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DULL CHRISTIE'S POST WAR AND CONTEMPORARY ART SALE
13 February 2020
Category : MARKET

Christie's postwar and contemporary art auction held in London on February 12 yielded £56.2 million, its lowest total for a winter evening sale  in a decade (14.6% down from 2018).

Brexit aftermath and the departure of its department chief Francis Outred might explain this disappointing result. Moreover Christie's had no lot offered at over £5 million whereas Sotheby's had six the previous night.

The highest estimated lot was a Basquiat from the coveted year of 1982, titled The Mosque, from the collection of the trader-dealer Mugrabi family. Estimated at £4 million to £6 million and carrying a third-party guarantee, the work sold below estimate for £3.9 million.

American bidders were evidently more comfortable with Andy Warhol's array of American sports stars, known as the “Athletes Series,” from the estate of collector Richard L. Weisman, who died in 2018. In 1977, Weisman commissioned ten 40 x 40 inch portraits from Warhol—Muhammad Ali, Jack Nicklaus, O.J. Simpson, and Pelé among them—sometimes with eight or ten differently colored versions. According to the Warhol catalogue raisonné, there are 112 in all, a third of which are now in institutional collections. In 2007, one complete set was offered by London dealer Martin Summers for a reported $28 million, but didn't sell; another set sold for $5.7 million in 2011.

The Athlete series produced by Andy Warhol at the request of collector Richard Weisman who died in 2018 fared satisfactorily with Muhammad Ali being  the most sought-after, selling for £4.97 million while the portrait of Brazilian footballer Pelé went for £575,250. Meanwhile, a two-foot flower painting by Warhol, sold above estimate for £2 million.

A portrait of 30 year-old Jordan Casteel's mother, estimated beween £150,00 and 250,000 sold for a record £ 515,250 while a set of 22 small oil panels by Günther Forg fetched a record £1.3 million.

A computer-generated work by Albert Oehlen sold above estimate for £3.2 million ($4.1 million) while Bridget Riley's colorful Gaillard (1989), went within estimate for £2.3 million.

Cecil. Brown's Girl Trouble (1999) sold below estimate at £1.5 million, 300.000 less than when it sold in 2018.

 

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