London – AO Auction Recap: Christie’s Contemporary Evening Sale, July 1st, 2014

July 2nd, 2014

Tracey Emin, My Bed, via Christie's
Tracey Emin, My Bed, via Christie’s

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
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.  

Peter Doig, Gasthof, via Christie's
Peter Doig, Gasthof, via Christie’s

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.

Francis Bacon, Study for Portrait of Lucian Freud, via Christie's
Francis Bacon, Study for Portrait of Lucian Freud, via Christie’s

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.

Roy Lichtenstein, Mirror #8, via Christie's
Roy Lichtenstein, Mirror #8, via Christie’s

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.

Gerhard Richter, Abstrakte Bilder, via Christie's
Gerhard Richter, Abstrakte Bilder, via Christie’s

— D. Creahan

Read more:
Christie’s Contemporary Evening Sale [Christie’s]
A Brawny Market Lifts Sales at Christie’s [Art Info]