• Press release
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  • London
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  • For immediate release
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  • 7 March 2017

RESULTS: Post War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction Achieves £96,384,000 / $117,781,248 / €111,034,368. Exceptional Sell-Through Rates of 95% by lot and 98% by value

Running Total for 20th Century at Christie’s £258,313,636 / $318,704,602 / €300,478,142.

Seven artist auction records achieved: Cecily Brown, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Albert Oehlen, Günther Uecker, Carol Rama, Henry Taylor and Wolfgang Tillmans

Peter Doig’s Cobourg 3 + 1 More. Price Realised: £12,709,000 / $15,530,398 / €14,640,768.

London  The Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction continued the confidence that launched the season, totalling £96,384,000 / $117,781,248 / € 111,034,368, a 65% increase on last February’s equivalent total, with strong sell-through rates of 95% by lot and 98% by value. The top price of the evening was for Peter Doig’s spellbinding snow scene Cobourg 3 + 1 More, which saw determined bidding in the saleroom and on the phone and sold for £12,709,000 / $15,530,398 / €14,640,768. Another highlight Mark Rothko’s No. 1 (1949), realised a price of £10,693,000 / $13,066,846 / €12,318,336 demonstrating that American artists were a particular draw for collectors. This was echoed with Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Self Portrait, from the collection of U2’s Adam Clayton, selling for £2,225,000 / $2,718,950 / €2,563,200, and Basquiat’s Alpha Particles (£3,973,000 / $4,855,006 / €4,576,896, both emphasising international demand for the artist ahead of his first UK retrospective at the Barbican later this year. The appeal of contemporary European masters was demonstrated by Jean Dubuffet’s painting Être et poraître (To Be and to Seem), achieving £10,021,000 / $12,245,662 / €11,544,192, while his work on paper Deux Arabes gesticulant (Two gesticulating Arabs) set a world record at auction for the medium of £1,109,000 / $1,353,198 / €1,277,568. The total to date for 20th Century at Christie’s is £258,313,636 / $318,704,602 / € 300,478,142.

“The exceptional sell-through rates of 95% by lot and 98% by value demonstrate that Christie’s is able to anticipate and meet the demands of the market today. The prices achieved for American artists demonstrate that they are a significant force and London is an international platform, with top prices achieved for Carl Andre, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Alexander Calder, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko and Andy Warhol. Jean Dubuffet was another major highlight selling above estimate. The evening opened with record prices at auction for Wolfgang Tillmans, currently the subject of a celebrated retrospective at Tate Modern, quickly followed by records for Cecily Brown, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Henry Taylor, Albert Oehlen, Carol Rama and Günther Uecker.”

Edmond Francey, Head of Department, Post-War and Contemporary Art, London

World auction records were set for seven artists including Njideka Akunyili Crosby, whose painting The Beautyful Ones achieved £2,517,000 / $3,075,774 / €2,899,584, over four times its high estimate of £600,000 / $750,000 / €700,000, Albert Oehlen’s Selbstporträt mit Palette (Self-portrait with Palette) which sold for £2,965,000 / $3,623,230 / €3,415,680, Cecily Brown’s triptych The Sick Leaves (£1,805,000 / $2,205,710 / €2,079,360), Günther Uecker’s Spirale I and Spirale II (£2,629,000 / $3,212,638 / €3,028,608), Carol Rama’s Bricolage (£185,000 / $226,070 / €213,120), Henry Taylor’s Terri Philips (£149,000 / $182,078 / € 171,648). 

The evening opened with a fast pace that set the tone for the rest of the auction, Wolfgang Tillman’s ground-breaking Freischwimmer 186, which sold for more than double its estimate to realise £269,000 / $328,718 / €309,888, a world record price at auction for the artist. Another highlight was the joint record for Joan Miró and Josep Llorens Artigas’s Vase, which achieved over five times its low estimate at £785,000 / $959,270 / €904,320. Additional highlights from the evening included Thomas Schütte’s Stahlfrau No. 6 (Steel Woman, No. 6) sold for £2,629,000 / $3,212,638 / €3,028,608 and Neo Rauch’s record for a work on paper (£353,000 / $431,366 / €406,656).  

Further information

20th Century at Christie’s continues with the Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Auction on 8 March and Handpicked: 100 Artists Selected by the Saatchi Gallery.

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. 

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