RELEASE: CHRISTIE’S MAJOR TWO-WEEK FALL AUCTION SERIES IN NEW YORK TOTALS $770 MILLION (£485 MILLION/€600 MILLION)

New York

CHRISTIE’S LEADS THE MARKET IN SALES OF  IMPRESSIONIST & MODERN AND POST-WAR & CONTEMPORARY ART

MONET AND WARHOL LEAD THE WAY AT $43.8 MILLION EACH

OVERALL SALES OF ANDY WARHOL WORKS TOTAL $100.1 MILLION

New York – Christie’s is pleased to report its two-week sales series devoted to important Impressionist, Modern, Post-War and Contemporary Art totaled $769,572,100 (£484,830,425/€600,436,310) with the inclusion of a dedicated sale of original Andy Warhol works offered directly from the artist’s Foundation for the Visual Arts.  Two masterpiece works by Claude Monet and Andy Warhol led Christie’s two major New York Evening Sales, which were characterized by deep collector appetite for works of the highest quality and rarity.  In total, 100 lots offered over the course of the past two weeks surpassed the $1 million mark, 17 sold above $10 million, and 9 sold above $20 million. Numerous new artist records were achieved, setting new benchmarks for both established and emerging artists and paving the way for an exciting next round of Evening Sales in February at Christie’s London.

“Over the past two weeks at Christie’s, we served our clients and the art by providing a powerful moment of convening as the global world of art and collecting came together in New York”, said Steven P. Murphy, Chief Executive Officer, Christie’s International.  “We were all reminded of the timeless inspiration great works of art evoke, particularly as the sales were juxtaposed with dramatic events, and we are particularly grateful to the consignors and collectors who entrusted us with works that helped raise funds for noble causes including funding schools, providing grants, and aiding disaster relief funds in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. We welcomed thousands of visitors to Christie’s Rockefeller Center. Many came to buy, yet many more came to experience and enjoy viewing the exquisite, beautifully curated artworks that have now carefully and responsibly been stewarded from one generation of collector to the next. 

“As the season for this category of sales and exhibitions closes, we are all inspired and rejuvenated through the power of the art, from Impressionist and Modern to Post-War and Contemporary art, and even an extra special infusion of Warhol.”

The sales drew interest from collectors around the globe, with bidders from more than 40 different countries representing every continent on the globe with the exception of Antarctica. American bidding was particularly strong throughout the two weeks, enlivened by increased competition from clients throughout established and emerging markets. During the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale, 55% of lots sold above or within their estimate, while 82% of lots featured in the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale sold above or within their estimate.

Impressionist and Modern Art series (November 7 & 8)

Christie’s now leads the auction market for Impressionist and Modern Art with $244.5 million in sales from November’s two-day auction series. This brings the year-to-date total for the category at Christie’s worldwide to $959.5 million (£607.3 million) –  an increase of 14.6% by £ over the same period in 2011 – with two sales still to come at Christie’s Amsterdam and Paris before year-end.

The New York sales series was characterized by strong prices and bidder enthusiasm for works priced at both the top-end and at the middle market level. Christie’s Evening Sale realized $204.8 million (£129.0 million/ €159.7 million), led by robust competition for the sale’s top lots – a trio of masterpiece-quality works by Claude Monet, Wassily Kandinsky and Constantin Brancusi.  At $43.8 million, Monet’s Nymphéas fetched the 2nd highest auction price on record for the artist, and the $23.0 million realized for Kandinsky’s Studie für Improvisation 8 marked a new world auction record price for any work by the artist. In all, 52% of the works offered in the Evening Sale sold within estimate, and 38% sold above estimate.

Proceeds from the sale of both the Monet and Kandinsky will benefit not-for-profit initiatives; the Kandinsky was sold on behalf of the Volkart Foundation in Switzerland, which supports organizations dedicated to combating poverty in India. Monet’s Nymphéas and works by Alfred Sisley and Camille Pissarro were sold to raise funds for Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY, thanks to a bequest from the Estate of Ethel Strong Allen, widow of the late Wall Street executive Herbert Allen, Sr. The $51 million raised through the sale of the three paintings constitutes one of the largest donations ever made to an independent school in the state of New York.

Also notable was Christie’s dominance of the Works on Paper category for Impressionist and Modern Art, with a market-leading $10.2 million achieved during a dedicated morning sale session on November 8. The strong results continued in the afternoon Day Sale session, where works in the $500,000-$1 million range by Kandinsky, Renoir, Paul Klee, Edgar Degas and Pablo Picasso proved their appeal to a diverse group of bidders participating on the phone, in person and online.

