Christie’s Contemporary Art Sale Brings in $852.9 Million, All-Time Auction Record – ARTnews.com
Tonight, Christie’s snagged the highest total ever for an auction, at its New York Contemporary sale, totaling $852.9 million from 75 lots. That figure topped the sale’s staggering estimate of $630 million to $836 million, and more than doubled the $343.7 million that rival Sotheby’s fetched at its fine art auction. contemporary last night. The previous record for an auction was $745 million, which was broken in May at Christie’s Contemporary Art auction in the same hall.
The sale saw new artist records for 11 artists, including Cy Twombly, Ed Ruscha, Peter Doig, Martin Kippenberger, Sturtevant and Seth Price. Seventy-five of the eighty lots on offer found takers, for an impressive 94% sale rate per lot.
Although estimated to be around $60 million, the first two lots of the evening were not bets, as they both carried guarantees (meaning they were slightly pre-sold at home to deep pockets) and featured gruff celebrities.
by Andy Warhol Triple Elvis [Ferus Type] (1960) and Four Marlon (1966) initially sold Lots 9 and 10, for $81.9 million and $69.6 million, respectively. By the time the second number was hit, the crowd – whether in shock from the action or no longer able to be surprised or just plain more in awe of anything below 80 million dollars – forgot to clap.
Each of these lots saw three bidders, but the third highest lot of the evening, Cy Twombly’s record-breaking untitled work from 1970, had many more, with four past the $50 million mark and the first offerings from dealers David Zwirner and David Nahmad and Hong Kong Art Advisor Bong Lee.
“Whoaaa,” someone in the audience said after the chart topped $60 million.
“Who said that?” chuckled auctioneer Jussi Pylkkanen, looking in the direction of awe. He then returned to the room, jaded. “Welcome to Christie’s.”
The painting was eventually sold to a telephone bidder for $69.6 million, easily breaking a record of $21.7 million set a year ago at Sotheby’s by the artist’s 24-part drawing suite. . poems by the sea (1959), which was being disposed of by the Dia Art Foundation. Dealer Harry Blain said after the sale that “the encouraging thing was to see the depth of interest” in the Twombly.
“It’s a better example of Twombly than the Warhols were examples of Warhol,” he said.
To say it was a hot room would be an understatement.
[1945byArchieGorky[1945d’ArchileGorkiChildren’s companions, which set a new record for the artist, is a horizontal painting but came out on the revolving display near the vertically hung rostrum. Never mind – $8.9 million! The previous record for a Gorky, set two years ago at Sotheby’s New York, was $6.8 million, according to Artnet.
(Only one of the five lots that failed to sell could be called a major failure, that of Roy Lichtenstein keds (1961), which stalled at $19 million. It had been estimated to sell in the region of $20 million.)
It was also a night for some developing markets. Seth Price vintage bomber jacket (2006) opened the sale with a bang, selling for $785,000, beating its high estimate by a factor of more than 10. It also broke its previous record, set in May 2012 at Sotheby’s, of $158,500.
“Well, it was a gold jacket. How could people stay away from it? said artistic adviser Stefano Basilico after the sale, referring to the popularity of the series. “I think we’re going to start to see a lot of jackets coming out at auction from now on.”
Advisor Amy Cappellazzo, formerly Christie’s international post-war and contemporary development chair, bought a work by artist Gutai Kazuo Shiraga, whose market has been growing lately, for $4.87 million.
Other winners familiar to the room include Pace Gallery’s Marc Glimcher, who paid $29.3 million for Willem de Kooning. Clamdigger (1972), a statue that once greeted visitors to the artist’s studio on Long Island, and Larry Gagosian, who purchased a Bruce Nauman, William T. Wiley or Ray Johnson Trap (1967), for $665,000 and a record-breaking Ed Ruscha, smash (1963), for $30.4 million. The previous record for a Ruscha at auction was the $6.99 million paid for a Burning gas station (1965-1966) in the same saleroom seven years ago.
Gagosian also bid up to $650,000 on another lot from Nauman, Device for holding a box at a slight angle (1966), then asked Pylkkanen who was bidding at the front of the room, and decided not to go any further after Pylkkanen explained to him that he couldn’t tell him. The work ultimately sold for $1.57 million, nearly double its high estimate of $800,000.
But the evening was mostly made up of people buying for themselves, said Brett Gorvy, president of Christie’s and international head of post-war and contemporary art, during the press conference after the sale, putting the focus on the approximately 500 bidders from 43 different countries. He said new buyers have been aided by recent “outreach” efforts in Shanghai, Hong Kong and the Middle East.
“Tonight was a collect-buy pool, rather than dealers,” he said.
Contemporary sales for the week end tomorrow night at Phillips.
Other works from the sale follow below.
Corrected 11/13: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the number of lots sold and offered, in one place.