Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction saw determined bidding in the room and on the phones to achieve exceptional sell through rates of 92 per cent by lot and 98 per cent by value, with 50 per cent of works selling over estimate and 30 per cent within estimate.
The top three works of the night were by American artists that sold globally with buyers in Asia and Europe. Registered bidders from 39 countries across four continents demonstrated the demand in the global contemporary market, as well as a proven strength of the domestic market with 10 lots selling to UK-based collectors.
The top lot of the evening was Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Pork (1981), selling over its high estimate for £5,122,500 / $6,838,538 / €6,167,490. The other work from The Collection of Johnny Depp was Basquiat’s Self Portrait (1981), which more than doubled its high estimate to reach £3,554,500 / $4,745,258 / €4,279,618 after a bidding war of 10 phone bidders. Both works dated from 1981, a pivotal year in Basquiat’s practice, and Depp’s focused collecting eye met with keen approval in the saleroom.
‘Tonight’s results offer real assurance and continued strength to the globalised art market, with a particularly energetic response to Adrian Ghenie, Andy Warhol, Nicolas de Staël, Georg Baselitz and Manolo Millares,’ said Edmond Francey, Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, London. ‘The response to Johnny Depp’s Basquiats electrified the saleroom and we continue to see that for the top works collectors will stretch themselves to the highest levels.’
’Christie’s has been able to read the market and offer our consignors and buyers the quality that attracts top collectors to the market,’ Francey continued. ‘This evening’s total contributes to Christie’s successful 250th anniversary with a Bacon, two Freuds, two Rileys and two Auerbachs to come as part of a stellar cast of artists, which we estimate will contribute a further £40-60 million to Post-War and Contemporary Art totals this week, as part of the Defining British Art Evening Sale.’