NEW YORK, NY.-
The quality, scope and innovative vision of the late author Michael Crichtons collection of contemporary art compelled buyers at Christies
on May 11. The focal point of the sale was Jasper Johns Flag, 1960-1966, selling for $28,642,500 million (£19,476,900/ 22,627,575) (estimate: $10 million-$15 million), the highest price ever achieved for a work by Johns at auction. The collection realized $93,323,500 (£63,459,980/ 73,725,565) and sold 100% by lot and by value, becoming one of the most significant.
Four bidders vied for the flag which took two minutes to sell ending at 6:55 pm. The winning bidder was a member of the U.S. art trade. Completed by Johns in 1966, the work, executed in encaustic, was purchased by Crichton over thirty years ago from the artists own collection. It was last seen in public in 1992 and was a key piece in the comprehensive and prized collection cultivated by the best-selling author of Jurassic Park. Johns iconic American flag are credited with jumpstarting the Pop art movement; paving the way for the avant garde works of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein in the mid 1960s. The previous record was for Johns Figure 4, 1959, encaustic and printed paper collage on canvas, sold at Christies in May 2005 for $17.4.
Another record was set for Mark Tanseys Push/Pull, 2003, sold for $3, 28300 (₤2,188,580/ 2,542,615) (estimate $800,000 to $1.2 million). The previous record for a Tansey was $3,040,000.
Further highlights included Ed Ruschas Voltage, 1964 that sold for $1,650,500 (₤776,900/ 902,575) (estimate $700,000 to $1 million), Robert Rauschenbergs Trapeze, 1964 which went for $6,354,500 (₤ 4,321,060/ 5,020,055) (estimate $5 million to $7 million) and Andy Warhols Mao, 1973 that sold for $2,378,500 (₤ 1,617,380/ 1,879,015).