Gerhard Richter painting sets World Record for living artist

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2015-06-26 10:59:51

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Gerhard Richter painting sets World Record for living artist

The latest Contemporary Art Evening Sale at Sotheby’s saw five new world record prices set, as it achieved a total of almost $294 million.

The sale, held in New York, saw bidders from 32 countries battling it out for important works spanning 70 years of art history. Headlining the auction were three paintings by Barnett Newman, Gerhard Richter and Francis Bacon – two of which were sold for new record prices.

Topping the sale was Newman’s ‘Onement VI’, a monumental masterpiece of Abstract Expressionism painted in 1953. Described as “the most important work by the artist ever to appear at auction”, the painting sold for $43,845,000 – smashing the previous record auction price for the artist by more than $20 million.

Perhaps the more significant record was set by Gerhard Richter’s ‘Domplatz, Mailand’ which achieved $37,125,000 – becoming the most valuable artwork ever sold at auction by a living artist. It also set a new record for a Richter work at auction, and sold for more than 10 times the price it achieved at Sotheby’s just 15 years ago – clearly illustrating the contemporary art market boom in recent years.

However, despite the pre-sale publicity, the Francis Bacon painting ‘Study for Portrait of P.L’ failed to sell.

Elsewhere records were set by Yves Klein’s ‘Sculpture eponge bleue sans titre’ which sold for £22 million, the highest price ever paid for a sculpture by the artist; Dan Colen’s ‘53rd and 3rd’ which sold for $1,085,000, a record for the artist; and Nate Lowman’s ‘Black Escalade’ which achieved an artist’s record price of $665,000.

Other major sales included Clyfford Still’s ‘PH – 21’ which sold for $20.8 million, Jackson Pollock’s ‘The Blue Unconscious’ which sold for $20.8 million, Cy Twombly’s ‘Untitled (Bolsena)’ which sold for $15.4 million and Richard Diebenkorn’s ‘Ocean Park No. 46’ which sold for $11.1 million.

“Tonight we offered important works spanning 70 years, and witnessed strong demand across that impressive range – from early works by Pollock and Calder from the 1940s to works by Currin and Colen made just last year,” said Alexander Rotter, Head of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art department in New York.

“We are delighted with the results achieved for the works sold to benefit the Whitney Museum of American Art’s new building project, which nearly doubled the high estimate to realize a total of $11.8 million, with 17 more works to be offered tomorrow.”

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