Two sales, one dedicated to collector Anne Bass while another to 20th-century art, together amassed $831 million in Christie’s evening sale.
The first sale of the evening featured works previously owned by socialite and collector Anne Bass. Bass is the former wife of Texas oil tycoon Sid Bass, and created an impressive art collection during her marriage. Twelve works from her collection went up on the auction block and were successfully sold, raising revenues of $363 million (much higher than the presale estimate of $250 million).
Two works by Mark Rothko were auctioned – Untitled (Shades of Red) (1961) and No. 1, an orange and pink abstraction (1962). They were sold for an impressive $58 million and $43 million respectively (though less than the lower end of their presale estimate, $60 million and $45 million). A 1928 sculpture of a young dancer by Edgar Degas fetched $36 million, much higher than its $20 million presale estimate. Le Parlement, soleil couchant (1900–03) by Claude Monet saw a fierce bidding war, finally selling for $75 million (against the $40 million presale estimate).
The other sale of the evening featured works by contemporary artists of the 20th century. Here, the biggest upset was The Sugar Shack (1976) by Ernie Barnes. With a presale estimate of $150,000, the work witnessed a frenzy of bids and ended up fetching $13 million – a mindblowing 80 times more than the estimate. Fields near the Alpilles (1889) by Vincent Van Gogh fetched $51.9 million. Pablo Picasso’s Tête de femme (Fernande), currently in possession of the MMA, was sold for $48.6 million. The sale wrapped up earning $468 million.