Christie’s post war and contemporary art auction brought in enough dough to make the auction house very happy. With a total of $43,2202,500 in their kitty, they managed to get a tally midway between their pre-sale estimates of something between of $226,450,000-$312,340,000. The star of the evening was as expected, a Roy Lichtenstein Pop Art masterpiece made in 1961. The bidding for Lichtenstein’s “I Can See the Whole Room… and There’s Nobody in It!” started at $27 million and finally went to New York private dealer Guy Bennett for a whopping $43,202,500! All in all, 91 lots were offered for bidding, out of which 33 were sold for more than $1 million, and 4 crossed the $10million mark.
But the record for the highest sales in Post-war and Contemporary art was set in May 2007, when the tally was $384.6 million. Peter Norton’s collection sale containing 26 items was also up for auction separately. All the lots were sold fetching $26,785,000, much above the pre-sale estimate of $15.9 million. Paul McCarthy’s “Tomato Head (Green),” a 1994 assemblage sculpture was the only piece from the Norton collection to figure in the top ten bids of the evening, being sold to Zürich dealer Iwan Wirth for $4,562,500. This definitely makes of for the lacklustre Impressionist and Modern Art sale last week that raked in just $146.7 million.
The star factor was given a boost with the entry of Leonardo DiCaprio, who was there with his art dealer friend Helly Nahmad. Glenn Ligon’s “Untitled (Stranger in the Village #17)” from the Norton collection, which is a painting using acrylic, oilstick, coal dust, and resin was sold to Robert Mnuchin ofL&M Arts for a whopping $1,178,500, much higher than its estimated bid of $300-500,000. This broke Ligon’s record of $450,000, which his “Stranger #4” fetched at the Artists for Haiti charity sale at Christie’s this year. The winning bid for this painting was made by Jennifer Aniston. Norton has accumulated a very impressive lot of artwork by acquiring works of artists early on. His collection garnered a lot of interest at the auction.
The auction began with Gerhard Richter’s 1990 work “Abstraktes Bild (724-5)”, which was bought by New York art advisor Kim Heirston for $3,90,500. Another great work was Koons “Two Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (Spalding Dr. J Silver Series, Wilson Aggressor),” which went to David Zwirner for $4,226,500. Koons “Baroque Egg With Bow (Orange /Magenta)” was also up for bid. It was bought by a telephone bidder for $6,242,500. Another sculpture, Louise Bourgeois’s “Spider” also went to a telephone bidder for $10,722,500, which was almost double its estimate. This auction witnessed the sale of the most expensive photo also. Andreas Gursky’s “Rhein II” went under the hammer for $4,338,500. Andy Warhol made his presence felt too, with his “Silver Liz” being bought by London jewelry magnate Laurence Graff for $16,322,500. Graff now has company for his the “Red Liz” he had bought in 2006 for around $11 million. Two other Warhol pieces were sold, “Four Campbell’s Soup Cans” bought by a telephone bidder for $9,826,500 and “Mao” bought by Mnuchin for $3,442,500. Abstract Expressionist work by Mark Rothko called “White Cloud” raked in $18,562,500.