Auction Totals More Than $495 Million, Highest Total Ever
Records set for Pollock, Lichtenstein, Basquiat, Guston and others
18, "Number 19, 1948," by Jackson Pollock, oil and enamel on paper
mounted on canvas, 30 7/8 by 22 5/8 inches
Carter B. Horsley
auction of Contemporary Art at Christie's
New York May 15, 2013 has a fine "drip" building by Jackson Pollock, an
excellent "zag" painting by Clyfford Still, three very good works by
Willem de Kooning, a couple of good works by Jean-Michel Basquiat,
Franz Kline and Joseph Cornell, naturally a few by Andy Warhol
and a fine Julie Mehretu.
of Lot 18
In an article in the February
19, 1949 edition of The
Clement Greenberg, the critic, observed in his review of
the second solo exhibition of Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) at
Betty Parsons Gallery that "the
general quality that emerged from such pictures, especially Number
Nineeen seemed more than enough to justify the claim that Pollock is
one of the major painters of our time."
This lot is the cover
illustration of the catalogue and the catalogue entry for it notes that
"Displaying a fascinatingly dense, intricate and animated abstract
surface - one that reveals the extraordinary mastery that Pollock had
over his radical new medium of pouring, dripping and flicking enamel
paint onto an unprimed ground - Number 19 of 1948 is one of the richest
most engaging and successfully resolved of all theseg amous works."
the techniques of the Navajo Indian sand painters that Pollock had
known as a child, the placing of the painting on the ground
surprising degree of difference in Pollok's working practice.
merely in terms of enhancing the ritualistic and totemic nature of the
picture-making, but in freeing the painting from its
traditional...field within which it was to be worked. not
did his placing of the canvas on the ground then actively encourage
drips and spills of paint onto its surface rather than direct
applicaton with a brush but, most important of all, it enabled and
encouraged the aritst to work around the picture from all
sides and to treat its entire surface equally and
non-hierarchically - to treat the canvas and its image as an holistic
as well as a totemic and ritualistic entity."
It has an estimate of $25,000,000 to $35,000,000.
sold for $58,363,750 including the buyer's premium as do all results
mentioned in this article, easily surpassing the previous auction
record for Pollock of $40,402,500 set at Sotheby's New York November
Inoue, head of evening sale, and Brett Gorvy, chairman and
International Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, can barely contain
their joy at the sale's results at press conference.
auction was a sensational and historic success with its total of
$495,021,500 making it the highest total in history and easily
surpassing last fall's total of $412 million at Christie's New York as
well as the previous night auction at Sotheby's that totalled
Jussi Pylkannen soliciting bids from one of the telephone "banks"
Pylkannen accepting a bid for a Hans Hofmann painting from the other
Pylkannen at the post-auction press conference
the press conference after the auction, Jussi Pylkannen said that there
is "a new era in the art market with global competition that we have
never seen before and it's reached a stage where it is quite difficult"
to make estimates for works of very important quality that are now
"reaching levels we couldn't have imagined a few years ago."
so much energy," he said and buyers increasingly want to be where the
auction is," in the room and not on the phones, Mr. Pylkannen declared.
Mr. Pylkanned conducted the auction brilliantly like a
with humor, vigor, drama and fine pace and the obvious heir to
Christopher Burge's wonderful legacy of raptuously wooing and
delighting bidders. Mr. Burge recently retired as Chrstie's
auctioneer, a post he held for decades.
The audience at
Christie's burst into loud applause at least four times as Mr.
Pylkannen banged his gavel with record prices and when the last work
was sold the telephone bank of Christie's executives cheered loudly and
long and euphoria was palpable.
"PH-1," by Clyfford Still, oil on canvas, 79 by 68 1/2
21 is a majestic oil on canvas by Clyfford Still (1904-1980) entitled
"PH-1." It measures 79 by 68 1/2 inches and was painted in
It is a classic Still abstracton that conjures a jagged
of very vibrant and colorful floating forms. The composition
magnetic and energized and hypnotic. This painting was
in the artist's retrospective show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in
1979-1980. It has a conservative estimate of $15,000,000 to
at Christie's working the phones during offering of major painting by
Clyfford Still, shown on screen
It was passed at $14 million and was one of only 4 lots that failed to
sell out of 70 offered and the biggest surprise.
"Study for Portrait," oil on canvas, 78 by 58 1/8 inches, 1981
46 is a good "Study for Portrait," by Francis Bacon (1909-1992).
An oil on canvas, it measures 78 by 58 1/8 inches and was
The lot has a conservative estimate of $18,000,000 to $25,000,000. It was withdrawn even
though it was better than one offered the previous night at Sotheby's.
10, "Dustheads," by Jean-Michel Basquiat, acrylic, oilstick, spray
enamel and metallic paint on canvas, 72 by 84 inches, 1982
10 is a big and bold work by Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) entitled
"Dustheads." An acrylic, oilstick, spray enamel and metallic
paint on canvas, it measures 72 by 84 inches and was painted in 1982.
