NEW YORK—Recent auctions at Christie’s London salerooms of postwar and contemporary art (April 5), and Old Master, 19th Century, modern and contemporary prints (March 28) scored strong results overall.
At Christie’s South Kensington outpost, postwar and contemporary art fetched £4.3 million ($8.4 million)—results far higher than usual for a mid-market auction. Print sales on March 28, at the auction house’s main King Street saleroom, brought £4.88 million, or $9.6 million. (Sotheby’s print sale in London on March 27 realized £4.46 million or $8.78 million; ANL, 4/2/07).
Jeremy Goldsmith, head of the postwar and contemporary art department at South Kensington, reports that the sale set a record for this category.
“Strong international bidding was seen across the board,” he notes. The auction featured a mix of modern, pop and contemporary art; it attracted strong interest from Asian as well as European buyers, particularly for the top lots. “Today’s sale,” Goldsmith observes, “continues to show the strength and breadth of the international art
Klein Comes In First
The highest price given was £400,800 ($791,179) for Yves Klein’s IKB 132, 1957 (estimate: £150,000/200,000), which fell to a European collector.
Works by Andy Warhol also figured prominently among the top lots. The second-highest price of £240,000 ($473,760) was given for Volkswagen Beetles, 1977 (estimate: £200,000/300,000), by a dealer. Other pictures by Warhol that found buyers: Blue Airmail Stamp, 1962, fetched £168,000, or $331,632 (estimate: £80,000/120,000); and Eva Mudocci brought £132,000, or $260,568 (estimate: £25,000/35,000).
A painting finished just last year, Communist Sister (I Love You, I Kill You), 2006, by Ling Jian (b. 1963), realized £102,000, or $201,348 (estimate: £20,000/30,000), from a U.K. collector, setting a new record for the artist at auction and underscoring the heated demand for contemporary Chinese art.
Comments Goldsmith: “Chinese contemporary art was well-received, appealing as it did to a wide range of collectors at all levels.”
Among other works that realized strong prices were: Martin Kippenberger’s Zug (From Uno di Voi, un Tedesco in Firenze), 1976, which sold for £96,000, or $189,504 (estimate: £60,000/80,000); Antoni Tapies’ Gat, 1993, which took £90,000, or £177,660 (estimate: £60,000/80,000); and Frank Stella’s Green Solitaire, 1980, which went for £105,600, or $208,454 (estimate: £35,000/45,000).
Picasso Print Doubles Expectations
At the Christie’s print auction, the top price went for Pablo Picasso’s Portrait de Françoise à la Résille 1953. The work attracted £300,000, ($588,900), generously doubling the high estimate of £150,000.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s La danse au Moulin Rouge, 1897, earned £216,000, or $424,008 (estimate: £150,000/250,000); and his Idylle princière, 1897, took £180,000, or $353,340 (estimate: £120,000/180,000).
Richard Lloyd, head of the sale, notes that “superb prices were achieved for the fine Francisco de Goya proofs from the artist’s ‘Disasters of War’ series.” These included £144,000 ($282,672), for La Tauromaquia, 1816 (estimate: £120,000/150,000); and £108,000 ($212,004) for Ya no hay tiempo, circa 1810, which far surpassed its estimate of £25,000/35,000).
Cy Twombly’s Sketches, a complete set of six etchings, 1967, earned £84,000, or $164,892 (estimate: £40,000/60,000). Christie’s Lloyd points to the “notably balanced demand for all the periods which we offer.”
Andy Warhol’s Cowboys and Indians, a complete set of ten screenprints in colors, 1986, sold for £78,000, or $153,114 (estimate: £40,000/60,000).