The Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction at Christie’s in London realized £78,817,050 / $125,792,012 / €87,959,828. This is the second highest total for the category at Christie’s in London. The top lot was Study for a Portrait, 1953, by Francis Bacon which sold for £17,961,250 / $28,666,155 / €20,044,755 against an estimate in the region of £11 million. 19 lots sold for over £1 million (25 over $1 million).
Francis Outred, Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s Europe commented on the Evening Sale: “We saw global competition for works of great quality with a particular appetite for those sourced from private collections. We offered works representing 14 nationalities and attracted buyers from 16 countries; this diversity is breaking down boundaries and creating a competitive arena where collectors are being introduced to and bidding for works independent of their origin. We are extremely pleased to have established a world record price for a work of art by a living Spanish artist with Barceló’s sublime bullfight painting, particularly as this follows the success of the auction here in February when we established a world record price for a living French artist with Martial Raysse. British art was at the core of the auction – the Kay Saatchi collection kicked off the evening, far exceeding expectations and setting record prices for Ron Mueck and Paula Rego. This was followed by strong prices for Freud, Doig and of course Francis Bacon whose ‘Study for a Portrait’ attracted determined bidding and sold for £18 million, becoming the 2nd most valuable work to be sold at an auction of Post-War and Contemporary Art at Christie’s in London.”
The Post-War and Contemporary Day Auction realized a total of £13,179,325 / $21,073,741 / €14,642,230. The top lot was Untitled, 1969, by Gerhard Richter (b. 1932) which sold for £481,250 / $769,519 / €534,669.
Lock Kresler and Beatriz Ordovas, Co-heads of the Day Sale commented: “Private buyers from Europe, Asia and North and South America dominated the bidding at the sale and we were pleased to welcome a significant number of new collectors, especially at the higher price levels. The most determined bidding was seen for Post-War works of art and particularly those sourced from private collections. The selection of works from the collection of Kay Saatchi realized £396,250; combined with the group sold at yesterday’s evening auction, the collection made a total of £4,389,000.”