A Damien Hirst painting of four skulls that was tipped to fetch at least $3 million at Phillips de Pury & Co.'s New York auction didn't sell, the biggest upset of Thursday night's auction that missed presale low estimates by more than half.
It was the third sale this week to disappoint art dealers and may herald a decline that tracks the drop in stock markets.
Phillips took $9.6 million with fees, against its presale low projection of $23 million. A comparable sale a year ago fetched $42.3 million.
Phillips' sale followed two lackluster contemporary-art auctions by larger rivals Sotheby's and Christie's International this week.