AO Auction Results – New York: Christie’s Evening Sale of the Collection of Barney Ebsworth, November 13th, 2018

November 13th, 2018

Edward Hopper, Chop Suey (1929), via Christie's
Edward Hopper, Chop Suey (1929), Final Price: $95,937,500, via Christie’s

Following an unsteady outing this past Sunday, Christie’s has turned on a dime with this evening’s special sale of works from the collection of Barney Ebsworth, capping off a 42-lot sale with a strong final result of $317,801,250, leaving only a few works unsold (5 of 42 lots) and a number of major world auction records left broken (at least 10 records in total before the sale reached its conclusion).

Jackson Pollock, $55,437,500
Jackson Pollock, Composition with Red Strokes (1950), Final Price: $55,437,500, via Christie’s

The pacing was sprightly over the course of the evening, with works hammering quickly or quick bids forcing a relatively speedy resolution on many works. A Georgia O’Keefe opened the sale below estimate for a final of $612,500, but was followed close behind by the first major test of the evening with Arshile Gorky’s Good Afternoon, Mrs. Lincoln, which bound to estimate to finish at a final of $14,037,500, a new record for the artist.  An Alexander Calder also topped estimate at $8,412,500, before another major auction record was reset, with a Willem de Kooning topping its prior $66 million high to reach $68,937,500, before the sale arrived at its climax, the rare Edward Hopper painting Chop Suey.  The piece offered no disappointment, rocketing past expectations to sell at an exceptional final price of $95,937,500.

Willem de Kooning, Woman as Landscape (1954-1955), via Christie's
Willem de Kooning, Woman as Landscape (1954-1955), Final Price: $68,937,500, via Christie’s

Following this first burst of activity, the sale tapered off in energy, a string of lower priced works reaching estimate or selling above with little prolonged bidding.  It was broken up at lot 17 however, where the sale’s last major highlight, a Jackson Pollock, saw stagnating bids as it sold for its low estimate, reaching a final of $55,437,500 that placed it just shy of an auction record for the artist.  A Jasper Johns work also finished strong and within estimate to a final of $21,125,000, before another string of lower priced works and passes drew the sale quickly to its conclusion.

Sales turn tomorrow night towards the main Post-War and Contemporary Sales.

Arshile Gorky, Good Afternoon, Mrs. Lincoln (1944), Final Price $14,037,500, via Christie's
Arshile Gorky, Good Afternoon, Mrs. Lincoln (1944), Final Price: $14,037,500, via Christie’s

— D. Creahan

Read more:
An American Place | The Barney A. Ebsworth Collection Evening Sale [Christie's]