It has an estimate of $25,000,000 to $35,000 and has been
exhibited and published. It
sold for $48,843,750, shattering the
artist's previous auction record of $26,402,500 set at Christie's New
York November 14, 2012.
6, "Furious Man," by Jean-Michel Basquiat, oilstick, acrylic, wax
crayon and ink on paper, 30 by 22 inches, 1982
6 is a good Basquiat acrylic, oilstick, wax crayon and ink on paper
entitled "Furious Man." It measures 30 by 22 inches and was
created in 1982. It has a modest estimate of $1,000,000 to
sold for $5,723,750.
34, "Woman with Flowered Hat," by Roy Lichtenstein, magna on canvas, 50
1/8 by 40 1/4 inches, 1963
34 is a widely exhibited and published 1963 work by Roy Lichtenstein
(1923-1997) entitled "Woman with Flowered Hat." A magna on
canvas, it measures 50 1/8 by 40 1/4 inches It was formerly
the collections of Mr. and Mrs. Leon A. Mnuchin, Mr. and Mrs. S. I.
Newhouse and the Gagosian Galllery. According to Carol
May 16, 2013 article in The
New York Times
the seller was Ronald O. Perelman and the work is the "Pop artist's
take on a Picasso canvas with the same title." "Laurence
the London jeweler, bought the Lichtenstein for $50 million, or $56.1
million with fees, well above its $32 million high estimate.
was also a record setter for the artist at auction. Mr.
who sat in the front row of the salesroom, patiently outbid three
telephone contenders. After the sale, he said he had
it as a birthday present for himself; he turns 75 on June 13," the
Lot 49, "Nude
with Yellow Flower," by Roy Lichtenstein, oil and magna on canvas, 92
by 72 inches, 1994
later Lichtenstein, Lot 49, "Nude with Yellow Flower," is an oil and
magna on canvas that measures 92 by 72 inches. It was painted
1994. It has an estimate of $12,000,000 to $16,000,000. It sold for $23,643,750.
""Untitled (Black on Maroon)," by Mark Rothko, oil on canvas, 72 by 45
55 is a dark oil on canvas by Mark Rothko (1903-1970). "Untitled (Black
on Maroon)," it measures 72 by 45 inches and was painted in 1958.
It has an estimate of $15,000,000 to $20,000,000. It sold for $27,003,750.
Lot 23, "To
Fellini," by Philip Guston, "oil on canvas, 69 by 74 inches, 1958
23 is a large oil on canvas by Philip Guston (1913-1980) entitled "To
Fellini." It measures 69 by 74 inches and was painted in
It was formerly in the collection of Nelson A. Rockefeller,
Richard Manoogian of Grosse Pointe and the Gagosian Gallery. It has
been widely exhibited. It has an estimate of $8,000,000 to $12,000,000.
It sold for
$25,883,750, an auction record for the artist.
"Untitled (XVII)," by Willem de Kooning, oil on canvas 80 by 70, 1984
17 is a good painting of flying colored ribbons against a white
background by Willem de Kooning (1904-1997). "Untitled
an oil on canvas that measures 80 by 70 inches and was painted in 1984.
been widely exhibited and published. It comes from the collection of
Andy Williams, the singer. It has an estimmte of $4,000,000
$6,000,000. It sold
'Untitled," by Willem de Kooning, oil on canvas, 80 by 70 inches, 1987
of de Kooning's late lyrical abstractions is Lot 59, "Untitled," an oil
on canvas from 1987 that measures 80 by 70 inches. Like Lot
it is more attractive than many of the paintings in this series because
many of the "ribbons" are thicker, making for a more interesting
composition. It has an estimate of $3,000,000 to $4,000,000. It sold for $4,603,750.
29, "Woman (Blue Eyes)," by Willem de Kooning, oil, enamel, and
charcoal on two sheets of paper (laid down on canvas), 28 by 20 inches,
29 is a strong and colorful work by de Kooning that is entitled "Woman
(Blue Eyes)," an oil, enamel, and charcoal on two sheets of paper laid
down on canvas. It measures 28 by 20 inches and was executed
1953. It was given to the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo by
Seymour Knox in 1986 and then deaccessioned about a decade later.
It has an ambitious estimate of $12,000,000 to $16,000,000.
It sold for
52, "Retopistics: A Renegade Excavation," by Julie Mehretu, ink and
acrylic on canvas 102 1/2 by 208 1/2 inches, 2001
of the auction's most spectacular works is Lot 52, "Retopistics: A
Renegade Excavation," by Julie Mehretu (b. 1970), an ink and acrylic on
canvas that measures 102 1/2 by 208 1/2 inches. It was
executed in 2001. It was exhibited at the Museum of Modern
Art in New York in 2007. It has an estimate of $1,400,000 to
sold for $4.603,750.
