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Global bidding results in highest total for a February Evening Auction of Post-war & Contemporary Art at Christie's
Jussi Pylkkänen, President of Christie’s EMERI, selling the top lot of the sale: Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Museum Security (Broadway Meltdown) painted in 1983 it sold for £9.3 million / $14.6 million. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2013.

LONDON.- On 13 February, Christie’s London evening auction of Post-War & Contemporary Art realised a total of £81,668,850 / $127,730,081 / € 94,654,197, selling 96% by value and achieving the highest total for a February Evening Auction of Post-War & Contemporary Art at Christie’s London.

The top price of the evening was paid for Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Museum Security (Broadway Meltdown), which sold for £9,337,250 / $14,603,459 / €10,821,873 (estimate: £7 to £9 million) (illustrated above). A selection of works offered from the collection of Mrs. Ingvild Goetz realised £4,286,750 ($6,704,477 / €4,968,343), achieving three times the low pre-sale estimate.

Francis Outred, International Director and Head of Post-War & Contemporary Art, Christie’s Europe: “An exciting night of Christie’s theatre saw Jussi Pylkannen excelling in the face of an unprecedented volume of bidding from around the world. Some works carried up to fourteen phone lines, as the thirst for post-war & contemporary art continues to develop. Five world records were achieved, including for Peter Doig and Pierre Soulages, the new and the old masters in our field, alongside the consistent growth of the market for Basquiat, Bacon, Hockney and Richter. Christie’s was privileged to be able to present a selection of special works generously offered by Mrs. Ingvild Goetz, which achieved three times the pre-sale low estimate raising funds for the much needed and under-supported causes of anorexia and asylum seekers.”

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Museum Security (Broadway Meltdown) sold for £9,337,250/ $14,603,459/ €10,821,873 (estimate: £7,000,000-9,000,000). A world renowned masterpiece it was completed in 1983, at the very pinnacle of the artist’s ascent to international critical acclaim. Included in the Whitney Biennial in 1984, the painting was also exhibited in Basquiat’s second solo show at Gagosian in LA as well as in the most recent major retrospective of the artist’s work at the Fondation Beyeler, Basel. This extraordinary, large scale painting perfectly encapsulates the artist’s powerful downtown graffiti style and vocabulary that marks the very best works in his oeuvre.

Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes Bild (2004) sold for £8,441,250 / $13,202,115 / €9,783,409 (estimate on request). A majestic abstract painting and one of the most important examples from the artist’s late oeuvre, it demonstrates Richter having mastered his practice, recalling his opulent abstracts from the early 1990s including the suite of four Bach abstract paintings now housed in the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden and importantly prefiguring Richter’s major suite of Cage paintings (2006).

Peter Doig’s The Architect’s Home in the Ravine (1991) sold for £7,657,250 / $11,975,939 / € 8,874,753 setting a new world record price for the artist at auction (estimate: £4,000,000-6,000,000). Formerly in the Saatchi Collection, this epic masterpiece dates from a pivotal moment in the artist’s career. It recreates Canadian architect Eberhard Zeidler’s modernist home in Rosedale at the heart of the Toronto ravine. The work was painted shortly after Doig’s graduation from the Chelsea College of Art and Design when he was awarded the prestigious Whitechapel Artist Prize culminating in a solo exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1991. Many of the works from this period are now housed within international museum collections including: The House that Jacques Built (1992), Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Boiler House (1994), promised to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Ski Jacket (1994), Tate Modern, London. When it first appeared at auction in June 2002 in London, The Architect’s Home in the Ravine realised £314,650 setting a record price for the artist. It was sold again in New York in May 2007 when it fetched $3.6 million.

Francis Bacon’s Man in Blue VI (1954) sold for £4,969,250 / $7,771,907 / €5,759,361 (estimate: £4,000,000-6,000,000). The penultimate painting in Bacon’s seminal suite of Man in Blue paintings (1954), Man in Blue VI is a stirring and profoundly perceptive portrait of existential, post-War Europe. Three paintings from this landmark series are now housed in museums including Man in Blue I, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Man in Blue IV, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna and Man in Blue V, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfalen, Düsseldorf. Man in Blue VI was acquired by the previous owner in 1971 for £31,000 and has been in their possession ever since.

