On Tuesday in London, Christie’s hosted its June postwar and contemporary evening sale, grossing £45.2 million, or about $57.6 million, across 32 lots. The sell-through rate was a healthy 94 percent by lot, with only two pieces—by Rose Wylie and Ron Mueck—failing to find buyers.
The top lot of the evening was a 1961 Jean Dubuffet painting, Cérémonie, which sold for £8.72 million ($11.1 million), squarely in the middle of its £7 million-to-£10 million estimate ($7.96 million–$11.37 million) with the addition of buyer’s premium.
Following close behind the Dubuffet was Jean-Michel Basquiat’s brushy, bright-red Sabado por la Noche (Saturday Night), 1984, which realized £8.38 million ($10.7 million) on an estimate of £7.5 million–£11 million ($9.52 million–$14 million).
A stark, brooding Francis Bacon painting, Man at a Washbasin (ca. 1954), achieved £5.11 million ($6.51 million), on the low end of its £5 million-to-£7 million estimate ($6.34 million–$8.88 million).
As for more recent works, a new auction record was set for the closely watched New York artist Tschabalala Self, with her vibrantly colored figurative piece Out of Body (2015) flying past its £60,000 high estimate ($76,100) to a £370,000 finish ($469,500).
Also overachieving was Cecily Brown, whose Blonde Eating Birds (2011–12) surpassed its estimate of £800,000 to £1.2 million ($1.02 million–$1.52 million), making £1.57 million ($2 million). Jonas Wood saw his Diet 7Up Frimkess Pot (2016) go for exactly the same price, squarely within its estimate of £1.2 million to £1.8 million ($1.52 million to $2.28 million).
KAWS, who had one of his pieces sell for an eye-popping $14.7 million at a sale in Hong Kong earlier this year, remained strong. His NYT (COMPANION CLOSE UP) Brown (2013) sold right for a just-above-estimate £1.81 million ($2.31 million).
The action continues tomorrow at Sotheby’s, which will be hosting its own sale of contemporary art.