The Ferrari F2001 Michael Schumacher drove to victory in the 2001 Monaco Grand Prix was among the highlights of a contemporary art sale at Sotheby’s - yes, you read that correctly.
It realised $7.5m, a big increase on its $5.5m estimate.
Schumacher was at the peak of his form when he won the 2001 Monaco Grand Prix
While the racing history alone would probably have been enough to draw buyers in, Sotheby’s made the unusual decision to focus on the car’s aesthetic and cultural value.
The auction house describes it as “unequivocally the perfect car”, explaining: “The 2001 season was lauded by journalists and enthusiasts alike as the ‘golden era’ of grand prix racing...
“Stunning, aesthetically curious car bodies, molded in carbon fibre and space-age compounds, shaped in windtunnels and almost impossibly svelte – at once exhibiting the engineer’s precision and the artist’s imagination.”
As far as we’re aware, this is the first time a car has been offered in a fine art sale.
Clearly the gamble worked a treat.
It looks very likely that Sotheby’s (and the other major auction houses) will repeat this formula in future art sales.
We have this signed photograph of racing driver Sebastian Vettel for sale.
The rest of the sale featured work from other major contemporary artists, including Francis Bacon – whose Three Studies of George Dyer made $38.6m.
But it was overshadowed by the monumental $450.3m sale of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi at Christie’s on Wednesday.
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