Warhols fetch $153 million to lead Christie's
record-setting art auction
Send a link to a friend
[November 13, 2014] By
NEW YORK (Reuters) -
Christie's held the biggest art auction in history on
Wednesday, selling $853 million worth of contemporary
and post-war art, led by a pair of Andy Warhol works
featuring multiple images of Elvis Presley and Marlon
The impressive haul beat Christie's high pre-sale estimate of
$836 million. It was the fourth successive time since May 2013
that the auction house's post-war and contemporary sale broke
the record for the highest-ever total of a single sale.
A bidding war drove Warhol's "Triple Elvis (Ferus Type)" to
$81.9 million, while "Four Marlons" fetched $69.6 million to
lead the sale of 80 works in a packed saleroom where only five
works failed to find buyers.
Christie's had estimated the silkscreen-on-linen Warhols would
together sell for more than $130 million, which turned out to be
conservative in the intensely competitive market.
"This is a market driven by global collectors who are looking
for the best of the best," said Brett Gorvy, international head
of post-war and contemporary art.
"More than about records, it's about five, six or seven buyers
competing to spend 50 or 60 million dollars on an object."
A new record was set for Cy Twombly, when an untitled 1970 work
soared far beyond the $35 million to $55 million estimate to
$69.6 million, more than tripling the old record.
Records were also set for Ed Ruscha, Martin Kippenberger and
Cindy Sherman at the blockbuster sale, which capped two weeks of
key fall auctions for powerhouses Christie's and Sotheby's.
[to top of second column]
Other highlights included Francis Bacon's "Seated Figure," which
fetched $45 million or just above the low estimate, and Ruscha's
"Smash," which sold for $30.4 million, more than twice the low
estimate. Estimates do not include commission of just over 12
In all 11 works sold for more than $20 million each and records were
set for 15 artists among 42 represented.
With participation from 43 countries, bidding was especially strong
from European, Asian and Mideast collectors, in addition to U.S.
buyers, Christie's said.
Christie's had set the record for the biggest auction total in
history in May, when its contemporary sale hauled in $745 million,
but Wednesday's record quelled any doubts whether the art market's
top-tier bubble might soon burst.
The two weeks of sales at Christie's and Sotheby's took in a total
of some $2 billion.
(Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.