The Post-War & Contemporary Art evening sale at Christie’s London realised a total of £117,142,500 / $178,408,028 / €157,556,663 selling 95% by value with outstanding sell-through rates.
The top price of the evening was paid for Cy Twombly’s Untitled (New York City), which sold for £19,682,500 / $29,976,448/ €26,472,96 (estimate in the region of £16million). Painted in New York in 1970, Untitled is one of the last of the famous series of ‘blackboard’ paintings that Cy Twombly made in a dramatic and distinctive burst of creativity between 1966 and 1971. A large, nearly two metre long, shimmering, grey-ground spatial-field of elegantly lilting and layered scrawl ‘handwritten’ over a highly painterly surface, the picture is a hypnotic and mesmerizing work that intentionally breaks down the borders between painting and drawing. This result follows the record-breaking sale of one of Twombly’s blackboards which sold for $69.6 million at Christie’s New York in November 2014. Other highlights include Gerhard Richter’s view of the famous Swiss Lake Lucerne, Vierwaldstätter See, 1969 which sold for £15,762,500 / $24,006,288 / €21,200,563 (estimate in the region of £10 million), Francis Bacon’s Study for a Head, 1955 (pictured left) which sold for £10,050,500 / $15,306,912 / €13,517,923 (estimate in the region of £9million), and following the success of Emin’s iconic My Bed, 1998, which achieved a world record price at auction quadrupling its pre-sale estimate to realise £2,546,500/ $4,351,969/ €3,178,032 (estimate: £800,000-1,200,000) in July 2014, Tracey Emin’s Exorcism of the Last Painting I Ever Made realised £722,500/ $1,100,368/ €971,763 (estimate: £600,000 – 800,000).The auction also saw three record prices for artists including Paolo Scheggi, Howard Hodgkin and Theaster Gates.
The strong sales during the Day Auction resulted in a total of £14,770,700 /$22,510,547 /€19,837,050, selling 95% by lot and 82% by value, and set 6 new artist records for Marcello Lo Guidice, Anya Gallacio, Fiona Rae, Steve McQueen, Tala Madani and Mike Bouchet. The top lot of the auction was Andy Warhol’s Golden Shoe (Julie Andrews Shoe), which realised £722,500/ $1,101,090/ €970,318 (estimate: £200,000-300,000) and was a new record for Warhol’s shoe series. Other highlights include Lucio Fontana’s Concetto spaziale, Teatrino which sold for £386,500/ $589,026/ €519,070 (estimate: £120,000-180,000) and Wade Guyton’s Untitled which achieved £350,500/ $534,162 / €470,722 (estimate: £200,000-300,000).
Cristian Albu and Rosanna Widen, co-heads of the Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Auction: “Building on the success of this week’s Post-War & Contemporary Evening auction, we are pleased with the Day Sale results of £14.8 million and in particular with the outstanding sell through rates reaching 95%, which matched those of the evening sale, as this continues to demonstrate the strength of the Post-War and Contemporary Art market, attracting competitive bidding from international collectors from Europe, South America, Asia and the Middle East. We are delighted with the result of Andy Warhol’s Golden Shoe (Julie Andrews Shoe), which fetched £722,500, a record price for any work by the artist from the 1950s. We continued to achieve strong results for great contemporary German painters such as Gunther Förg and Albert Oehlen. We are also pleased to have supported Goldsmith’s Gallery Project, achieving strong results for such prestigious alumni as Sarah Lucas whose Nahuiolin achieved £266,500 and Damien Hirst whose Ipratropium Bromide achieved £542,500.”