LONDON—Christie’s fit two quite distinct contemporary art sales into the afternoon of Oct. 15—the final day of the Frieze Art Fair. The first, which related to the fair in its concentration on younger, living artists, realized £8.5 million ($15.8 million) for 87 lots.
The second, which comprised the Yoav Harlap Collection, consisted mainly of postwar American pop and its European equivalent, nouveau realism. This higher-value sale made £9.7 million ($18 million) for 35 lots, allowing Christie’s to claim a market lead with a £19.2 million ($35.5 million) total. This includes £932,200 ($1.7 million) realized in a benefit sale, which comprised 22 of the 87 contemporary art sale lots.
Two days later, on Oct. 17, Christie’s day, or Part Two, sale of postwar and contemporary art realized an additional £9.2 million ($17 million) toward its overall £44 million total.
Of the Oct. 15 sales, the top prices included: the £3.7 million, or $6.9 million (estimate: £2.5/3.5 million), given for a 4-foot-square Andy Warhol Flowers, 1964; and a record £1.4 million, or $2.6 million (estimate: £400,000/600,000), paid for Tom Wesselmann’s Great American Nude #88, 1967, both by phone bidders.
Christie’s opened with a benefit sale of 22 lotsthat raised £932,200 ($1.7 million) for the Michael Clark Dance Company. The largest contributions came from Damien Hirst when£380,000($706,800) was given for his new, large spot painting Beclomethasone Dipropionate, 2006(estimate: £150,000/200,000); and from Cecily Brown when a Spanish phone bidder paid £160,000 ($297,600) for her small diptych What You Need, 2006 (estimate: £25,000/35,000).
Other notable contributions came from Sarah Lucas, whose Icon, 2006, went for £80,000, or $148,800 (estimate: £80,000/120,000), to her dealer Sadie Coles; and Gary Hume, whose erotic 2006 picture In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, in gloss on aluminum, sold to U.K. collector David Roberts for £60,000, or $111,600 (estimate: £40,000/60,000).
An auction record was set for sculptor Don Brown when Yoko XIV, 2006, fell for £18,000 ($33,480) to Roberts (estimate: £10,000/12,000); and for Jim Lambie when his Hip Priest sculpture sold for £30,000, or $55,800 (estimate: £15,000/20,000).
A record was set for Rebecca Warren when her clay sculpture, D D, 2006, brought £14,000, or $26,000 (estimate: £8,000/12,000); and for Nicola Tyson when Coles paid £20,000 ($37,200) for Self Portrait : Topless, 2003, (estimate: £10,000/15,000).
While the charity section of the sale was a sell- out, the mixed-owner section told a slightly different story. Of the remaining 55 lots of this sale, 13 lots, or almost 25 percent, were unsold, which is a high percentage in the current market. These included works by British artists Gilbert and George, Lucas, Tim Noble and Sue Webster and Rachel Whiteread; Belgian painters Luc Tuymans and Michaël Borremans; and German painter Dirk Skreber.
The results sent out a warning to overambitious vendors about their estimates. Prices for Andreas Gursky also seemed to be on the wane as Singapore Börse, 1997, last sold in February for £198,000, brought £120,000 ($223,200); and Untitled IV (Prada I), 1996, last sold in 2002 at Christie’s for £204,650, won £165,000 ($306,900).
However, overall—and despite a few blips at Sotheby’s—prices for new wave German painters held up.
Two paintings by Tim Eitel— Nacht, 2003, and GfZK Schwarz, 2001, sold over estimates for £96,000 ($178,500) and £108,000 ($200,000), respectively. An interior by Matthias Weischer, O.T., 2003 surpassed estimates, selling for £209,600 ($389,856), while a 2001 tower-block painting by Weischer, also titled O.T., fetched £96,000, or $178,500 (estimate: £50,000/70,000) from John Austin, a London dealer.
Richter Works Prevail
Daniel Richter looked to be the strongest of the group all week. In this sale his Blue, 1995, fell for £102,000, or $189,700 (estimate: £60,000/80,000); and his Süden, 2002, sold for a record £288,000, or $535,700 (estimate: £150,000/200,000).
Records were set for other young German artists, including Anton Henning (£54,000, or $100,440); Thoralf Knobloch (£31,200, or $58,000); and Jonathan Meese (£42,000, or $78,120).
Altogether, Christie’s claimed 20 record prices in the sale. Ghada Amer’s large Untitled (The Big Blue Expression Painting BBEP), 1999-2000, sold to a French collector for £120,000, or $223,200(estimate: £100,000/150,000). Fischli and Weiss’s rubber Drawer Small Cupboard, Divider, 1987, earned £192,800, or $358,600 (estimate: £100,000/150,000). And Jake and Dinos Chapman’s The Whimper, 2006, a take on Edvard Munch’s The Scream, made £78,000, or $145,000 (estimate: £20,000/30,000).
In addition, Two-Wheel Wagon-Wheel Chandelier . . ., 2004, which was Jason Rhoades’ first significant work at auction, sold for a record £84,000, or $156,200 (estimate: £70,000/90,000). The same held true for Gillian Carnegie, whose Untitled, 1998, won £31,200, or $58,000 (estimate: £15,000/20,000). Hiroshi Sugimoto’s large print Tyrrhenian Sea, Conca, 1994, made the highest price for a single print by the artist, selling to an Asian buyer for £377,600, or $702,300 (estimate: £150,000/200,000).
Three Chinese Artists Score Records
One area of interest, as at Sotheby’s and Phillips de Pury & Company, was the inclusion of several works by contemporary Chinese artists. Three further records were set here as Yan Peiming’s Mao, 1999, sold to a phone bidder for £310,400, or $577,300 (estimate: £120,000/180,000). Wang Guangyi’s Porsche, 2005, took £209,600, or $389,856 (estimate: £50,000/70,000); and Zhang Xiaogang’s large “bloodline” painting A Big Family Series, 1995, earned £769,600, or $1.4 million (estimate: £320,000/380,000), both works going to Charles Saatchi.
Saatchi sales at this auction included Thomas Scheibitz’s Brillux, 1999, which brought £120,000, or $223,200 (estimate: £100,000/150,000); and Michael Raedecker’s Perspective, 1998, which produced a record £114,000, or $212,000 (estimate: £50,000/70,000). However, Hermann Nitsch’s Splatter Painting, 1986, did not sell (estimate: £30,000/40,000).
Other buyers at the sale included London dealer Offer Waterman, who paid a record £299,200 ($556,500) for Glenn Brown’s Disco, 1997-98 (estimate: £180,000/220,000); Portuguese dealer Victor Pires-Vieira, who bought both Martin Eder’s Das Klopfen aus Holz, 2004, for £96,000, or $178,500 (estimate: £30,000/40,000), and Eberhard Havekost’s Sonnenuntergang 1, 1999, for £48,000, or $89,280 (estimate: £60,000/80,000); and London collector Guy Naggar, who acquired Richard Prince’s Cowboy, 1999, for £321,600, or $598,200 (estimate: £120,000/180,000).
Christie’s postwar and contemporary art sale on Oct. 17 contributed a significant portion of the total, taking $9.2 million for 270 lots offered.In all, 211, or 78 percent, found buyers. By dollar, the auction was 91 percent sold.
The top lot was Warhol’s 1981 Dollar Sign, which soared over the estimated £400,000/600,000 to fetch £1.5 million ($2.7 million) from a private buyer. Roy Lichtenstein’s Brushstroke Still Life with Lamp, 1997, sold for £534,400 or $994,000, nearly twice the high estimate of £250,000.