May 14th, 2008

The Scene at Christie’s via WSJ

Last night’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale at Christie’s brought in a total of $348.3 million, close to the top of their pre-sale range. “The very important went very high,” said fashion designer and collector Valentino Garavani.  Only 3 of the 57 lots in the auction did not sell and more than a third exceeded their estimated sale prices.

Freud’s Fat Sue Sells for $33.6 Million in New York [Bloomberg]
U.S. Buyers Drive Christie’s $350 Million Modern Art Sale [NYTimes]
Friends Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud on top of world art market [Times Online]
Eight Records at Christie’s [NYSun]
Last Night’s Sale Brings in $348 million [Conde Nast Portfolio]
Bidding Strong at Christie’s Postwar and Contemporary Art Sale [NYTimes] 
Impressionist, postwar and contemporary artworks auctions could reach $1.8bn [Financial Times] 
Record Sale for Piece by Living Artist Shattered by Freud [National] 

Lucian Freud Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, 1995 via WSJ

A record-setting 1995 Lucian Freud painting, Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, was the highest priced artwork for a living artist at auction, selling for $33.6 million. The top lot was Mark Rothko’s red and yellow No. 15 from 1952, fetching $50.4 million, $10 million above its estimate. Others include a Francis Bacon painting that sold for $28 million, a “double” painting of Marlon Brando by Warhol for $32.5, and an “Abstraktes” Gerhard Richer for $14.6 million.

Francis Bacon Three Studies for Self-Portrait, 1976 via WSJ

The night’s success confirmed the current strength in the art market despite the weakness in others and continued the trend of last week’s Impressionist and Modern Art sales. Tonight, Sotheby’s hopes for the same results at their Contemporary Art sale with a Francis Bacon triptych expected to take in an estimated $70 million.