• Press release
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  • London
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  • For immediate release
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  • 2 March 2021

RELEASE | Christie's Spring Season of Global 20th Century Sales Launches in London and New York

ACHIEVING A TOTAL OF £43,702,515 / $61,139,818 / €50,520,107, SELLING 98% BY LOT AND 100% BY VALUE

Sir Winston Churchill’s Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque selling for a world auction record  price
of £8,285,000 / $11,590,715 / €9,577,460 in London

- A Family Collection: Works on Paper, Van Gogh to Freud realises £18,070,765 / $25,281,000 / €20,889,804

- Modern British Art Evening Sale achieves £25,631,750 / $35,858,818 / €29,630,303

- Global participation from 12 countries over 5 continents via phone and online bidding in Christie’s London and New York livestream sales

- Depth of bidding demonstrates competitive demand at Christie’s

-Sir Winston Churchill’s record broken twice, with the sale of Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque setting the new world auction record £8,285,000 / $11,590,715 / €9,577,460

- Van Gogh’s La Mousmé realises one of the highest prices for a work on paper by the artist £7,459,614 / $10,436,000 / €8,623,314

- Further records include Augustus John and Sir Michael Craig-Martin

London and New York – Christie’s global spring season of 20th Century art sales launched in London and New York on 1 March 2021, achieving a total across the evening of £43,702,515 / $61,139,818 / €50,520,107, with collectors convening from 12 countries over 5 continents and combined sell-through rates of 98% by lot and 100% by value. The series of sales was opened in New York with A Family Collection: Works on Paper, Van Gogh to Freud, a grouping of eight exquisite works on paper that saw the market bidding competitively for exceptional quality, with a total of £18,070,765 / $25,281,000 / €20,889,804 realised. The sale was led by Van Gogh’s rare portrait La Mousmé, one of the finest works on paper of the artist’s career which sold for £7,459,614 / $10,436,000 / €8,623,314. A world auction record was set by Augustus John’s Head of a Girl (Edie McNeill) (£348,463 / $487,500 / €402,823) while bidding across the salerooms in London and New York saw strong prices realised for works on paper by René Magritte, Henry Moore and Georges Seurat.

The Modern British Art Evening Sale directly followed, realising a total of £25,631,750 / $35,858,818 / €29,630,303, selling 97% by lot and 99% by value. The evening was led by Sir Winston Churchill’s Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque which set a new world auction record price of £8,285,000 / $11,590,715 / €9,577,460 after a nine-minute battle between 10 bidders. The painting was offered from the Jolie Family Collection. Two further works by Churchill demonstrated heightened demand for his paintings with both far exceeding the pre-sale expectations: Scene at Marrakech (£1,882,500 / $2,633,618 / €2,176,170) and St Paul’s Churchyard (£1,078,500 / $1,508,822 / €1,246,746). Henry Moore’s Maquette for King and Queen sold for £3,022,500 / $4,228,478 / €3,494,010, over three times the low estimate and testament to the rarity of the subject matter in the artist’s oeuvre. Sir John Lavery’s The Viscountess Castlerosse, Palm Springs, from the collection of Charles Delevingne, sold for £862,500 / $1,206,638 / €997,050, a record for a portrait by the artist. Sir Michael Craig-Martin’s With Red Shoes set a new world auction record for the artist (£325,000 / $454,675 / €375,700).

Giovanna Bertazzoni, Vice Chairman, 20th – 21st Century Art, Christie’s: “We are delighted with the very strong result for the exquisite works in the Family Collection: Works on Paper, Van Gogh to Freud. Quality always wins, and the infallible eye of this collector strove only for exceptional quality.”

Nick Orchard, Head of Department, Modern British Art, Christie’s: “The auction of Modern British Art demonstrated the vibrant and dynamic nature of this market with exceptional provenance as witnessed in the Churchills, Lavery, the Collection of Mireille and James Lévy and the Estates of L.S. Lowry and Carol Ann Lowry. These works generated international interest with competitive bidding throughout the evening, resulting in Christie’s second highest total for a Modern British Art evening sale.”



- René Magritte, Journal intime £2,680,486 / $3,750,000 / €3,098,642

- Henry Moore, Two Sleepers in the Underground (recto); Figures and Sketches of Sculpture (verso), £2,251,608 / $3,150,000 / €2,602,859

- Georges Seurat, La voile blanche, £3,280,915 / $4,590,000 / €3,792,738


- Dame Barbara Hepworth, Square Forms (Two Sequences), £922,500, / $1,290,578 / €1,066,410

- S. Lowry, Head of a Boy, £742,500 / $1,038,758 / €858,330

Over 185,000 viewers tuned into the sales through Facebook, You Tube, and Christie’s Live™, highlighting the inclusive nature of the interactive livestream.

The Modern British Art Day Sale takes place on Tuesday 2 March at 2pm. The 20th Century Sale series then continues on 23 March with We Are All Warriors: the Basquiat Auction which is followed by the 20th Century Art Evening Sale and The Art of The Surreal Evening Sale.

B-roll footage of Sir Winston Churchill’s Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque selling can be downloaded here (Password: Christies)

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 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.

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