Thu, Nov 13, 2014

Art & Auctions
Whopping $853m art sale sets a new world record

A Christie’s art sale held yesterday in the US fetched $852.88 million, setting what is said to be a world record for a single auction.

The Post-War and Contemporary Art eveningsale in New York saw the auction house offer an impressive line-up of 80 works in total, with Andy Warhol’s Tripe Elvis painting selling for nearly $82 million.

Bidders from around the world competed for an array of abstract expressionist, pop and contemporary works from some of the century’s most inspiring and influential artists, including Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Willem de Kooning, Martin Kippenberger, Cy Twombly, and Jeff Koons. 

“This was a sale of extraordinary quality and range, with every major artist represented by at least one masterwork,”said Brett Gorvy, Chairman and International Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art. “The landmark sale result achieved tonight is a reflection of both growing global enthusiasm and demand in this category and a virtuous cycle of confidence in the art market that brings a fresh supply of exciting, high-quality works into the market with each new season.”

Christie’s Chief Executive Officer Steven Murphy stated: “This is truly a moment in art history. The result is a testimony to the depth of interest in art across the globe, and to the talent of the Christie’s team. This sale may have produced an eye catching number, but record museum attendance and record art sales at Christie’s on every continent in all areas and price levels proves that enjoying works of art has become a universal pursuit in our time.” 

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 thee works for over $50 million, 23 for over $10 million and 69 for over $1 million. Thirty-eight per cent of lots sold above the high estimate, and 43 per cent 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. 


Andy Warhol’s highly anticipated Triple Elvis [Ferus type, 1963)andFour Marlons (1966) achieved a spectacular $81.92 million and $69.60 millionrespectively after fierce bidding between eight telephone bidders and several persistent clients in the saleroom. 

Achieving a world auction record for the artist at $30.40 million after a four-minute bidding battle between four 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 $29.28 milliona 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 $69.60 million, setting a new world auction record for the artist.


The contemporary selection exceptionally strong international demand for Untitledby Martin Kippenberger, whichexceeded the artist’s record when it sold for $22.56 million.

Staggeringly beautiful, Jeff Koons’smonumental sculpture Balloon Monkey (Orange) fetched $25.92 million

Christie’s saw strong international bidding on Gerhard Richter’s vibrant Abstraktes Bild (648-3) which sold for $31.52million while Abstraktes Bild (774-4) sold by the Linda Pace Foundation achieved $16.96 million.


The 21 works from Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills,carefully selected and acquired by the renowned curator and collector Ydessa Hendeles, sold for $6.77 million, the highest price for the artist at auction.


Christie’s was also honored to present a few works from the Cy Twombly Foundation, acquired by Twombly in the 1960s. This extraordinary group of works by Lichtenstein, Nauman, and Warhol, represented one of the most creative and rich periods in Post-War American art, which emerged in the 1960s.

The haunting and powerful Electric Chair achieved $6.045 million while the beautiful black and white Roy LichtensteinHot Dog and 10¢ flew above their estimates at $4.42 million and $2.74 million respectively.

Five works by Joseph Cornell from the Bergman Collection, led by Cockatoo and Watches Aviary, sold for $4.75 million,which was made circa 1948 – 50, and was the cover of the catalogue published on the occasion of the artist’s retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1981.

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