The market has a new world auction record after Christie’s monumental sale last night in New York, an $852.9 million benchmark that saw 92% of the works find buyers, and 69 of the 75 works on sale exceed $1 million in its final sales total. Capitalizing on a remarkably strong selection of works and an eager buying pool, the auction saw a number of impressive figures reached, as well as several artist records fall.
The auction was defined by the sale of a pair of Andy Warhol prints from the pinnacle of the artist’s career, portraits of Elvis and Marlon Brando that carried early hints that both works might achieve upwards of $70 million. Four Marlons saw strong bidding, falling just shy of the estimate at $69,605,000, while Triple Elvis [Ferrus Type] was the star lot of the evening, surging well beyond its companion to bring in $81,925,000. Both went to unidentified phone bidders. Another leading lot came much later, as Francis Bacon’s Seated Figure brought in a final price of $44,965,000.
Sales also saw new auction records for a number of artists. An untitled Cy Twombly from 1970 was one of the standout lots from the sale, flying past the $50 million high estimate to set an impressive new auction record for the artist, as multiple bids pushed the piece up to a final price of $69,605,00. Peter Doig, who has hinted all year at claiming the auction record for a living British artist, finally took home the distinction, as his work Pine House (Rooms for Rent) sold for the final price of $18,085,000, setting both a personal best and a new benchmark for his fellow countrymen. Ed Ruscha also has a new auction record courtesy of Larry Gagosian, who placed the winning bid of $30,405,000 on the artist’s 1963 canvas Smash. The sale obliterated Ruscha’s previous record for a gas station painting of $6,985,000.
Other works also commanded healthy final prices. Roy Lichtenstein’s Reflections on the Prom, a late work, sold for $21,445,000, while a Gerhard Richter Abstraktes Bild topped out just above estimate at $31,525,000. A Jeff Koons Balloon Monkey was also one of the auction’s strongest lots, bringing in $25,925,000.
The sales will conclude tonight at Phillips.
— D. Creahan
Christie’s Latest Blockbuster Edges Closer to the $1B Mark [Art Info]
Warhol’s paintings of Elvis, Brando help Christie’s set a new auction record [Fortune]
A Warhol Leads a Night of Soaring Prices at Christie’s [NYT]
Christie’s Contemporary Art Sale News $852.9 M., All-Time Auction Record [Art News]