Record Post War & Contemporary sale at Christie’s

Christie’s $775 million night including a new record price for Barnett Newman

nselm Kiefer Beschwert Sind Die Östlichen Himmel Mit Seidengewebe... The Eastern Skies Are Laden With Silk... Image courtesy Christie's Images Ltd

Anselm Kiefer Beschwert Sind Die Östlichen Himmel Mit Seidengewebe… The Eastern Skies Are Laden With Silk… Image courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd

Out of the 72 offered lots 68 lots sold for a grand total of $744,944,000. The sale represents a huge success for the auction house considering that during the record-breaking evening 94% of all lots offered were sold earning 98% sold by value. One of the surprises of the evening was an Anselm Kiefer Beschwert Sind Die Östlichen Himmel Mit Seidengewebe… The Eastern Skies Are Laden With Silk…a typically mural-sized abstracted landscape listed with an estimate of $2,000,000 – 3,000,000 that went unsold.

The evening’s top grossing lot was a simple, austere and zen-line Barnett Newman black and white Black Fire I, oil on canvas, Painted in 1961. The total hammer price, which included the buyer premium and all fees came to just north of $84 million and thus set a new world auction record for the artist. At this point the buyer is unknown, but we are certainly waiting to see if the identity will be revealed in the upcoming days and weeks.

Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards, oil on canvas, in three parts, painted in 1984 sold for a fraction of the previous triptych for a total of $80,805,000. According to Christie’s the buyer is an unidentified Asian collector, so it won’t be showing up in Portland any time soon.

See our top recommendations from Post War and Contemporary evening sales in NYC

Rest of the top 10 grossing lots are as follows:

Lot 31, Mark Rothko (1903-1970),

Untitled, oil on canvas, painted in 1952.

The luminous wall-size painting was purchased by another anonymous collector for $66,245,000

Lot 23, Andy Warhol (1928-1987),

Race Riot, acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen, in four parts, painted in 1964.

Gagosian Gallery bought the large painting for $62,885,000 (most likely for a private client)

Lot 26, Andy Warhol (1928-1987),

White Marilyn, acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen, painted in 1962.

Estimated to sell between $12,000,000 – 18,000,000 but sold to a private collector for $41 million instead – more than double its high estimate. With so much attention paid to Warhol’s work, we will, undoubtedly learn his/her name very soon as well.

Lot 36, Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988),

Untitled, acrylic, oilstick and metallic spray enamel on canvas, painted in 1981.

Estimated to sell between 20,000,000-30,000,000 and sold within its range for $34,885,000 to an anonymous collector.

Lot 28, Jeff Koons (B. 1955),

Jeff Koons, Jim Beam, Image courtesy Christie's Images Ltd

Jeff Koons, Jim Beam, 1986. Image courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd.

Jim Beam – J.B. Turner Train,

Stainless steel and bourbon, executed in 1986. This work is the artist’s proof from an edition of three plus one artist’s proof.

The super shiny train reproduction was bought by an anonymous collector, and for $34 million they paid for it we hope they really enjoy the bourbon too!

Lot 15, Gerhard Richter (b. 1932),

Abstraktes Bild (712), oil on canvas, painted in 1990.

Sold to an anonymous collector right within the estimate for $29,285,000

Lot 8, Alexander Calder (1898-1976),

Poisson volant (Flying Fish), hanging mobile — painted sheet metal, rod and wire, executed in 1957.


Sold to an Asian private collector for $25,925,000, or double its estimate of $9,000,000 – 12,000,000

Lot 17, Christopher Wool (b. 1955),

If You, enamel on aluminum, painted in 1992.

Estimated to sell between $20,000,000 – 30,000,000 and sold for $23,685,000 with fees.

Once again the buyer was Gagosian Gallery, most likely purchasing the work on behalf of a client who prefers to remain anonymous.

See the full auction index.

This article © galleryIntell. Sales figures and images courtesy of Christie’s and Christie’s Images Ltd. Used with permission.