Marking the first of the week’s trio of Contemporary and Post-War Auctions in London this week, Christie’s has capped a 35-lot offering to a final of $45,346,950, a strong figure that saw only three works go unsold with ample interest from buyers to keep the evening moving quickly and relatively smoothly. The sale marks something of a snap back into form for the auction house following a dire struggle last week during its Impressionist/Modern offering, and seemed to signal emerging blue-chip markets for several younger artists.
The sale jumped off to a rousing start with a Tschabalala Self work rocketing out of the gate, with multiple bidders pushing the work well past its £60 high estimate to settle at a final of £371,250, and a new auction record for the young artist. A Philip Guston also performed well, reaching estimate to sell at a final of £1,391,250 before the first of the evening’s prized lots, a lush red Basquiat sold to expectations, hammering to a final of £8,378,250 with fees. The following lot saw a second record price set, as Kara Walker’s Four Idioms on Negro Art #4 just topped estimate and sold to a strong £395,250.
The sale would continue in its procedural fashion with a Cecily Brown just beating estimate (£1,571,250), while a George Condo topped out at its high estimate, selling to a final of £1,991,250. Just a few lots later, the sale’s cover lot, a Jean Dubuffet sold with little fanfare, reaching its expected price and hammering to a final of £8,718,750. Just a few minutes later, a Francis Bacon also topped the sale’s list of high-achieving works, selling at estimate for £5,109,450 final. The sale rounded out its strong outing with a last record, Derek Boshier’s Man Versus Look, which achieved a steady £237,500.
Sales continue tomorrow at Sotheby’s.
— D. Creahan
Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Evening Sale [Christie's]