"Untitled (Gaeta)," by Cy Twombly, oil based house paint, acrylic, wax
crayon, lead pencil and paper collage on wooden panel, 49 1/2 by 72 3/4
44 is a large wooden panel by Cy Twombly (1928-2011) that is more
colorful than most of his works. It measures 49 1/2 by 72 3/4
inches and was created in 2000. It has an estimate of
$5,000,000 to $7,000,000. It
sold for $6,395,750.
"Untitled (Rome)," by Cy Twombly, bronze 76 1/4 inches high, 1987,
number 5 from an edition of six
33 is a scrawny and distinctively unattractive, bronze sculpture by
Twombly that is 76 1/4 inches high and was created in 1987 as number 5
of an edition of six. The structure holds a simulation of a
poppy pod. The catalogue entry maintains that "the formal parallel with
Alberto Giacometti's celebrated Walking
Man I, 1960, cannot go unmentioned." It has an estimate of
$6,000,000 to $8,000,000. It
sold for $7,789,750.
"Medici Princess," by Joseph Cornell, wood box construction - glass,
tinted glass,mirror, wood, printed paper collage, paint and nails, 16
5/8 by 11 3/4 by 4 5/8 inches, circa 1950s
46, "Medici Princess," is one of the fine wood box constructions by
Joseph Cornell (1903-1972). It measures 16 5/8 by 11
3/4 by 4 5/8 inches and was made circa 1950s. It has
an estimate of $700,000 to $1,000,000. It failed to sell and
was passed at $500,000.
"Magic Soap Bubble Set," by Joseph Cornell, wood box construction 18 by
22 by 3 1/4 inches, 1940
Another Cornell wood box
construction is Lot 19, "Magic Soap Bubble Set." It measures
18 by 22 by 3 1/4 inches and was created in 1940. It has an
estimate of $500,000 to $700,000. It
sold for $4,827,750.
31, "Self Portrait," by Andy Warhol, synthetic polymer and silkscreen
ink on canvas, 22 inches square, 1968
31 is a strong self portrait by Andy Warhol (1928-1987) that is
synthetic polymer and silkscreen ink on canvas. It is 22
inches square and was created in 1968. It was once in the
collection of Albert and Vera List of Greenwich, Conn., and the
Dominique Levy Gallery in New York. It has an estimate of
$4,000,000 to $6,000,000. It
sold for $5,219,750.
Lot 51, "Nine
Multicolored Marilyns (Reversal Series)," by Andy Warhol, synthetic
polymer and silkscreen inks, 54 1/4 by 41 5/8 inches, 1979-1986
51 is a synthetic polymer and silkscreen inks on canvas by Warhol of
"Nine Multicolored Marilyns (Reversal Series)." It measures
54 1/4 by 41 5/8 inches and was created 1979-1986. It has an
estimate of $5,500,000 to $6,500,000. It sold for $7,403,750.
"Mao," by Andy Warhol, synthetic polymer and silkscreen ink on canvas,
26 by 22 inches, 1973
39 is a portrait of Mao against a green background by Andy Warhol.
A synthetic polymer and silkscreen ink on canvas, it measures
26 by 22 inches and was created i 1973. It is property from
the collectin of Celeste and Armand Bartos. It has an
estimate of $3,000,000 to $4,000,000. It sold for $6,283,750.
"Accent aigu," by Franz Kline,, oil on canvas 78 by 49
25 is an excellent abstraction by Franz Kline (1910-1962) that is
entitled "Accent aigu." An oil on canvas, it measures 78 by
inches and was painted in 1957. It has an estimate of
to $12,000,000. It
failed to sell and was passed at $7,500,000.
"Painting No. 3," by Franz Kline, oil on masonite, 37 7/8 by 30 7/8
smaller and earlier Kline is Lot 72, "Painting No. 3," an oil on
masonite that measures 37 7/8 by 30 7/8 inches and was painted in 1852.
It has an estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000. It sold for $2,811,750.
"Balance," by Adolph Gottlieb, oil on canvas, 60 by 90 inches, 1960
24 is a very fine abstraction by Adolph Gottlieb (1903-1974) that is
property of the Robert F. Mayer Family Collection. Mr. Mayer
helped found the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in
1961. The oil on canvas measures 60 by 90 inches and was
in 1960. It has a modest estimate of $800,000 to $1,200,000. It sold for $3,259,750.
"Plate Set," by Jeff Koons, oil on canvas, 126 by 116 inches, 1995-8
64 is a large and bright oil on canvas by Jeff Koons (b. 1955), the
subject of a cover article in this week's edition of New York
Magazine. Entitled "Plate Set," it measures 126 by
inches and was painted 1995-8. It has an estimate of
to $6,000,000. It
failed to sell and was passed at $3,100,000. At
Sotheby's the previous night, Koons also encountered some buyer
resistence as two of five offered works by him found no buyers.