Warhol, Koons part of $412 million sale at Christie's
On Wednesday, Christie's held its largest-ever postwar and contemporary sale, setting records for eight artists including Franz Kline, Jeff Koons, Donald Judd and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
The $412.3 million tally last night in New York surpassed the high estimate of $411.8 million. Just six of 73 lots failed to find buyers. Presale estimates don't include the buyer's premium, while the sale total does.
“It's a perfect storm of having good quality and fresh material,” said Todd Levin, director of Levin Art Group in New York. “People seem comfortable taking excess capital and putting it into art.”
At the auction, Andy Warhol's 1962 “Statue of Liberty” was the top lot, selling for $43.8 million. It had belonged to German entrepreneur Erich Marx, whose art collection became the core of the Hamburger Bahnhof contemporary-art museum in Berlin.
It was later acquired by the Daros Collection in Zurich, which sold it privately to the current undisclosed consignor, according to Brett Gorvy, chairman and international head of postwar and contemporary art at Christie's.
Another Warhol, a 1966 portrait of leather-clad Marlon Brando on a motorcycle, went for $23.7 million. The work was consigned by Donald L. Bryant, a former trustee of the Museum of Modern Art, who bought it for $5 million at Christie's in 2003.
“I was prepared to go to $40 million,” said art dealer David Nahmad, the patriarch of the family, who won the bidding. “For me, it was the best buy of the sale.”
An untitled 1981 Basquiat painting fetched $26.4 million, exceeding his previous record of $20.1 million set by Christie's in London in June.
Depicting a skeletal figure with a halo above his head and fish in his hand, the work was shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York in the early 1990s and at the Beyeler Foundation in Basel in 2010.
Koons's record was for the sculpture “Tulips” (1995-2004). At $33.7 million, it was the second-priciest work for a living artist. It smashed his previous record of $25.8 million, set for a “Balloon flower — Magenta” sculpture in London in 2008.
“These artists have achieved a level of recognition globally,” said Jussi Pylkkanen, president of Christie's Europe, Middle East and Russia. “No one questions their quality. The only question is how much you have to pay to acquire one.”
The record Kline sold for $40.4 million, quadrupling his previous auction record of $9.3 million, achieved Tuesday at Sotheby's. The untitled work, more than 6 feet high and 9 feet wide, depicts black brush strokes colliding on a white background.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- South Butler students push composting as a way to slow food waste
- Former police officer who was indicted found dead in Massachusetts home
- Miami (Fla.) gets prepared to take on ‘physical’ Pitt team
- Amazon raises bar for other retailers with same-day delivery
- Steelers notebook: Linebacker Timmons hoping for contract extension
- School lunch group hopes to revise rules it calls impractical, too restrictive
- Holiday shopping season off to early start in Mon Valley
- Penguins 4th line is showing promise
- Pittsburgh nonprofit 412 Food Rescue takes surplus food to needy
- Western Pa. dairies get creative to ensure eggnog supply
- Holiday spirit alive & well in Mon Valley