Art Auction Records Shattered in London

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London, United Kingdom – It took a breathtaking span of 26 hours in London for more records to fall in the thriving global art market.

Works by Gerhard Richter, Lucio Fontana, and Cy Twombly were among those that set the pace at the post-war and contemporary art sales hosted by Christie’s and Sotheby’s.

The highest priced lot took place on Tuesday when Richter’s Abstraktes Bild surprised the packed auction room on Bond Street with aggressive phone bids coming in at 2 million British pound increments ($3.1m).

The final sale price of 30.4 million pounds ($46.8m) established a new auction record by a living European artist.

Gallery technicians hanging a picture by Gerhard Richter at Sotheby's

The anonymous bidder, reported to be an American, was represented by Sotheby’s worldwide co-head of contemporary art, Cheyenne Westphal.

“I think I can genuinely say it went to someone who truly wanted this painting, and he was set on buying it tonight,” Westphal said, noting Richter also happened to be her favourite artist.

A sister painting of the large abstract work was sold by

Eric Clapton in 2012 for a then-record of 21 million pounds ($32m).

The artwork, which measures 3 x 2.5 metres draped with jagged lines of reds and greens, was last sold on auction at Sotheby’s in 1999 for $607,500, generating a return of 32.4 percent annually.

“Richter is not hot all of a sudden, he has always been sought after,” said Arianne Levene Piper, founder of the New Art World consultancy

“There are plenty of ultra-high net worth collectors who are willing to pay for top works.

This explains why a great painting by a great artist will sell for high prices at auction.”

Works by another European artist, Francis Bacon, failed to make headlines this auction season, despite drumming up a buzz prior to the sales. Read the rest of this entry »


Francis Bacon Painting Sells For Record $142 Million At Christie’s Auction

A member of Christie’s staff walks towards Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucien Freud” on Oct. 14, 2013 in London, England. (credit: Getty Images)

A member of Christie’s staff walks towards Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucien Freud” on Oct. 14, 2013 in London. (credit: Getty Images)

Bidder Not Revealed

CBS NewYork/AP There’s a new record-setting piece of art. A 1969 painting by Francis Bacon set a world record for most expensive artwork ever sold at auction.

“Three Studies of Lucian Freud” was purchased for $142.4 million at Christie’s postwar and contemporary art sale on Tuesday night. The triptych depicts Bacon’s artist friend.

The work sold after “six minutes of fierce bidding in the room and on the phone,” Christie’s said in a statement. The price includes the buyer’s premium. Christie’s did not say who bought the painting.

Read the rest of this entry »


Zhang Daqian’s ‘Lotus’ Sells for $10.4 Million

By Jason Chow

A set of four hanging scrolls by 20th-century Chinese ink painter Zhang Daqian sold for $10.4 million, more than five times its pre-sale estimate, at a Christie’s auction in Hong Kong on Tuesday afternoon.

Titled “Lotus,” the four large paper scrolls – each more than five feet high and 2.5 feet wide – depict lotus flowers in various state of bloom. Completed in 1947, the work was estimated to achieve $1.9 million, but brisk bidding in the room pushed the price far above that figure before going to an Asian private buyer.

In 2011, Mr. Zhang was the top-selling artist in the world at auction, but sales of his works fell to $241.6 million in 2012 from $782.4 million the year before. As a result, the artist’s sales ranking dropped to No. 4 after Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso and Gerhard Richter, according to figures compiled by Artnet.

Sales of Mr. Zhang’s works are once again going strong. On Monday night, Sotheby’s sold 25 works by the artist for $42 million at a sale in Hong Kong. The most expensive work sold was “Daoist Goddess Playing Panpipe,” a 1955 painting that fetched $9.5 million.

via Scene Asia – WSJ.