Christie's NY Contemporary Art sale brings almost $450 million
The latest contemporary art sale at Christie's in New York has achieved almost $450 million in sales this week.
The auction on May 17 saw 68 artworks sold for a combined total of $448,062,000, with many appearing on the market for the very first time.
Leading the auction was Cy Twombly's masterpiece Leda and the Swan, painted in 1962.
Described as "a remarkable painting that has been pursued by collectors for decades", the work had remained unseen by the public for more than 25 years, and sold for $52,887,500.
It was one of two artworks to break the $50 million mark – the other being Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for a Portrait of George Dyer, which realised $51,767,500.
Dating from 1963, Bacon's triptych was the first portrait he ever painted of his former lover and muse Dyer, and had formerly belonged to the celebrated children's author Roald Dahl.
Further notable results included Jean-Michel Basquiat’s La Hara, painted during his breakthrough year of 1981, which sold for $34,967,500; Roy Lichtenstein’s Red and White Brushstrokes, a Pop Art masterwork which auctioned for the first time in its history for $28,247,500; and Andy Warhol’s Big Campbell’s Soup Can with Can Opener (Vegetable), 1962, an early hand-painted work from his iconic series, which realised $27,500,000.
"If we needed proof of the strength of the art market, we have it," said Christie’s CEO Guillaume Cerutti. "If we needed proof of the strength of Christie’s, we have it."
"The strength was in the collections," added Sara Friedlander, Head of the Post-War and Contemporary Art department at Christie’s in New York. "Eighty-five per cent of the works in the sale were fresh to market, or had been off the market for 20-plus years."
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