NEW YORK.- Christies highly anticipated Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale totaled $348,263,600, marking the second highest total ever in auction history for the category. Eight new world auction records were established for artists including Richard Prince, Sam Francis, Leon Gottlieb, with Lucian Freuds Benefits Supervisor Sleeping setting a world auction record for any living artist. The sale was 95% sold by value and 95% sold by lot.
Tonights sale realized nearly $350 million, the second highest total ever for the category, and the appetite for works of art continues unabated as buyers from around the world actively participated. A broad group of artists including Francis, Freud, Gottlieb, and Prince rose to new heights, said Marc Porter, President of Christies Americas. The specialists in charge of tonights sale ensured that the auction was specifically edited and carefully estimated to successfully meet the market accurately.
The collection of three Abstract Expressionist works of art brought record prices for Franciss Black, 1955 (estimate: $4-6 million), which achieved $5,193,000 and Gottliebs Cool Blast, 1960 (estimate: $2-3 million), which totaled $6,537,000. The glorious red and yellow No. 15 by Rothkos 1952 (estimate on request) commanded $50,441,000, the second highest total for a work by the artist.
Two of the most important British artists were represented by deeply intimate and stunning interpretations of the human subject: Lucian Freuds Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, 1995, and Francis Bacons Study for Self Portrait, 1976. The most significant work by Freud to appear at auction, the life-size Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, (estimate: $25-35 million) fetched $33,641,000, eclipsing the previous Freud record set by Christies last season for Ib and Her Husband (sold on November 13, 2007 for $19,361,000). Bacons Three Studies for Self-Portrait, 1976, is among the finest of an outstanding series of self-portraits that the artist executed and it achieved $28,041,000 (estimate: $25-35 million).
Striking, sexy, and effortlessly cool, Andy Warhols Double Marlon, 1966 (estimate on request) sold for $32,521,000. Taken from a still of Brandos controversial film, The Wild One, the work exemplifies Warhols obsession with celebrity and Hollywood. All the other works by Warhol in the sale performed well with the Last Supper (estimate: $6-9 million) achieving $8,777,000 and Campbell's Soup Can (Pepper Pot) (estimate: $6-8 million) selling for $7,097,000, demonstrating Warhols lasting influence on the market.
The catalogues cover lot, Jeff Koonss New Hoover Convertibles, New Shelton Wet/Drys 5-Gallon, Double Decker (estimate on request), achieved $11,801,000. Conceived and executed from 1981 to 1986, the work forms part of the celebrated series known as "The New.
Further sale highlights tonight included Clyfford Stills, 1946 (PH-182) (estimate: $8-12 million), which totaled $14,041,000, and a spectacular Abstraktes Bild by Gerhard Richter, which achieved $14,601,000, the second highest total for a work by the artist. Tom Wesselmanns, Smoker #9, 1973 (estimate: $4-6 million) totaled $6,761,000 - a world auction record for the artist.
Additional world auction records were established for Princes Man Crazy Nurse #2 (estimate: $6-8 million), which sold for $7,433,000 Barnett Newmans Untitled, which achieved $5,193,000 and Indianas USA 666, The 6th American Dream, which totaled $1,833,000.
The nights proceedings also included the Christies Realty International, Inc. sale of Richard Neutras Kaufmann House. Along with Mies van der Rohes Farnsworth House and Philip Johnsons Glass House, Neutras Kaufmann House is one of the most important examples of modernist residential architecture in the Americas and remains singular as the most important example of mid-century modernist architecture in the Americas to remain in private hands. It sold for $16,841,000 and the buyer exercised an option to buy the orchard, taking the total for the house to $19,025,000.
The sales will continue tomorrow with the Morning and Afternoon Sessions of Post-War and Contemporary Art.