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Christie's Evening Auctions of Post-War & Contemporary Art and the Italian Sale total $62.4 million
The top price was paid for Martin Kippenberger’s Untitled (from the series Hand-Painted Pictures) (1992), which sold for £3,117,250 ($5,083,600 ⁄ €3,949,322), a world record price for the artist at auction. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2012.

LONDON.- On October 11, Christie’s London evening auctions of Post-War & Contemporary Art and The Italian Sale realised a combined total of £41,183,300 / $62,359,680 / €48,445,676.

The top price of the evening was paid for Martin Kippenberger’s Untitled (from the series Hand-Painted Pictures), which was sold for £3,117,250 ($5,083,600 ⁄ €3,949,322), a world record price for the artist at auction.

In total 8 lots sold for over £1 million and 16 lots for over $1 million.

Overall 9 artist records were set.

The Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Auction realised a total of £23,020,650 / $36,833,040 / €28,614,668, selling 87% by value.

The top price was paid for Martin Kippenberger’s Untitled (from the series Hand-Painted Pictures) (1992), which sold for £3,117,250 ($5,083,600 ⁄ €3,949,322), a world record price for the artist at auction.

4 lots sold for over £1 million / 10 for over $1 million.

With buyers from 18 countries across 4 continents, 25% of lots sold above estimate and record prices at auction were established for 4 artists, including Martin Kippenberger (1953-1997), Idris Khan (B. 1978), Rebecca Warren (B. 1965) and Jonathan Wateridge (B. 1972).

Francis Outred, International Director and Head of Post-War & Contemporary Art, Christie’s Europe: “Tonight’s auctions made a combined total of £41.1 million, selling 91% by value. Nine world artist records were set overall, most notably for the two cover lots: the Pistoletto’s ‘Metrocubo d’infinito’ and the ‘Self-portrait’ by Kippenberger. We saw 43 different buyers for 45 works of art in the Post-War and Contemporary Art auction, reflecting the continuing attraction and depth of interest in Post-War & Contemporary Art, as well as Christie’s convening power. The first three lots of the evening auction were by exciting young artists completely fresh to the forum and they substantially outgrew their estimates as well as their retail prices, marking a real statement in this Frieze week.”

• Martin Kippenberger’s Untitled (from the series Hand-Painted Pictures) (1992), sold for £3,117,250 ($5,083,600 ⁄ €3,949,322), a world record price for the artist at auction and the top price in the Evening Auction (lot 14). A masterpiece of Kippenberger’s oeuvre, it was previously exhibited in the major retrospectives of the artist’s work held at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris in 1993, Tate Modern, London in 2006, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and The Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2009. In Untitled Kippenberger has painted a trinity of figurative elements with the greatest of alacrity: the artist’s two expertly realised hands and carefully modulated face offering an almost sculptural quality. Painted on the island of Syros, Greece in 1992, the unflinching gaze and stark presentation of Untitled has a Byzantine air, reminiscent of a religious icon.

• Gerhard Richter’s 5 Türen II (5 Doors 2) (1967), sold for £2,169,250 ($3,470,800 / €2,696,378). Marking an important, constructive step forward in Gerhard Richter’s post-modern practice 5 Türen II (5 Doors 2) was painted in 1967. One of two works to depict five doors, the other, 5 Türen I (1967) is housed in the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, where each of the doors opens in step to reveal more and more of the evacuated room behind.

• By far the largest painting of the Bullfight series ever seen at auction, Areneros y muleros by Miquel Barceló sold for £2,057,250 ($3,291,600 / €2,557,162).

• Jonathan Wateridge’s monumental painting entitled Jungle Scene With Plane Wreck sold for £313,250 ($501,200 ⁄ €389,370), setting a world record price for the artist at auction. It was the first time that a work by the artist was offered in an evening auction. This work is the last of Wateridge’s seven critically acclaimed theatrical and large-scale ‘crash series’, which depict crashed planes and ships rusting away in fictional landscapes.

• Also offered for the first time in an evening auction, Rebecca Warren’s masterpiece Croccioni sold for £109,250 ($174,800 ⁄ €135,798), a world record price for the artist at auction. An early work by the artist, it was executed in 2000, at a time when Warren was gaining critical momentum before her Turner Prize nomination in 2006.

The Italian Sale achieved £18,162,650 / $25,526,640 / €19,831,008. It was 96% sold by value.

The top price was paid for Piero Manzoni‘s Achrome, which realised £2,617,250 ($3,680,000 / €2,858,900).

4 lots sold for over £1 million / 6 for over $1 million.

5 artist records were set for works by Fausto Melotti, Vettor Pisani, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Paola Pivi and Arnaldo Pomodoro.

Mariolina Bassetti, Vice Chairman of Christie's Italy, International Director in the Post-War & Contemporary Art Department and Head of the Sale: “This auction achieved the strongest selling rates and the 2nd highest total since we first held a sale dedicated to 20th Century Italian art at Christie’s London in 2000. These results illustrate the truly global appeal of this category with buyers from 10 different countries. We are particularly happy to have established five record prices for artists who are becoming increasingly admired on the international stage. Perhaps most pleasing was the price realised by Michelangelo Pistoletto’s Metrocubo d’Infinito which is not only a tribute to the artist, but also to the taste of its former owner, Graziella Buontempo, one of the greatest early ambassadors of modern Italian art.”

• Piero Manzoni‘s kaolin-coated Achrome sold for £2,617,250 ($3,680,000 / €2,858,900). This work belongs to a rare group of canvas Achromes that Manzoni began to make around 1959.

• Lucio Fontana’s Concetto spaziale, Attese (1966), an outstanding example of this famous series, sold for £2,505,250 ($3,520,000 / €2,734,600). Formerly in the renowned collection of Hans and Ursula Hahn, this work had been exhibited in museums from the day it was made until last year.

• Michelangelo Pistoletto’s Metrocubo d’Infinito (Cubic Metre of Infinity) (1966) sold for £690,850 ($1,105,369 / €858,727), a world record price for the artist at auction. Arguably the most important of a series of pioneering Arte Povera works, Metrocubo d’Infinito was offered from the collection of the late Graziella Buontempo, a 20th century major collector and international ambassador of Italian contemporary art.

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October 12, 2012

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