London – The evening auctions of Post-War and Contemporary Art and The Italian Sale realised a combined total of £38,213,050 / $61,179,093 / €43,371,811.  The top price of the evening was paid for Cavaliere by Marino Marini (1901-1980) which led record-breaking Italian Sale and which sold for £4,465,250 /$7,148,865 /€5,068,059 – a world record price for the artist at auction.  In total, 6 lots sold for over £1 million and 18 for over $1 million.

The corresponding auctions in October 2009 realised a combined total of £17 million, with 3 works selling for over £1 million and 5 for over $1 million.

Francis Outred, International Director and Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s Europe: ‘This is an exciting week in London as art lovers from around the world congregate in London for the events and sales surrounding Frieze.  We have welcomed thousands of people through our doors for our exhibitions of modern and contemporary art this week, which have included the works offered this evening as well as highlights from New York.  The buzz surrounding this week was evident in the saleroom which had a great atmosphere and which gathered a packed crowd, including many collectors new to Christie’s.”

Post-War and Contemporary Art

This evening’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction realised £19,585,400 / $31,356,225 /€22,229,429 against a pre-sale estimate of £15,970,000 to £22,710,000, selling 92% by value and 86% by lot.  Buyer breakdown (by lot) was 66% Europe including the UK and 34% Americas.  4 lots sold for over £1 million / 9 for over $1 million.

Francis Outred, International Director and Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s Europe: “Today’s auctions built on the recent growth of confidence in the market for contemporary art and saw consistent bidding throughout.  We welcomed many new collectors for the first time, a significant number of whom were bidding at high levels on some of the top lots at the sales, and there was particular excitement for works by many of the younger artists.”

The top price was paid for I am Become Death, Shatterer of Worlds, an epic butterfly painting by Damien Hirst (b.1965) which sold for £2,169,250 / $3,472,969 / €2,462,099.  In total, 40% of lots sold above estimate and record prices at auction were established for 5 artists; Ged Quinn, Kelley Walker, Otto Piene, Roman Opalka and Liza Lou.

Further highlights included Kaikai Kiki, 2005, by Takashi Murakami (b. 1962) which realized £1,945,250 / $3,114,345 / €2,207,859 against an estimate of £400,000 to £600,000; and Negro Period, 1986, by Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) which achieved £1,497,250 / $2,397,097 / €1,699,379 (estimate: £1.2 million to £1.8 million).

The Italian Sale

The Italian Sale achieved the highest ever total for the category realising £18,627,650 / $29,822,868 / €21,142,382 against a pre-sale estimate of £14,263,000 to £20,188,000. It was 89% sold by value and 78% sold by lot.  The top price was paid for Cavaliere by Marino Marini (1901-1980) which sold for £4,465,250 /$7,148,865 /€5,068,059 – a world record price for the artist at auction.   Buyer breakdown (by lot) was 22% Italy, 67% rest of Europe and 11% Americas. 2 lots sold for over £1 million / 9 for over $1 million.

Mariolina Bassetti, International Director in the Post-War & Contemporary Art Department and Co-Head of the SaleWe are very pleased with the record result of this evening’s auction which was a celebration of 20th century Italian art. We exhibited the sale together with the auction of Post-War and Contemporary art and the growing international appreciation of the Italian art in particular was made evident by the record total achieved at this evening’s auction, 78% of which was acquired by collectors from outside of Italy.

About Christie’s

Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvador Mundi, 2017), for a single collection sale (the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, 2018), and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019).

Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.

Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. 

Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability through net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.

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