On May 12th and 13th, Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art evening sales achieved a combined total of $879,574,000 (£518,948,660/ €642,089,020) with a strong sell-through rate of 98% by value and 95% by lot. The $744.9million total of Tuesday evening’s sale represents the highest total for a single auction in art market history. Bidders from 35 countries competed for an exceptional offering of masterworks by some of the century’s most influential artists: Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, Jeff Koons, Christopher Wool and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
With a wide range of examples from the collections of Edwin A. and Lindy Bergman, the Estate of Anita Reiner, Phillip Schrager, Frances R. Dittmer, and institutions such as the E.ON Art Collection in Düsseldorf, and The Art Institute of Chicago, collectors competed enthusiastically for works with the best quality and significant provenance. The two evening sales established 26 new world auction records, selling 2 works over $80million, 4 over $50million, 12 over $20 million, 19 over $10 million and 86 over $1 million. 80% of the lots were completely new to the auction market.
“Great masterpieces inspire great collectors from every generation” said Brett Gorvy, Chairman and International Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art. “It has been a privilege to present our clients with such a large spectrum of works from important collections this season. The sales so far this week have demonstrated the growing appetite for contemporary art across the global marketplace. From the highest number of visitors to our online space to the 12,500 people visiting our public exhibitions, from the volume of bidders in the sales themselves to the significant number of new artist records set, we are seeing unprecedented momentum in the market as the desire to connect with great art continues to grow.”