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Christie's Evening Auctions of Post-War and Contemporary Art and the Italian Sale Realise $61.2 Million
Andreas Gursky, Stock Exchange, New York. Ektacolour, photograph. Estimate: £100,000-150,000. Final Price: £433,250 ($685,835), Photo: Christie´s Images Ltd 2010.

LONDON.- The evening auctions of Post-War and Contemporary Art and The Italian Sale realised a combined total of £38,213,050 / $61,179,093 / €43,371,811. The top price of the evening was paid for Cavaliere by Marino Marini (1901-1980) which led record-breaking Italian Sale and which sold for £4,465,250 /$7,148,865 /€5,068,059 – a world record price for the artist at auction. In total, 6 lots sold for over £1 million and 18 for over $1 million.

The corresponding auctions in October 2009 realised a combined total of £17 million, with 3 works selling for over £1 million and 5 for over $1 million.
Francis Outred, International Director and Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s Europe: ‘This is an exciting week in London as art lovers from around the world congregate in London for the events and sales surrounding Frieze. We have welcomed thousands of people through our doors for our exhibitions of modern and contemporary art this week, which have included the works offered this evening as well as highlights from New York. The buzz surrounding this week was evident in the saleroom which had a great atmosphere and which gathered a packed crowd, including many collectors new to Christie’s.”

Post-War and Contemporary Art
This evening’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction realised £19,585,400 / $31,356,225 / €22,229,429 against a pre-sale estimate of £15,970,000 to £22,710,000, selling 92% by value and 86% by lot. Buyer breakdown (by lot) was 66% Europe including the UK and 34% Americas. 4 lots sold for over £1 million / 9 for over $1 million.

Francis Outred, International Director and Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s Europe: “Today’s auctions built on the recent growth of confidence in the market for contemporary art and saw consistent bidding throughout. We welcomed many new collectors for the first time, a significant number of whom were bidding at high levels on some of the top lots at the sales, and there was particular excitement for works by many of the younger artists.”

The top price was paid for I am Become Death, Shatterer of Worlds, an epic butterfly painting by Damien Hirst (b.1965) which sold for £2,169,250 / $3,472,969 / €2,462,099. In total, 40% of lots sold above estimate and record prices at auction were established for 5 artists; Ged Quinn, Kelley Walker, Otto Piene, Roman Opalka and Liza Lou.

Further highlights included Kaikai Kiki, 2005, by Takashi Murakami (b. 1962) which realised £1,945,250 / $3,114,345 / €2,207,859 against an estimate of £400,000 to £600,000; and Negro Period, 1986, by Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) which achieved £1,497,250 / $2,397,097 / €1,699,379 (estimate: £1.2 million to £1.8 million).

The Italian Sale
The Italian Sale achieved the highest ever total for the category realising £18,627,650 / $29,822,868 / €21,142,382 against a pre-sale estimate of £14,263,000 to £20,188,000. It was 89% sold by value and 78% sold by lot. The top price was paid for Cavaliere by Marino Marini (1901-1980) which sold for £4,465,250 /$7,148,865 /€5,068,059 – a world record price for the artist at auction.
Buyer breakdown (by lot) was 22% Italy, 67% rest of Europe and 11% Americas. 2 lots sold for over £1 million / 9 for over $1 million.

Mariolina Bassetti, International Director in the Post-War & Contemporary Art Department and Co-Head of the Sale: “We are very pleased with the record result of this evening’s auction which was a celebration of 20th century Italian art. We exhibited the sale together with the auction of Post-War and Contemporary art and the growing international appreciation of the Italian art in particular was made evident by the record total achieved at this evening’s auction, 78% of which was acquired by collectors from outside of Italy.”

The Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Sale will take place tomorrow, 15 October 2010, at 1pm, and will offer 206 lots with a combined estimate of £7,085,500 to £10,027,500. It will present works by many established artists at a more accessible price level, including Andy Warhol and Peter Doig, as well as showcasing the work of many new, contemporary and cutting edge artists.
The auction will also present a selection of works on behalf of The Royal College of Art, who are seeking to raise funds for the third and final phase of the College’s campus in Battersea, south west London. The opportunity to have a portrait executed by the Chapman Brothers is expected to realise £15,000 to £20,000, while the RCA has also been donated works by further artists associated with the college, including David Hockney, Tracey Emin, Frank Auerbach, Paula Rego and the Estate of R.B. Kitaj.

Christie's | Francis Outred | Mariolina Bassetti | Post-War & Contemporary Art |

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