetched £260,000.
New Phillips Saleroom
Also something new and notable this year was the inaugural sale held at Phillips' Berkeley Square saleroom when their Contemporary art evening sale took place on October 15. The large and gleaming new auction space had skyboxes fitted aloft with obscured glazing and was generally well received by the lively crowd that turned out on a rainy night in Mayfair.
Although the £12.4m hammer total was below the £15.5m-22.2m presale estimate, the auctioneers reported that they received over 1000 visitors per day for their viewings and almost a third of the bidders at the evening sale were new to Phillips.
The top lot of the sale was a large untitled acrylic on aluminium by Christopher Wool (b.1955) which sold on low estimate at £1.8m to a telephone bidder (it had been guaranteed by either the saleroom or a third party meaning it was bound to sell on the night).
However, better bidding came for an unusual metal and glass installation by Banksy (b.1975) that overshot a £300,000-500,000 estimate and was knocked down at £600,000 again on the telephone, and also for an acrylic on canvas by another up-and-coming artist Tauba Auerbach (b.1981) which took a record £950,000.
White hot at Sotheby's
The top lot at Sotheby's Frieze week auctions came at their Italian sale on October 17 and gave a literal sense to the term 'white hot demand'.
An example of Piero Manzoni's (1933-63) Achrome works from 1958-9, a 3ft 7in x 4ft 11in (1.1 x 1.5m) kaolin on pleated canvas which was deemed to be the very apogee of the Zero movement - the group of conceptual artists who focused on monochrome pieces and simplicity of design. This was one of only nine pieces executed by Manzoni in these proportions and, estimated at £5m-7m, it drew multiple interest before it was knocked down at a record £11.2m, selling to a European private buyer.
The price was the highest seen across the Frieze week auctions.
The sale's take up rate was impressive as 48 of 49 got away and the £35.5m hammer total was the highest ever for a 20th century Italian Art sale.