ARTnewsletter Archive

Zao Wou-Ki the Leader at Christie’s Mid-Market Auction

Christie’s middle-market sale of postwar and contemporary art, held in South Kensington, England, on April 6, brought £1.5 million ($2.8 million) and was 69 percent sold by lot, 84 percent by value.

NEW YORK—Christie’s middle-market sale of postwar and contemporary art, held in South Kensington, England, on April 6, brought £1.5 million ($2.8 million) and was 69 percent sold by lot, 84 percent by value.

The top lot was Zao Wou-Ki’s Va et Vient, 1954, which fetched £90,000, or $169,470 (estimate: £30,000/40,000) from an Asian collector. Two works by Sean Scully also figured in the top ten: Floating Painting #4, 1998, was sold for £63,600, or $119,759 (estimate: £30,000/40,0000); and Berg, 1995, took £48,000, or $90,384 (estimate: £25,000/35,000).

Christie’s specialists Gower Williams and Anthony McNerney, who headed the sale, stated that they had observed “strong bidding across the broad spectrum of the art offered. We are particularly pleased with the result for Zao Wou-Ki.”

Two works by Christo also sold well: Abu Dhabi Mastaba, 1979, was bought by a European dealer for £25,200, or $47,452 (estimate: £10,000/15,000), while Store Front, 1964, sold for £24,000, or $45,192 (estimate: £10,000/15,000).

Christie’s sale of Impressionist and modern art on the following day, also produced strong results. Of 240 works on offer, 200, or 83 percent, were sold. The auction realized £1.14 million ($2.2 million) and was 89 percent sold by value.

Many of the top lots exceeded estimates, including Pablo Picasso’s Poissons, which took £78,000, or $146,874 (estimate: £20,000/30,000), and René Magritte’s Le puits de verité, 1967, which brought £50,400, or $94,903 (estimate: £25,000/35,000).

Specialists Williams and Deborah Park said “strong bidding was again witnessed, with a large proportion of new private buyers for the Picasso ceramics and the Soviet social realist paintings…. Many lots exceeded their presale estimates and prompted fierce competitive bidding.” For instance, Lenin in October, a 1967 oil on canvas, by Ignor Reznik, brought £19,200 ($36,154), far surpassing the £4,000/6,000 estimate when a private South American buyer scored the winning bid.

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