The price, including buyer's premium, easily surpassed the
previous record of $43.8 million set a year earlier for Newman's
"Onement VI," and topped the $80.8 million a private Asian buyer
paid at Tuesday's sale for Francis Bacon's "Three Studies for a
Portrait of John Edwards".
All but four of the 72 lots on offer were sold as the post-war
and contemporary sale also broke records for works by American
sculptor Alexander Calder, sculptor and artist Joseph Cornell
and several others.
Apart from the two top lots, four more fetched over $50 million,
with deep-pocketed collectors from around the globe vying for
the most coveted works of art.
"These are incredible statistics," Brett Gorvy, chairman and
head of post-war and contemporary Art at Christie's, told a
press conference after the sale. "We saw phenomenal success and
Bacon's 1984 three-panel painting of Edwards, an East End London
bar manager who became the acclaimed artist's confidant and an
inseparable companion, was expected to be the highlight of the
sale with a pre-sale estimate of around $80 million.
Bacon holds the record for the highest priced work ever sold at
auction with $142.4 million paid for his "Three Studies of
Lucian Freud" in New York in November 2013.
Art sales have been escalating since the record-breaking Bacon
price last year as the super wealthy see high-end works of art
as safe havens for their money. Asia has become a dominant
player in the global art market, particularly in post-war and
contemporary art sales.
The European Fine Art Foundation annual report showed the global
art market rose 8 percent to $65.9 billion last year, the
highest level since 2007.
[to top of second column]
Other highlights of the Christie's sale included Mark Rothko's
"Untitled," an oil on canvass abstract work which fetched $66.2
million, Andy Warhol's "Race Riot," which fetched $62.8 million and
his "White Marilyn," an image of the Hollywood actress that was made
after her death in 1962 and brought in $41 million, more than double
its pre-sale estimate.
Calder's 1957 hanging mobile "Poisson volant (Flying Fish) sold for
On Monday Christie's sold works of contemporary art worth $134.6
million to buyers from more than two dozen countries, and setmore
than a dozen world auction records for major artists.
Last week the auction house achieved its best New York
Impressionist, modern sale result in four years, selling $286
million worth of art, including Claude Monet's water lilies painting
"Nympheas," which fetched $27 million.
Pablo Picasso's "Le Sauvetage," led an Impressionist and modern art
auction by rival Sotheby's last week, selling for $31.5 million in
an evening sale that took in $219 million.
Sotheby's will hold its post-war and contemporary sale on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Richard Pullin)
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