Throughout the sales series, collectors showed a clear preference for works of exceptional quality, rarity and condition, competing for them across all mediums and price levels. The enduring appeal of classic Impressionist works was in strong evidence, especially during Christie’s Evening Sale, where a section of works by the great masters of the era – including Monet, Pissarro, Sisley and Caillebotte – sold 87% by lot and 91% by value.

Andy Warhol at Christie’s (November 12)

Marking the inaugural sale of Christie’s multi-year, multi-platform partnership with The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, a three-part sale of Photographs, Paintings, Works on Paper and Prints drawn from the foundation archives totaled $17,017,050 on November 12. Led by iconic photographs, prints and unique Endangered Species paintings, the sale was met with enthusiasm from established and new collectors globally, resulting in sell-through rates of 91% by lot and 82% by value. Proceeds from the sale benefit the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and will advance the Foundation’s mission by bolstering its endowment to provide major grants to visual arts organizations. On Friday, AWFVA announced the allocation of $2 million towards Hurricane Sandy relief initiatives specific to affected visual arts organizations and individual artists as part of a joint initiative with the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and Lambent Foundations.

Post-War & Contemporary Art series (November 14 & 15)

Christie’s two-day sales series devoted to the finest in Post-War and Contemporary Art realized a combined total of $508 million. Including the $17 million results from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the grand total for the week of Post-War and Contemporary Art was $525 Million.

Throughout the sales, bidders from around the world convened in the saleroom to compete for the sale’s exceptional roster of works by the top artists of the category, including Andy Warhol, Franz Kline, Jean Michel Basquiat, Mark Rothko, Jeff Koons, and Roy Lichtenstein, among others. Strong results were achieved for works by Pop artists, Abstract Expressionists, and cutting-edge Contemporary artists. 11 works sold for over $10 million, 16 for over $5 million and 67 for over $1 million.  Following the historic Evening Sale on November 14 – the most valuable auction ever in the category at $412.3 million – Christie’s achieved a combined $96 million during the two sessions on Thursday. ‪

Andy Warhol shone throughout the sales and the results confirm that he remains the dominant star of the contemporary art market.  The epicenter of the sale was his 3-D Statue of Liberty, which achieved $43,762,500 (£27,570,375/ €34,134,750). The iconic Statue of Liberty was part of his seminal Death and Disaster series and was one of the most important pictures by the artist ever to come to auction. The sale also featured one of the most famous of Warhol’s portraits of Hollywood celebrities, a powerful, brooding portrait of Marlon Brando from 1966 which sold for $23,714,500 (£14,940,135/ €18,497,310) after a nine minute bidding war.

The seminal Franz Kline’s Untitled, 1957 was sold to a bidder on the telephone after a five-minute bidding battle between three collectors. The painting far surpassed the previous world auction record of $9.3 million for Kline, selling for $40,402,500, (£25,453,575/ €31,513,950).  This monumental painting executed in 1957 was arguably the most important Abstract Expressionist work by the artist to come to market in a generation.

The monumental sculpture Tulips by Jeff Koons achieved $33,682,500 (£21,219,975/ € 26,272,350), setting a new world auction record for the artist. The price places Koons among the world’s top-selling living artists.

ARTISTS’ WORLD AUCTION RECORDS (ALL SALES)

Josef Albers - Homage to the Square, 1964 - $2,210,500

Jean-Michel Basquiat - Untitled, 1981 - $26,402,500

George Condo - The Manhattan Strip Club, 2010 - $1,314,500

Richard Diebenkorn - Ocean Park # 48, 1971 - $13,522,500

Jack Goldstein - Untitled, 1983 - $782,500

Mark Grotjahn - Untitled (Red Butterfly II Yellow…) - $4,170,500

Donald Judd - Untitled, 1989 (Bernstein 89-24), 1989 - $10,162,500

Wassily Kandinsky - Studie für Improvisation 8 - $23,042,500

Franz Kline - Untitled, 1957 - $40,402,500

Jeff Koons - Tulips 1995-2004 - $33,682,500

Chana Orloff - Torse - $326,500

Richard Serra - Schulhof’s Curve, 1984 - $2,882,500

NEW ARTISTS RECORD BY MEDIUM (ALL SALES)

Jean-Michel Basquiat - Untitled, 1983 - $3,666,500 - Record for a Work on Paper by the Artist

Alexander Calder - Policeman, 1928 - $4,226,500 - Record for a Wire Sculpture by the Artist

Jean Dubuffet - La Congratule, 1962 - $1,684,100 - Record for a Work on Paper by the Artist

Cy Twombly - Untitled, 1945 - $5,010,500 - Record for a Work on Paper by the Artist 

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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