The Defining British Art Evening Sale, part of Christie’s 250th anniversary celebrations, realised £99,479,500, with 87% sold by lot and 83% sold by value. The range of exceptional works offered, many previously sold through Christie’s, provided a journey through three centuries of British art. The sale set seven world records, and continuing global demand was demonstrated by bidders from 32 countries across four continents.
The sale was led by Henry Moore’s 1951 sculpture Reclining Figure: Festival, which sold for £24,722,500, the highest price ever achieved for a work by the artist and a record for a British sculpture. Francis Bacons Version No. 2 of Lying Figure with Hypodermic Syringe, one of the great works from arguably the artists finest period, realised £20,242,500. View on the Stour Near Dedham, John Constable’s full-scale, six-foot sketch, sold for £14,082,500 – the second-highest price for a work by the artist at auction. An extraordinary early work by Bridget Riley, Untitled (Diagonal Curve), set an auction world record for the artist.