The sales have ended on Christie’s Contemporary Evening Auction in London, following a lengthy 75-lot sale that brought in a final sales tally of $170,537,894. The evening was marked by moderates sales on most lots, often falling within sales estimates, with a few surprises scattered throughout the evening’s offerings.
Andy Warhol, Self-Portrait, via Christie’s
As expected, Tracey Emin’s My Bed was a major auction record achievement, doubling its estimate to reach a final sales tally of $4,336,689. Baer Faxt has Jay Jopling as the buyer, keeping the work in the United Kingdom as some had hoped. Bidding jumped to a quick start on the work, and the final sales price drew enthusiastic applause from the room as Emin smashed her previous auction record. A mirror work by Michelangelo Pistoletto, Amanti (Lovers) also set a new record for the artist at auction, beating its estimate to settle at $3,955,217, as did Hurvin Anderson, whose Afrosheen pulled in a final sales figure of $2,238,593, and Jean Dubuffet, who tallied a $6.8 million final sale for his 1963 work Le Gai Savoir.
Also of note was Peter Doig’s Gasthof, a painting that had attracted little attention in the auction week run-up, but handily broke the artist’s sales record, which had just been set the previous night at Sotheby’s. Bidding jumped off to an enthusiastic start on the Scottish-Canadian artist, and swiftly landed at a $16,925,265 final sales price, purchased by the Ofer Family, according to Baer Faxt.
It wasn’t such a momentous night for established auction mainstays, however. Francis Bacon works on sale saw mixed results on the auction block, as the evening cover lot achieved a $19,595,568 final price, living up to its anticipated sales figures, but another Bacon portrait failed to attract a buyer, and went unsold. An Andy Warhol self-portrait also saw a staid, albeit weighty price tag, finishing at $10.8 million, just above its $10.2 low estimate. A Roy Lichtenstein mirror, however, did manage to attract healthy interest, and doubled its estimated price, bringing in $3,383,009.
Other notable passes included a Gerhard Richter four-panel Abstraktes work (est. $6,812,000 – $10,218,000), as well as a red slit canvas work by Lucio Fontana (est. $4,257,500 – $5,960,500), both of which seemed to fail due to a high estimate and lack of enthusiasm from buyers.
The sales will conclude tomorrow night with a short Phillips sale, bringing the spring art season to a close.
— D. Creahan