137,459,750 £ total of sales, Christie’s Evening Sale di Postwar & Contemporary Art yesterday night (March 6th ) breaks the record for a Contemporary Art sale in Europe, showing solid growth if compared to last year when the same auction in London scored 96,384,000 £ total sales
We’re quite proud to notice that 21,9 milioni £ of these sales were made by the Postwar Italian Art, usually presented in the Italian Sale, which saw yet some fall in last editions. It might be that just to be finally included in general catalogue, in comparison with other outstanding names from international art, finally offered to our italian art a opportunity to boost to reach success , showing how the Italian Sales may have completed their duty to promote and launch italian art in the international art market.
The very rare and precious 24-slash-marked and 2m long work by Lucio Fontana “Concetto Spaziale, Attese”, a outstanding monochrome white with a lacquered wood fram from 1965 which have been sold for £ 8,671,250,just below its low estimate of £8 million. Anyway it was part of the over5milions lots of the evening, and registered as the 9th most expensive work on auction by the artist. Very good performance also for “Ferro T” by Burri , from 1959, sold for £ 5,858,750 after few minutes of bidding, leading by the Italian specialist Mariolina Bassetti. Over the esteem was also sold the Alighiero Betti’s map from 1979, assigned for £1,448,750 ,from a £900.000-1.300.000 estimate.
Looking at the general auction results: The evening saw 3 record prices, registered by Mark Bradford ( £3,833,750, despite this record probably will be soon broken by the large work on sale at Phillips ; Maria Helena Vieira da Silva (£2,048,750) e Kelley Walker (£ 572,750).
23 works were sold up then 1 million, seven of then over 5 millions and four over 10 millions. Vary law also the unsold percentage, just 5 out 65 lots total.
Among the evening Top Lot, as we had already announced, we can find the Andy Warhol “Six Self Portraits”(1986), which went to a lucky telephone bidder on the phone with Alex Rotter, co-chairman of Post-War and Contemporary Art at Christie’s New York, for £19.9 million, or £22.6 million with fees, exceeding the low estimate of £16 million; this was immediately after the outstanding Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Multiflavors”,acrylic and oilstick-on-canvas composition with crudely tied wood supports from 1982,the artist ” golden year” when other record works were also made. It which was sold to an anonymous telephone bidder for £10.5 million, just above its low estimate, but with the the buyer’s premium, it came to £12 million; Last but not the least Top Lot was the Francis Becon’s “Three Studies for a Portrait” from 1986, which this time did not fall short the expectations, being sold for £10,008,750, in contrast with the resounding unsold in last october Christie’s auction in London.
On the other hand, did not find its fortune in London ( or better, not as much was expected ) the outstanding little Jackson Pollock from 1950, a very unique piece which was also exhibited in the third solo show by the artist in Betty Parsons Gallery (NY). When Francis Outred, Head for London Postwar&contemporary, announced this work in London (rather than in the more solid market for the artist in NY) he explained proudly: “It doesn’t happen everyday to welcome “Jack the Dripper” in London”. However this masterpiece hardly was squeaked by with a telephone bid of £8.1 million, or £9.3 million with fees, a couple million pounds short of its low estimate. (It might be more successful in NY?)
Among other important results we’d like to highlight: Spider III by Louise Bourgeois sold for £4.000.000, Thomas Schutte Bronzerai Nr7 that made £2.100.000, George Baselitz, Die Geisselung (The Flagellation) sold for £2.300.000 and the shimmering and photo-realist Venice view Vendei (Insel) by Gerald Richter from 1958, old for £3.7 million, or £4.3 million with fees, barely scraping its low estimate of £4 million..
Last but not least, very interesting were also the 2 works by Peter Doig , both from very early “snow paintings” from his 90s, later become very famous series by the artist. All the sale will go to the seller’s charitable organization, The Donald R. Sobey Foundation, so the auctioneer encouraged “Be generous“, and so it is: the more expensive, Charley’s Space (1990), featuring a raging blizzard blurring the background of a lone house, triggered a bidding war and delivered a rousing £9.5 million hammer price, well above its high estimate of £8 million, and a total of £10.9 million after buyer’s fees.