What is First Open?
Launching over 10 years ago, Christie’s First Open auctions now span the globe and bring together some of the world’s most sought-after art at accessible price points. This year, for the first time, the auction series comprises multiple categories including Post-War and Contemporary Art, Prints, Photographs and Design.
First Open owes its name to the fact that the auctions ‘open’ the new season of sales for Post-War & Contemporary Art at Christie’s. First Open sales now take place in New York (1-4 March), Hong Kong (25 March) and London (14 April).
Dashiell Manley (B. 1983), subtitle study f (a.r.c. alphabets), 2012. Double sided—acrylic, graphite, gouache, ink, watercolor, canvas, wood, glass and transparency film in artist’s frame. Overall: 20 5/8 x 16 5/8 in. (52.3 x 42.2 cm.) Estimate: $2,000-3,000. This work is offered in the First Open | Post-War and Contemporary Art sale on 4 March at Christie’s New York
Who is it aimed at?
First-time buyers and established collectors looking to add interesting pieces to their collections, First Open in New York offers cutting-edge art from collectible new artists alongside lesser-known works from blue-chip names.
Josef Albers (1888-1976), Homage to the Square: Orange Tone, 1963. Oil on Masonite. 48 x 48 in. (121.9 x 121.9 cm.) Estimate: $500,000-700,000. This work is offered in the First Open | Post-War and Contemporary Art sale on 4 March at Christie’s New York
Will I be able to afford anything on show?
In New York, First Open estimates for Post-War & Contemporary Art range from $800 to $700,000, while in London, estimates range from £1,000 to £200,000. In First Open: Editions, the prices for prints range from $1,000 to $40,000. In our First Open | Photographs | Online, price range from $1,500 to $30,000.
Can I come and see the works?
Yes, of course. The works will be on show at our Rockefeller Center galleries between 26 February and 3 March. Viewing times are 10am to 5pm, except for Sunday 28 February when our galleries are open from 1-5pm.
Will there be experts on hand if I need advice?
Our specialists are always on hand to help. For our New York season, questions about works in the First Open | Post-War & Contemprary Art sale, should be directed to Han-I Wang. For queries about First Open | Editions and First Open: Home, please speak to Lindsay Griffith. For First Open | Photographs | Online, the Head of Sale is Jude Hull.
Alexander Calder (1898-1976), Conical Gussets, 1956. Sheet metal and paint. 15 1/4 x 13 1/2 x 11 1/2 in. (38.7 x 34.2 x 29.2 cm.) Estimate: $200,000-300,000. This work is offered in the First Open | Post-War & Contemporary Art sale on 4 March at Christie’s New York
Laura Owens (B. 1970), Untitled, 2002. Lithograph in colours with three collaged elements (one hand-coloured in watercolour) on tan Rives BFK paper. Sheet: 18 x 12 in. (457 x 305 mm.) Estimate: $800-12,000. This work is offered in First Open | Editions on 1 March at Christie’s New York
What can I expect to see?
First Open | Post-War and Contemporary Art features work by both the biggest, most established names such as Alexander Calder, Sol LeWitt, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, alongside works by the best cutting-edge or emerging artists such as Ugo Rondinone, Invader and Ricky Swallow. It’s a platform for highlighting up-and-coming talent with competitively priced works from the stars sold in Christie’s Evening Sales, as well as reinvigorating previously undervalued artists.
Why are these works by big name artists much less expensive than those I’ve seen in your Evening Sales?
First Open offers works by big name artists whose works are at a different price point, and represents the perfect opportunity for new and established collectors to garner significant and unique works of art. This season we offer works on paper or small-scale works by artists such as Robert Motherwell, Andy Warhol and Alexander Calder, blue chip artists whose exceptional compositions can be found in the main season sale.
Who are the artists that have proved to be the most popular in recent First Open sales?
Keith Haring, Sol Lewitt, Wojciech Fangor, Louise Nevelson and Jack Bush are just a few of the names who have proved particularly popular in recent years.
I’m interested in buying art and design for my home. What should I be looking at?
Our new First Open | Home sale (22 March at Christie’s New York) features furniture by Scandinavian masters Finn Juhl, Hans Wegner and Poul Kjaerholm, tapestries by Alexander Calder, and chairs by Donald Judd and Frank Gehry. With 20th century furniture, lighting and other home accents from the 1920s through to 2012, estimates range from $800 to $40,000.
Finn Juhl (1912-1989), A two-seater sofa, designed 1946. Lambskin upholstery, beech. 33 ¾ in. (85.7 cm.) high, 57 1/4 in. (145.5 cm.) wide, 31 1/2 in. (80 cm.) deep. Estimate: $10,000-15,000. This piece is offered in First Open | Home on 22 March at Christie’s in New York
Gino Sarfatti (1912-1985), A table lamp, designed circa 1952. Manufactured by Arteluce, Enamelled metal, brass. 11 in. (28 cm.) high. Estimate: $3,000-5,000. This piece is offered in First Open | Home on 22 March at Christie’s in New York
We’re very aware, even from our own collecting lives, that people initially buy and collect to live with art in their homes. The dialogue between a contemporary piece of design and a contemporary edition is clear, not only because they work well together from an art historical standpoint but because they work well in your living room.
