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Christie’s Contemporary Art Sale Sees Success, Nets $80.4 M

The postwar and contemporary evening sale at Christie’s was one big art affair of the week. After a week-long Freize auction, the fresh set of artworks brought Christie’s £65.2 million ($80.4 million). While the 41 pieces sold this year brought less money than the 45 pieces last year (that brought a collective of $109.5 million), it was still a great sale at a time when the market is slow. A range of artists saw their works getting good prices, and the overall sell rate was 87 per cent.

The biggest name of the sale was Jean-Michel Basquiat and his work Four Big. The painting, which was created on three joined canvases, was sold at £8.6 million ($10.6 million), thus falling within the expected selling range of £7.5-9.5 million. Like usual, an additional buyer’s premium was paid for it. However, Basquiat seems to be all the rage these days, having already sold his PYRO at the Sotheby’s sale for a whopping $12.2 million.

Unlike Sotheby’s sale (which netted $67.3 million), there were no star sells of the evening. However, there was a string of great sales for many artists. Sigmar Polke’s 1967 work Alpenveilchen/Flowers was sold at $6.97 (though barely touching its lower pre-sale estimate). Another German work, Adler (Eagle) by Georg Baselitz, was sold at $3.56 million (slightly more than the higher estimate put to it). The evening seemed to have been dominated by Germans, as another artist from the country saw two of his works getting good deals. Brautpaar (blau) was sold at $3.13 million while another abstract painting went for $8.64 million.

Overall, it was a good evening for Christie’s. By the end of the night, it had only 6 pieces unsold. Now, all eyes are on the Paris FIAC fair in 10 days that can be perhaps the biggest art event of this month.