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CHRISTIE'S SALE OF POST-WAR AND CONTEMPORARY TOTALS OVER 96 MILLION GBP
08 March 2017
Category : MARKET

The Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction held in London on March 7, 2017 yielded £96,384,000, a 65% increase on last February's equivalent total, with strong sell-through rates of 95% by lot and 98% by value.

The top price of the evening was for Peter Doig's spellbinding snow scene Cobourg 3 + 1 More, which saw determined bidding in the saleroom and on the phone and sold for £12,709,000. Another highlight Mark Rothko's No. 1 (1949), realized a price of £10,693,000 demonstrating that American artists were a particular draw for collectors. This was echoed with Jean-Michel Basquiat's Self Portrait, from the collection of U2's Adam Clayton, selling for £2,225,000 and his Alpha Particles which fetched £3,973,000, both emphasizing international demand for the artist ahead of his first UK retrospective at the Barbican later this year.

The appeal of contemporary European masters was demonstrated by Jean Dubuffet's painting Être et poraître (To Be and to Seem), achieving £10,021,000 , while his work on paper Deux Arabes gesticulant (Two gesticulating Arabs) set a world record at auction for the medium of £1,109,000. The total to date for 20th Century at Christie's is £258,313,636.

The prices achieved for American artists demonstrated that they were a significant force with top prices achieved for Carl Andre, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Alexander Calder, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko and Andy Warhol. Jean Dubuffet was another major highlight selling above estimate. The evening opened with record prices at auction for Wolfgang Tillmans, currently the subject of a celebrated retrospective at Tate Modern, quickly followed by records for Cecily Brown, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Henry Taylor, Albert Oehlen, Carol Rama and Günther Uecker. 
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