Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Evening Auction Takes $68.6 Million

Christie’s London Post-War and Contemporary Evening Auction realised £45,640,200 /$68,642,861/ €56,091,806, selling 84% by lot and 85% by value.

“We curated this sale very carefully, offering a diverse range of works that were exciting and fresh, had great energy, and were of excellent quality. As a result, the market responded with real enthusiasm” said Francis Outred, Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s Europe. “The signature work in the sale was arguably Mappa by Boetti; it acted as a symbol as a global audience competed for international artists and achieved £1.8 million, double its low estimate. Younger artists shone alongside the established names and the results demonstrate a continued desire to acquire Post-War and Contemporary Art.”

The top price was paid for Silver Liz, 1963, by Andy Warhol (1928-1987), one of only two paintings by the artist to depict the celebrated actress and Hollywood icon with her legendary violet eyes. It sold to an anonymous bidder for £6,762,150 / $10,168,920/€3,354,248. Further highlights of the evening included Loopy, 1999, by Jeff Koons (b. 1955), showing childhood motifs from the artist’s Easyfun series, which sold for £3,401,250/$5,115,480/€4,180,136 (estimate: £2.5 million to £3.5 million), a record for a painting by the artist.

Mappa, 1989, by Alighiero Boetti (1940-1994), an exceptional work of art from the celebrated series by the artist which predicted the power of globalization, sold for a new auction record for the artist at £1,833,250 $2,757,208/ € 2,253,064 (estimate: £900,000-1,200,000).

Roy Lichtenstein’s Collage for Nude with Red Shirt sold above the pre-sale estimate of £600,000-800,000 for £2,729,250/$4,104,792/€3,354,248. The work really excited the audience and bidders took it to a new record price for a work on paper by the artist.

Works by younger generation artists also performed well including US World Studies II by Jules de Balincourt (b. 1972) which opened the sale and quickly sold for a world auction record price of £277,250 /$416,984/€340,740 (estimate: £40,000-60,000).

A group of works by the YBAs (Young British Artists), all offered from different vendors, included three works exhibited at the Sensation exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1997. Highlights included Glenn Brown’s (b.1966) Dalí-Christ (after ‘Soft Construction with Boiled Beans: Premonition of Civil War’ 1936 by Salvador Dalí) By kind permission of the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation, Spain, an iconic work of Young British Art which sold for a new auction record of £1,441,250 /$2,167,640/€1,771,296 (estimate: £700,000 to £1 million); Jake and Dinos Chapman’s (b.1966 and 1962) Übermensch, which has been exhibited throughout the world at most of the major surveys of this groundbreaking movement, sold for a record £241,250/$362,840/€296,496 (estimate: £250,000-350,000); and Orgena, 1998, by Chris Ofili (b.1968), a glorious celebration of African Womanhood bathed in rich golden glitter and droplets of paint in a rainbow of colours, which also realised an auction record of £1,889,250/$2,841,432/€2,321,888 (estimate: £700,000-1,000,000).

Azulejões-Cacho & Arabesco Dormindo (Tiles-Bunch and Sleeping Arabesque) by Adriana Varejão (b.1964) was the first of the artist’s works to be offered at a Post-War and Contemporary Evening auction. It realised £169,250/$254,250/€208,008 against a pre-sale estimate of £70,000-100,000.

Artist records were established this evening for Jules de Balincourt; Alighiero Boetti; Glenn Brown; Chapman Brothers; Chris Ofili, a painting by Jeff Koons and a work on paper by Roy Lichtenstein.

Buyer breakdown (by lot / by origin) were 58% Europe with UK, 30% Americas and 4% Asia, 5% Other. The Post-War and Contemporary Art day sale continues tomorrow morning at Christie’s King Street.