In First Open | Home we’ve put together Photographs, Editions and Design because we feel there is a story to tell for these works together — and we think our buyers will enjoy envisioning these items together. It gives them a chance to consider works we don’t think would have felt immediately obvious.
What do I need to know about the concept of editions?
The most important thing to note about editions is that it doesn’t mean that it is just a copy of an original image. The formal definition is any work made from paper, ink and an image source — but what fits into that definition is constantly changing. That’s why there is such a huge range of diversity in this sale from a woodcut by Carroll Dunham (below) — one of the oldest printmaking techniques that is still beloved today — to a cast marble and resin multiple by Kehinde Wiley. This variety is what makes printmaking so interesting — this compulsion to innovate and change while still revering and refining traditions.
Carroll Dunham, Killer, 2000. Woodcut in colours, on Twinrocker handmade paper. Signed in white crayon, numbered 4/12. Sheet: 34 x 46 ¼ in. Estimate: $3,000–5,000. This work is offered in First Open | Editions on 1 March at Christie’s New York
Why, in the First Open | Editions sale, are there works by Picasso with $3,000-5,000 estimates and a Deborah Kass estimated at between $18,000 and $25,000?
Value for editions comes from many different places, and while names are important, condition and techniques are very important. Our top lot in the sale is an important edition by William Kentridge at $40,000–60,000 (below), and it is valued that way because it is a great composition for the artist, it is a hand-coloured print and it is monumental in size.
William Kentridge, Blue Head, 1993-1998. Drypoint with hand-coloring, one wove paper. Signed in pencil, numbered 1/35. Image: 40 ¼ x 31 in. Sheet: 47 ½ x 36 in. Estimate: $40,000- 60,000. This work is offered in First Open | Editions on 1 March at Christie’s New York
Joan Miro (1893-1983), XXe Siècle, from XXe Siècle No 4, 1938. Linocut in colours, on red wove paper. Image: 12 x 9 ¼ in. (305 x 235 mm.) Sheet: 12 5/8 x 9 ¾ in. (321 x 248 mm.) This work is offered in First Open | Editions on 1 March at Christie’s New York
We also have a linocut by Joan Miro that is $1,000–1,500, a vibrant composition by a well-known artist but its from a very large edition size — so the market values it differently. That’s another reason our sales offer something for everyone — from incredibly knowledgeable long-time collectors to clients looking to make their first art purchase.
Why are some photographs sold in Post-War and Contemporary sales and others in Photography sales?
The Photographs Department builds sales specifically around the medium of photography. For example, it offers works dated from the birth of photography in the 1830s to the present day. The Post-War and Contemporary department, like the Impressionist and Modern Department and many others at Christie’s, presents works in a variety of mediums from a specific time period. This is why contemporary photographs are often found in their sales as well as in the photography sales.
How important is Provenance?
An interesting provenance can significantly impact the price of a work. Provenance, if it is of note, will be listed, but it is always a good idea to ask a specialist if they can disclose provenance if not listed. If the previous owner was a relation or friend of the artist, important collector or respected gallery, it will impact the price. It is also important to consider whether the work has previously sold at auction — and this may be listed in the provenance.
How do I bid?
There are five ways to bid and you can download more details at our online buying guide.
The first thing you need to bid is to set up a new client account with Christie’s. For this you will need to supply photo identification (passport, national ID card, or driving license) and proof of address (driving license or utility bill). You set up an account in person by arriving in good time in advance of the auction, or remotely by contacting Christie’s Client Services.
You can bid online with Christie’s LIVE™, which offers real-time video and audio that brings the excitement of the saleroom right to your desktop. New clients who wish to bid with Christie’s Live™, must register at least two business days before a sale. Existing clients who wish to bid with Christie’s LIVE™, may choose to register in advance or can simply enter the virtual saleroom on the day of the sale and begin bidding.
If you prefer to bid by phone, we will call you from the saleroom and bid on your behalf. To register, contact your local saleroom’s Client Service or Bid Department.
What if I’m unable to attend an auction?
Simply place an absentee bid at least 24 hours before the sale and we will bid on the item for you. It’s easy. Just submit your maximum bid online by selecting the lot you wish to bid on. You can also download the Christie’s Absentee Bid Form and fax it to your local saleroom’s Client Service or Bid Department.
Once you have done that, you can submit absentee bids via Christies.com by clicking the ‘Place Bid’ button on the lot page of the item for which you wish to bid, then choosing ‘Place Absentee Bid’ and following the simple steps. A bid confirmation will also be sent to you by email.
You can leave bids via christies.com up to approximately 24 hours before the auction. For more information on how to bid, see our buying guide.
And what about online-only sales?
We do that too, with all bidding taking place online. Online-only bids can be submitted throughout the duration of the bidding period.
For more features, interviews and videos, visit Christie’s Daily