Christie's Art Auction 'Highest in History'
The contemporary art sale at Christies Auction House New York established 16 world auction records with nine pieces selling for more than $10 million each and 23 others netting more than $5m each. This “new era in the art market,” according to Christie’s, is in part due to new collectors. “Twenty-five percent of our buyers last year were new to Christie’s,” CEO Steven Murphy told Reuters, “and four or five of the key lots tonight went to people who have never bought here before.”
Those key lots included Jackson Pollock’s drip painting Number 19, 1948 which topped the sale at $58.4m, Roy Lichtenstein’s Woman with Flowered Hat which went for $56.1m, and Jean-Michel Basquiat‘s Dustheads, which fetched $48.8m. All three works set the highest prices ever fetched for the artists at auction.
Mark Rothko’s Untitled (Black on Maroon) from 1958 was the fourth most expensive sale, raising $27m.
The sale featured works from both private collections and institutions and of the 70 lots up for grabs on Wednesday, only four went unsold. Among those were works by Jeff Koons and Franz Kline.