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Emerging Artists Top Christie’s Open House Sale

Christie’s third Open House sale, held in New York on June 30, realized $5.4 million, underscoring the strength of the middle market for Postwar and contemporary art, with works by contemporary African American artists selling particularly well.

NEW YORK—Christie’s third Open House sale, held in New York on June 30, realized $5.4 million, underscoring the strength of the middle market for Postwar and contemporary art, with works by contemporary African American artists selling particularly well.

The top lot was an untitled abstract 1960 painting by Turkish artist Orhon Mubin (1924–1981) that soared past the estimate of $10,000/15,000 to take $374,500, a new record for the artist. Another 1960 abstract painting by Mubin was the second-highest lot, selling for $200,500, also far above expectations (estimate: $10,000/15,000).

A new record was set for Beauford Delaney when a bright yellow, untitled 1961 canvas brought $104,500 (estimate: $30,000/50,000). Erica Barrish, head of the sale, said that “emerging African American artists from prominent private collections proved their profound importance and permanence in the global market.” She noted that records were set for Carrie Mae Weems, Barkley Hendricks and Norman Lewis as well as Delaney.

Weems’s set of four framed prints with sand-blasted text on glass, titled You Became a Scientific Profile/An Anthropological Debate/A Negroid Type/& A Photographic Subject, sold for a record $56,250 (estimate: $20,000/30,000). Jacob Lawrence’s Flight #1 (Walking in the Rain), brought $122,500 from a U.S. dealer, just over the $120,000 low estimate. And Leon Golub’s 3 Heads (I), 1986, nearly quadrupled expectations to sell for $158,500 (estimate: $30,000/40,000).

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