(Press Release) Christie’s set Art market history with its Post-War and Contemporary Art evening sale, which totalled $852,887,000, with strong sell-through rates of 97% by value and 94% by lot. The sale featured a range of superlative works from distinguished private collections and institutions, such as the Cy Twombly Foundation, the Linda Pace Foundation, The Bergman Collection, and the Lisa de Kooning Trust. The majority of the works offered have been featured in one or several museum exhibitions and almost half of them were completely new to the market. The sale established 11 new world auction records, selling 3 works for over $50 million, 23 for over $10 million and 69 for over $1 million. 38% of lots sold above the high estimate, and 43% of lots sold within the pre-sale estimate range. Two additional sales, the Day Sale, and an online-only auction will complete this week’s sales series.
At the zenith of the art market is Andy Warhol with several major works presented in the sale, including the highly anticipated Triple Elvis [Ferus Type], 1963 and Four Marlons, 1966. Sold by the German Westdeutsche Spielbanken GMBH & CO. KG. Triple Elvis [Ferus Type] and Four Marlons, achieved respectively a spectacular $81,925,000 (£51,612,750/ €65,540,000) and $69,605,000 (£43,851,150/ €55,684,000) after fierce bidding between eight telephone bidders and several persistent clients in the saleroom.
Achieving a world auction record for the artist at $30,405,000 (£19,155,150/ €24,324,000) after a 4-minute bidding battle between 4 collectors, Ed Ruscha’s Smash was an early example from the 1960s of one of the artist’s revolutionary word paintings, a body of work which established him as one of the most innovative and influential painters of his generation.
In the artist’s personal collection since its inception, Willem de Kooning’s Clamdigger was sold for $29,285,000 (£18,449,550/ €23,428,000) a world auction record price for a sculpture by the artist. This milestone in modern sculpture was sold by the artist’s three grand-daughters. Masterfully executed, Cy Twombly’s Untitled was presented on the market for the first time, having resided in the same private collection for the past 40 years. This work, from the famous series of Blackboard paintings made between 1966 and 1971, achieved $69,605,000 (£43,851,150/ €55,684,000), setting a new world auction record for the artist.
The contemporary selection of the sale saw exceptionally strong international demand for Untitled by Martin Kippenberger, which exceeded the artist’s record when it sold for $22,565,000 (£14,215,950/ €18,052,000). Staggeringly beautiful, Jeff Koons’s monumental sculpture Balloon Monkey (Orange) fetched $25,925,000 (£16,332,750 / €20,740,000). We saw strong international bidding on Gerhard Richter’s vibrant Abstraktes Bild (648-3) which sold for $31,525,000 (£19,860,750/ €25,220,000) while Abstraktes Bild (774-4) sold by the Linda Pace Foundation achieved $16,965,000 (£10,687,950/ €13,572,000). Proceeds from the sale of this work will be used to realize an arts campus in San Antonio, Texas, the home of the Foundation.