CHRISTIE’S ESTABLISHES HIGHEST POST-WAR AND CONTEMPORARY ART SALE TOTAL IN HISTORY AT $384,654,400 Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art sale most valuable auction ever in the category, and the second highest art auction in history at $384,654,400. Green Car Crash tops $71,720,000
characterized by Rothko’s inimitable manner of creating vast, luminous and absorbing fields of color which hover before the viewer, reflecting energy and movement. Untitled, 1954 realized $26,920,000, the second highest price for the artist at auction, while the 1961 painting, which shows deeper, more intense nuances of red, achieved $22,440,000.
Willem de Kooning’s Untitled I, painted in 1981, originated in a watershed year. It was fresh to the market and had been prominently presented in important de Kooning shows such as the defining exhibition of his late paintings in 1995 at the Museum of Modern Art, Willem de Kooning: The Late Paintings, The 1980s, two crucial factors in this hot market which added a bonus to the price. Untitled I, a powerful work which exudes a dynamism caused by the absence of conventional stability, realized $19,080,000.
During the second half of the 1950’s, Jasper Johns was a one-man artistic revolution, creating works that invited one to look at them as objects, stripping away all the givens of art. Its rarity, supreme freshness to the market and superb provenance – the work was consigned by the daughter of Leo Castelli, Johns’s lifelong dealer – contributed to Figure 4’s ultimate price of $17,400,000, a new world auction record for Johns.
Damien Hirst had a strong presence in this evening’s sale with three masterly works, all dealing with the artist’s continuous fascination with the issues of mortality and the human desire to live forever. Lullaby Winter, 2002, a shiny stainless steel installation filled with painted cast pills reached $7,432,000 and established a new world auction record for Hirst. Another work created on a monumental scale is Notechis Ater Humphreysi, 2000, which can be regarded as a pseudo-abstract extension of Lullaby Winter. The painting realized $2,392,000. Wonder of You, 2002, one of the largest and most intricate of the butterfly paintings to date, sold for $1,608,000.
Four works from the Estate of Sally Lilienthal were offered with superb results. Philip Guston’s Head and Bottle, 1975, a raw and powerful painting from the culminating years of his late period, achieved $6,536,000. A grand Morris Louis painting from 1960 sold for $2,896,000, setting a new record for the artist. Calder’s Gypsophila II, a hanging mobile from 1950 realized $2,616,000 and the beautiful Diebenkorn still life totaled $2,336,000.
Night, 1999-2000, one of the prime examples of Lisa Yuskavage’s highly individual take on rendering the female body sold for $1,384,000, setting a new record for the artist. Branded a ‘Bad Girl’ for her hyper-sexualized and distorted images of women, Yuskavage’s narratives are some of the most convincing in contemporary art.
Tomorrow, Christie’s continues the Post-War and Contemporary Art auctions with a Morning Session and an Afternoon Session.
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