Christies Evening Sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art Totals $325 Million

. November 15, 2007

AuctionPublicity.com – Christie’s Evening Sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art totaled $325,006,000 this evening, the second highest ever for a sale in the field. Sixteen new world auction records were set including for artists such as Jeff Koons, Lucian Freud, Ed Ruscha, Richard Prince and Gerhard Richter. The sale was 94% sold by value and 93% by lot. Buyers were 51% American, 26% European, 7% Asian and 16% others.

“Tonight’s auction surpassed all of our expectations. It was a robust, sophisticated and well-edited auction, which established multiple records for the most significant artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. The sale realized the second highest total ever for the field and it provided excitement, awe and energy,” said Marc Porter, President Christie’s Americas. “In a market as watchful and alert as today’s, this sale was a clear and resounding vote of confidence of a deep and global client base, which is willing to spend millions of dollars on great works of art.”

Mark Rothko’s superbly magical and reflective work never fails to stun one in its serene but almost tangible power. Untitled (Red Blue Orange) realized $34,201,000, second only to the Rockefeller Rothko which sold for $72 million in May of this year, and No.7 (Dark Over Light), 1954 fetched $21,041,000. Both derive from Rothko’s classic period and they reflect the artist’s spare but emotive vocabulary of luminous rectangles stacked and set afloat within a radiantly hued ground. Untitled (Black and Gray), 1969, part of his final series of works went for $10,681,000 and the verdant Green, Blue, Green on Blue realized $6,089,000 and set a world auction record for a work on paper by the artist.

At the zenith of the art market lives Andy Warhol and two major works were presented in the sale. Coolly sexy and stunningly beautiful, Liz, part of the series of portraits Warhol executed in the 1960s, realized $23,561,000. Elvis 2 Times, one of the celebrated pictures of “the King” that Warhol executed in his Firehouse studio in 1963 and based on a publicity image for the movie, Flaming Star, was acquired for $15,721,000.

Lucian Freud’s Ib and Her Husband, a deadly honest and deeply intriguing portrait of Freud’s daughter Isobel and her partner realized $19,361,000 and set a new record for the artist. Dating from 1992, Ib and her Husband, a work that has been included in several major exhibitions since it was painted, is another splendid example of the intricate father-daughter artistic relationship. This new record set in New York proves a truly global market for a School of London artist.

An iconic Photo-Painting from the earliest phase of Richter’s career, Düsenjäger, part of a rare group of works depicting military aircrafts, most of which reside in museum collections, fetched $11,241,000, setting a new record for Richter at auction. It is one of the largest and rarest of the artist’s monumental depictions of a single fighter jet in motion. The work was offered by well-known Chicago collectors Lewis and Susan Manilow.

Untitled XXIII is a prime example of de Kooning’s oeuvre after his ‘renaissance’ of the mid-1970s when a sudden bout of energy and renewed force drove and inspired him to take up painting again. Once again, the artist found himself reveling in the act of painting as a joyous and deeply sensual experience and these works form the culmination of much that he had attempted in the past but never resolved. The painting realized $19,921,000.

Dazzling, magnificent, and staggeringly beautiful, Jeff Koons’s Diamond (Blue), 1994-2005 from the famed Celebration series which the artist commenced in 1994 became Koons’s most expensive work sold at auction at $11,801,000, doubling the previous record for Koons at auction.

Chinese contemporary art continued to rise. The center piece, Zhang Xiaogang’s Bloodline Series: Mother with Three Sons (The Family Portrait), painted in 1993 realized $3,961,000, a new record for Xiaogang at auction while Cai Guo-Qiang’s Tiger and Eagle went for $601,000 and Zeng Fanzhi’s Mask Series 1995 No. 26, 1995 totaled $1,385,000.

Other highlights included two major works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (Black Figure) ($9,897,000)and Sugar Ray Robinson ($7,321,000) as well as Burning Gas Station by Ed Ruscha, 1965-66, which set a new record for Ruscha at auction at $6,985,000 and Richard Prince’s Piney Woods Nurse, 2002 which set a world auction record for the artist at $6,089,000.

The sales will continue tomorrow with Morning and Afternoon Sessions of Post-War and Contemporary Art.

About Christie’s
Christie’s is the world’s leading art business with global auction sales in 2006 that totalled £2.51 billion / $4.67 billion. Worldwide sales for the first half of 2007 totalled £1.63 billion / $3.25 billion, an increase of 32% by £ and 45% by $ from the same period last year and highest half year sales ever in art market history. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service, and international glamour. Founded in 1766 by James Christie, Christie’s conducted the greatest auctions of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, and today remains a popular showcase for the unique and the beautiful. Christie’s offers over 600 sales annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $80 million. Christie’s has 85 offices in 43 countries and 14 salerooms around the world including London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Tel Aviv, Dubai and Hong Kong. Most recently, Christie’s has led the market with expanded initiatives in emerging markets such as China, India and the United Arab Emirates, with successful sales and exhibitions in Beijing, Dubai, Mumbai and Russia. Christie’s also offers its clients worldwide access to its sales through Christie’s LIVEâ„¢, its unique, real-time online bidding service.

Category: Auction News

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