Ai Weiwei work sets record at London contemporary art sale

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2015-06-26 11:27:19

A "seminal" work by Ai Weiwei has set a new record during a Phillips contemporary art sale in London.

The set of sculptures entitled 'Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads' sold for £2,882,500 ($4,381,400), the highest price ever paid at auction for a work by the controversial Chinese artist.

The work featured gold-plated heads of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac: the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. It was inspired by a similar series of sculptures which comprised an elaborate water clock at the Summer Palace of the Chinese Qianlong Emperor, built circa 1750-1764.

Together, the company's evening and day sales achieved a total of £21,144,200 ($32,350,600) and set six artist auction records in the process. Amongst the other notable results was Mark Bradford's 2013 work 'Biting the Book' which realized £2,546,500 ($3,870,680).

“We are delighted to have established artist records for seminal works by Ai Weiwei and Mark Bradford," said Peter Sumner, Director, Head of Contemporary Art, London. "This is our first evening auction in recent years in London to sell over 90% by lot. Our new London headquarters at Berkeley Square allow us to showcase artworks in their most favourable light, and we are welcoming increasing numbers of international collectors and enthusiasts."

"Together with the efforts of our global team of specialists, this has encouraged vendors to entrust us with works of the highest quality. We took bids in our Evening Sale from collectors in Europe, America, Asia and Africa, showing that we reach and attract collectors from around the world. We look forward to building on these results as we put together our next major Contemporary auctions which will take place in New York in May and London in June.”

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