Saturday, May 14, 2011
After the recent financial crisis that also affected the art market, the major auction houses have assisted since the recovery to continuous records. A sign that high-end and insightful art collectors continue to have the means to acquire valuable artworks and believe that art will continue to be a good investment allied to an aesthetical value.
The recent evidence is Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale, which took place in New York on the 11th of May and realized $301,683,630 (£184,026,630/€211,178,100), with 95% sold by lot and 99% sold by value.
In this sale, where only three of the 65 works on offer failed to sell, a total of seven new world auction records were established.
Cy Twombly, whose Untitled from 1967 realized $15,202,500; contemporary artist, Urs Fischer, whose Untitled (Lamp/Bear), realized $6,802,500 – six times the artist’s previous world auction record; Richard Diebenkorn, for Ocean Park #121, from 1980 which brought in $7,698,500; Anselm Kiefer, whose Dem Unbekannten Maler (To the Unknown Painter) from 1983 realized $3,554,500.
The sale of Cindy Sherman’s Untitled color coupler print from her 1981 Centerfold series was not only a world auction record for Sherman, but represents a new world auction record for any photograph, thus setting two world auction records for the same work.
But the highlight of this evening sale was Andy Warhol's Self-Portrait, an acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas, in four parts overall: 40 x 32 in. (101.6 x 81.3 cm.) that the Pop artist completed between 1963 and 1964 and was bought for $38,442,500 (buyer's premium included), establishing a new world record for a portrait by the artist.
Acclaimed in every Warhol monograph and exhibition catalogue as his first seminal self-portrait, it was part of the Barron Family collection and was sold be Florence Barron who had commissioned the work for $1,600 nearly half a century ago, making payments on an installment plan.
All eight works by Warhol offered at auction were sold for a combined total of $90,988,000, including another self-portrait, a synthetic polymer and silkscreen ink on canvas 106¾ x 106½ in. (271.2 x 270.5 cm.) painted in 1986, previously belonging to Anthony d'Offay, London.
Another relevant result for Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale (sale 2440 of May 11, 2011) was Mark Rothko's Abstract Expressionist masterpiece from 1961, Untitled #17, having achieved $33,682,500.
Buyers (by lot / by origin) were 61% American, 23% European, 3% Asian and 13% other.