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Post-War and Contemporary Art Sales at Christie’s New York To Be Accompanied by Educational Programs for Collectors in New Contemporary Art Markets



Artists include: Matthew Barney, Mark Bradford, Sophie Calle, Maurizio Cattelan, Robert Gober, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, David Hammons, Jim Hodges, Barbara Kruger, Paul McCarthy, Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara, Charles Ray, Fred Tomaselli, Kara Walker, Christopher Wool.

November 8 - 9, 2011

Post-War and Contemporary Art ~ Evening and Day Sales

New York — Christie’s is proud to announce the auction of  a major selection of the remarkable Peter Norton Collection of contemporary art, assembled over more than two decades by one of the world’s most pioneering collectors, entrepreneurs and philanthropists. A Single Owner grouping of 60 lots will be offered throughout the Evening and the Day Sales, November 8th and 9th, and is expected to achieve in excess of $25 million. Many of the works represent the leading artists of the contemporary art world that Mr. Norton has supported since the very beginnings of their careers, many will be offered at estimates reflecting his adventurous, start-up spirit.

The pre-sale exhibition will offer visitors an eye-opening survey of contemporary art, as well as a unique glimpse into the world of a fascinating and very prescient collector. This sale will highlight Mr. Norton’s enterprising spirit to collectors who are new to the endeavor, including those in emerging markets for contemporary art. In conjunction with this sale Christie’s will develop the educational potential of the auction by presenting special lectures in Moscow, Hong Kong and London addressing the question:  “What is the responsibility of a contemporary art collector?” 

Peter Norton states “Collections reflect the sensibility of the collector; I tend to be drawn to artworks that have ideas imbedded in them, but not works that are dryly conceptual.  One of my ideals for an art work is that there are thoughts and ideas behind it, but that the work nevertheless has so much visual content that it appeals to viewers who have no understanding of those ideas. I am drawn more to works that are three-dimensional, as they connect better to the actual world, and I like to buy the work of artists early in their careers, not only as it supports, encourages and gives heart to them, but also as it does the same for their contemporaries. I also tend to be drawn to work that reflects non-mainstream backgrounds:  feminist art, and art from Black, Hispanic and Asian artists.”

“I believe in the circulation of cultural objects; the opportunity for them to be seen in different contexts by different people. We have long been donating works to museums we’re involved in, and now is a time to be increasing that.  The sale will allow us to further our giving in other ways, as the proceeds will go towards establishing a new charitable trust.”

A legendary figure in California’s Silicon Valley, Peter Norton created a series of highly successful software programs including the pioneering Norton™ AntiVirus, later merging his self-named company into Symantec. Bringing this same passion for inventiveness to the world of art, he became one of the most active and adventurous collectors of the work of emerging artists, especially those with fresh formal ideas and strong points of view. In 2000, over 1,000 works from the collection were gifted to a total of 32 institutions, large and small, in the single largest donation made of contemporary art. As a philanthropist, he has also made important contributions to schools and performing arts organizations in addition to serving as a trustee of various institutions, including, The Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Brett Gorvy, Chairman and International Head of Post-War & Contemporary Art, comments: “At once cool and controversial, the Peter Norton Collection embodies the spirit of a true visionary in contemporary art collecting. Encompassing artists who are today recognized as major talents, years after Peter Norton began supporting them, as well as artists who are considered to be emerging; this wide-ranging yet highly selective collection includes important works from Christopher Wool and Takashi Murakami to Charles Ray and Kara Walker.”

Thomas Solomon, Former Consultant for the Norton Collection Museum Donations Program, comments : Peter Norton's mythic and important collection defies category-simply the most daring and straight from the heart. His art collection is unparalleled in scope, depth, and breadth as it exemplifies the best of the best of contemporary art. Peter Norton's collection leads a path for insight into the important issues of our times--gender, race, identity, and empowerment-each artist given support to their singular voice and unique vision.”

As one of the most highly regarded groupings of Contemporary Art works ever privately assembled, the Peter Norton Collection includes a broad range of 60 works from such blue-chip artists as Robert Gober, Paul McCarthy,  Nam June Paik, Fred Tomaselli, Christopher Wool and Maurizio Cattelan  among others. Many of the works address issues of racial and sexual identity, politics and the human condition.  The collection reflects major themes of art of the time, but also its place: Los Angeles, which became in the 1980s-90s a major focal point for artists working there like Charles Ray, as well as for galleries that promoted and supported not only American art but also international artists like Takashi Murakami. As a result, Los Angeles became an extraordinary source of creative energy - one that has continued to evolve and expand in the years since with the support of major collectors like Peter Norton.



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 Salvator Mundi, 2017), for a 20th century artwork (Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, 2022) and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019). Christie's is also recognised as a reference for prestigious single owner collections, having auctioned 8 of the 10 most important collections in history.

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 use of hologram technology to tour life-size 3D objects around the world, and 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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