The results of Christie‘s Post-War and Contemporary Art auction in London last night are a relief after this week’s lackluster Sotheby‘s auction and the let-down at Phillips de Pury & Co. on Thursday. The sale earned £45,640,200 against the pre-sale estimate of £40.9-58.1 million for 63 lots, selling 84% by lot and 85% by value (totals realized include buyer’s premium, estimates do not). The combination of higher-quality works, lower starting prices, and a greater variety of material presented is thought to have contributed to the success of the sale, even amidst a drop in the stock market.
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The most anticipated lot, Andy Warhol‘s Silver Liz, sold to an anonymous bidder for £6,761,250, within its pre-sale estimate of £6,000,000 – £8,000,000. However, several lots managed to shoot past their pre-sale estimates.
After another work by the artist failed to sell at the Phillips auction on Thursday night, Roy Lichtenstein‘s Collage for Nude with Red Shirt flew past its high estimate of £800,000, realizing £2,729,250.
A work by Brooklyn-based artist Jules de Balincourt also realized a price well beyond its high estimate of £60,000, selling for £277,250 and setting a record for a work by the artist at auction.
Balincourt’s painting seems at least in part derived from the work of another artist represented amongst the works for sale at Christie’s. The artist record for a tapestry by Alighiero Boetti set at Sotheby’s on Monday night with the sale of Mappa for £881,250 was shattered just days later at Christie’s with the sale of another work from the Mappe series that sold for £1,833,250.
Yet another artist record was set with the sale of Jeff Koons‘ painting, Loopy, to the artist’s dealer, Larry Gagosian, for £3,401,250. In 2007 Gagosian set the record at the time for the most expensive piece by a living artist ever auctioned by buying Koons’ Hanging Heart sculpture for $23.6 million at Sotheby’s New York.
Both of Alexander Calder‘s mobiles sold to London art dealer Ezra Nahmad, who paid £1,441,250 for Two Fish Tails and £1,385,250 for Black and Yellow Dots in the Air.
The Christie’s auction was a happy ending to the week’s Contemporary Art auctions in London. The biggest of all three major sales, only 10 lots failed to sell. This year’s auction was a success especially compared to the equivalent sale last year, which realized £19.1 million for 41 lots estimated to bring £17.4-24 million. The hope now is that the trend continues and that sales continue to get bigger and better.
Christie’s London Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction [Christies.com]
Warhol Sells, Koons Painting Sets Record in $68.2 Million Sale [Bloomberg.com]
Post-War and Contemporary Evening Auction at Christie’s in London Realises $68.6 Million [Artdaily.org]
With Liz Vamping for $10 Million, Christie’s Takes the Crown of London Auction Week [Artinfo.com]
Novelty Sets Cheerful Tone for Christie’s Contemporary Auction [Nytimes.com]