Christie’s £137 Million Night Breaks Record for a Contemporary Art Sale in Europe

Some of the greatest artists of the 20th century alongside those at the forefront of contemporary art, highlights of the Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction.

 

Andy Warhol (1928-1987), Six Self-Portraits, executed in 1986. Sold for £22,261,250 in the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction.

Presenting work by some of the greatest artists of the 20th century alongside those at the forefront of contemporary art, Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction in London totalled £137,459,750 / $189,969,375 — the highest ever for a London Post-War sale, and was 92 per cent sold by lot and 96 per cent by value.

The top lot of the night was Andy Warhol’s Six Self-Portraits. This rare masterpiece was completed just months before the artist’s sudden death in 1987, and sold for £22,261,250 / $31,262,568 (including buyer’s premium). First shown at Anthony d’Offay’s London gallery in the summer of 1986, works from the first and only self-portrait exhibition of Warhol’s career now hang in the collections of Tate, London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.

Lucio Fontana (1899-1968), Concetto spaziale, Attese, executed in 1965. Sold for £8,671,250 in the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction.

Following the success of Masterpieces of Design and Photography, a curated auction held for the first time in October 2017, four standout self-portraits by Robert Mapplethorpe were presented alongside a desk by François-Xavier Lalanne. The latter — from the collection of American photographer, filmmaker and producer Steven Sebring — sold for £1,448,750 / $2,002,173, more than twice its high estimate.

Peter Doig’s Charley’s Space (1991) is the first of the celebrated ‘snow’ paintings that would define the artist’s output in the 1990s. Begun during his final year at Chelsea School of Art in London, it realised the third highest price of the sale when it was bought for £10,921,250 / $15,093,168. The proceeds of the sale of Charley’s Space and Doig’s Snowballed Boy (1995) will support a programme by The Donald R. Sobey Foundation in conjunction with the Sobey Art Foundation to strengthen international exhibition opportunities for contemporary Canadian artists.

World auction records were set on the night for works by Mark Bradford, Kelley Walker and Maria Helena Vieira da Silva. A world auction record by medium was established for George Condo’s Three Nudes, which sold for £488,750 / $675,453.

The Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Auction totalled £22,910,000 / $31,776,171, and was 92 per cent sold by lot and 96 per cent by value. The top lot of the sale was Günther Uecker’s White Stream, which realised £704,750 / $977,488. A highlight was a group of works sold with proceeds going towards Syri-Arts: Saving A Generation Through Education, which totalled £1,380,500 / $1,914,754. A further auction record was achieved for Peter Dreher’s (i) Tag um Tag guter Tag (Nr. 1768), (ii) Tag um Tag guter Tag (Nr. 1829), (iii) Tag um Tag guter Tag (Nr. 2065), (iv) Tag um Tag guter Tag (Nr. 2487), (v) Tag um Tag guter Tag (Nr. 2647), which sold for £52,500 / $72,817.

This stellar Day Sale result took total for the Post-War and Contemporary Art auctions during the London season to £160,369,750 / $221,745,546.

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