• Press release
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  • New York
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  • For immediate release
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  • 19 May 2017

RESULTS: 20th Century: Christie's Flagship Spring Auction Series Totals $842.5 Million 

  • Global participation stronger than ever, bidders from 46 different countries converged at Christie's New York 

  • New world auction record set for Brancusi, Salle, Gober, Stingel, and Grotjahn 

  • Highest total for an Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale at Christie's since May 2010

  • Strongest sell-through rates for a Post-War and Contemporary Evening Sale in a decade 

Cy Twombly, Leda and the Swan. Sold for $52,887,500

Cy Twombly, Leda and the Swan. Sold for $52,887,500

Constantin Brancusi, La muse endormie. Sold for $57,367,500. WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR THE ARTIST

Constantin Brancusi, La muse endormie. Sold for $57,367,500. WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR THE ARTIST 

New York – A confident and distinctly global community of collectors converged at Christie’s flagship US saleroom in Rockefeller Center this week, driving its 20th Century Art sales of Impressionist, Modern, Post-War and Contemporary Art to a combined $842,535,375 (£652,219,944 / €761,484,047). This total eclipses the week’s presale estimate of $670 million, and represents a $220 million increase over Christie’s November 2016 New York series. The week achieved the highest total for an Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale at Christie’s since May 2010, and the strongest sell-through rates for a Post-War and Contemporary Evening Sale in a decade.

With over 800 individual works sold across the week, Christie’s achieved consistently strong results across price levels, from $500 works on paper and ceramics to $50 million masterpieces. At its high-value Evening Sales, the overwhelming majority of works offered sold within or above estimate, underscoring the firm’s commitment to delivering superior results for both individual sellers and estate collections.

Christie’s continued investment in global growth initiatives and new buyer engagement was evident this season, as clients from more than 46 different countries registered to participate in the New York series. American buyers once again emerged as the dominant buying force across the week, underpinned by determined competition from Asian and European collectors, particularly for Impressionist and Modern Art.

Guillaume Cerutti, Chief Executive Officer, Christie’s, comments: "We are pleased by our strong results this week in New York, especially given the scrutiny of these major spring auctions, which are considered a bellwether for the broader global art market. The quality of the offer assembled by our teams, with a mix of great individual pieces and well-curated collections, was rewarded by several record prices and incredibly high sell-through rates. Despite turbulence in the US stock markets, we witnessed continued participation from buyers and bidders from all over the world, demonstrating the depth and resilience of the art market."

Combined Total: $522,809,000

The evening auction achieved a total of $448,062,000 (£346,797,214 / €402,631,565) with 96% sold by lot and 99% sold by value, the strongest sell through rates for the category in a decade. The day sales realized a combined $74,747,000 (£67,064,347 / €57,763,877)

The sale was highlighted by a mix of fresh to market, masterpiece quality works, and major collections that demonstrated remarkable vision and connoisseurship. The top lot of the sale was Cy Twombly’s tour de force, Leda and the Swan from 1962, which realized $52.9 million. It was followed closely by Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for a Portrait of George Dyer, which achieved $51.8 million.

Collections were a major focal point of the evening. The largest -- Visionaries: The Collection of Emily and Jerry Spiegel – has achieved $125 million thus far, with 26 lots in the Post-War and Contemporary Evening Sale, and additional works offered throughout the Post-War and Contemporary and Impressionist and Modern day sales. Leading the collection was Andy Warhol’s Last Supper, which sold for $18.7 million. Further works from the Collection will be featured in Christie’s Photographs sales this October.

IMPRESSIONIST AND MODERN ART, Evening, Day, Works on Paper and Picasso Ceramics Online-Only Sale
Combined Total: $319,726,375

The New York sales series of Impressionist and Modern Art achieved the highest total since 2010, building on Christie’s market leadership in the Impressionist and Modern Art category. The week opened with an impressive selection of masterworks, led by Constantin Brancusi’s La muse endormie, which achieved $57.4 million, and broke the world auction record for the artist. Pablo Picasso’s remarkable Femme assise, robe bleu sold to an Asian buyer for an impressive $45 million.

The Impressionist and Modern Sales presented a significant number of private collections, led by the Collection of Hunt Henderson. Important works by Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne and Paul Gauguin offered for the first time in over a century drove the total to a combined $31,408,000, including works offered in Christie’s Evening and Works on Paper sales. An additional work will be featured in the upcoming auction of American Paintings on May 23.

Property from Cleveland Clinic Generously Donated by Mrs. Sydell Miller was 100% sold, with 8 exceptional works featured across the Evening Sales this week. In total, $67.2 million was raised on behalf of Cleveland Clinic. The top lot was Pablo Picasso’s Femme assise dans un fauteuil, which realized $30.5 million.

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. Christie’s has sold 8 of the 10 most important single-owner collections in history, including the Paul G. Allen Collection—the most valuable collection ever offered at auction (November 2022). 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 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 by reducing our carbon emissions by 50% and pledging to be net zero by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.

Browse, bid, discover, and join us for the best of art and luxury at: www.christies.com or by downloading Christie’s apps. The COVID-related re-opening status of our global locations is available here.