Christie's sale reflects robust art market
NEW YORK — Francis Bacon's “Three Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards,” depicting his longtime companion in twisted poses, fetched $80.8 million at Christie's on Tuesday.
The triptych's sale in New York fell within of the estimated range of $75 million to $95 million. The 1984 work, showing the artist's confidant sitting on a stool with his leg crossed over his knee against a pale green background, fell short of the $142.4 million achieved for Bacon's “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” in November. Bacon's Freud triptych holds the record for the most expensive artwork sold at auction.
The Bacon went on sale early during Christie's 72-lot auction of postwar and contemporary art, which is expected to bring about $500 million. It was one of 40 guaranteed lots in the sale, up from 15 a year ago, which means the sellers receive an undisclosed minimum price regardless of whether the work sells. The auction is continuing.
Prices for top-tier postwar and contemporary artworks are on the rise as collectors view them as investments and status symbols. Christie's, Sotheby's and Phillips this week expect to sell as much as $1.5 billion of art. The sales are part of the semi-annual auctions in New York, considered important barometers of the art market's health. Prices include commissions; estimates don't.
Global annual sales of postwar and contemporary art increased by 11 percent in 2013, with a highest-ever auction tally of $6.7 billion, according to a report published in March by the European Fine Art Foundation. New York confirmed its position as the center for the biggest auction and gallery transactions, according to Clare McAndrew, a cultural economist who compiled the report.
Christie's sold $134.6 million of contemporary art on Monday in New York in an hour in an auction titled “If I Live I'll See You Tuesday,” taken from a Richard Prince work. International buyers from 26 countries helped Christie's surpass its high target of $124.1 million for the sale.
Two works from Andy Warhol's “Death and Disaster” series sold for a combined $100 million.
Warhol's “Race Riot, 1964” sold Tuesday for $62.9 million, exceeding the auction estimate of $45 million.
His 1962 “White Marilyn” painting of Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe sold for $41 million, well above its estimated $12 million to $18 million.
Both Warhol paintings caused fierce bidding at Christie's auction of postwar and contemporary works.
“Race Riot, 1964” is a rare four-panel painting of the Birmingham, Alabama, race riots. “White Marilyn” was painted shortly after Monroe took her life. A Martin Kippenberger painting from 1988 of a slouching man in his underwear was the top lot sold, fetching $18.6 million. The painting had a high estimate of $12 million.
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.
- Trio to serve time in rock attack off interstate
- Former firefighter guilty of estranged wife’s murder
- Kentucky county clerk Davis jailed for stand on same-sex marriage licenses
- Clinton aides pressed former State worker Pagliano to testify on use of email
- Virginia cop indicted in man’s slaying
- Railroads get 6-month pass on leaky cars
- Video may provide clues in manhunt for officer’s killers in Illinois
- 9 military labs halted amid fears over toxins
- Prosecutor to seek death penalty in South Carolina church shootings
- Pair of dust clouds shrouds storm-battered Phoenix
- Former Corinthian College students seek relief