David Hockney’s Great Pyramid at Giza with Broken Head from Thebes sold for £3,513,250 / $5,494,723 / €4,071,857, becoming the 2nd highest price for the artist at auction (estimate: 2,500,000-3,500,000). A unique, landmark painting, it stands as the only canvas to commemorate Hockney’s first trip to Egypt at the age of 26. Egypt had long been a source of fascination for Hockney, first appearing as a theme in his work as early as 1961. The fascination developed through his encounter with ancient Egyptian art at the Pergamon Museum, Berlin, as well as his admiration for Greek-Alexandrian poet Constantine P. Cavafy. It was only in 1963 however, at the age of twenty-six that Hockney was eventually to travel to the country. Forming part of an important British collection for more than forty years, this is the first time that this painting has ever been seen at auction. Christie's holds the current auction record for Hockney with Beverly Hills Housewife which realized $7,922,500 in New York in May 2009.

Allen Jones’s Table, Chair, Hatstand sold for £2,169,250 / $3,392,707 / €2,514,161, setting a world record price for a set by the artist at auction (estimate: £1,500,000-2,000,000). A true icon of Pop, this subversive ménage of sculptures was executed in 1969 at the height of the British artist’s career. Jones grew out of the wave of Pop art that was spreading across Britain and the United States during the ‘Swinging Sixties’. Schooled by Richard Hamilton at the Royal College of Art, he was one of a new generation of British artists including David Hockney challenging conventions and embracing their sexuality.

Damien Hirst’s Away from the Flock (Divided) sold for £1,945,250 / $3,042,371 / €2,254,545 (estimate: £1,800,000-2,500,000). A single sheep, suspended within two perfectly proportioned Minimalist tanks, it is an early masterpiece from Hirst’s celebrated Natural History series. Created in 1995, the same year Damien Hirst was awarded the Turner Prize, this work follows in a sequence of important bisected Natural History works. A key early work, Hirst created four versions of Away from the Flock, with this work being the sole bisected example. The sheep has become an important symbol for Hirst: first realised in 1994 for the group exhibition curated by Hirst, ‘Some Went Mad, Some Ran Away’, at the Serpentine Gallery, London, Hirst created the seminal work Away from the Flock, now housed in the collection of Tate and National Galleries of Scotland.

Michelangelo Pistoletto’s Autoritratto del 62 (Self-Portrait of 62) realised £1,273,250 ⁄ $1,991,363 ⁄ €1,475,697 doubling the previous artist record also set at Christie's London in October 2012, when Metrocubo d’infinito (Cubic Meter of Infinity) (1966) sold for £690,850 / $1,105,360 / €858,727.

A selection of works offered from the Collection Mrs. Ingvild Goetz totalled £4,286,750 / $6,704,477 / €4,968,343 (combined pre-sale estimate: £1,550,000-2,110,000). The top lot from the collection was Christopher Wool’s Mad Cow, a 1997 painting realised on a large-scale aluminium panel which sold for £2,281,250 / $3,567,875 / €2,643,969 (lot 4; estimate: £700,000-900,000). The remaining 120 works of art from the celebrated collection of Mrs. Goetz will be offered in London over two additional auctions, one tomorrow (14 February) (lots 101-163) and one in April 2013. The proceeds of the sales will benefit Mrs. Goetz’s long-term philanthropic projects, including support for charitable organisations which battle anorexia and the improvement of the conditions for asylum seekers, a cause that she has embraced for many years.

Today's News

February 14, 2013

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Global bidding results in highest total for a February Evening Auction of Post-war & Contemporary Art at Christie's

Columbus Museum of Art welcomes Tyler Cann as its new Associate Curator of Contemporary Art

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