Warhol's Ali packs a punch in London

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Thursday, February 29, 2024

Warhol's Ali packs a punch in London
Andy Warhol (1928-1987), Muhammad Ali, 1977. 40 x 40 in (101.6 x 101.6 cm). Sold for £4,973,250 on 12 February 2020 at Christie’s in London. © Christie's Images Ltd 2020.

LONDON.- The Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale in London realised £56,180,434 / $72,697,482, to take the running total for 20th Century Week to £184,916,135.

The top price of the night was achieved by Andy Warhol’s Muhammad Ali, which sold for £4,973,250 (including buyer’s premium). In 1977, Richard L. Weisman commissioned Warhol to paint the ‘Athletes’ series, a set of ten silkscreen portraits of the leading sports stars of the day — including Muhammad Ali, Chris Evert and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Signed by both Warhol and Ali, it was one of 10 works by Warhol offered from Weisman’s collection in the sale. Further ‘Athletes’ series works from the Weisman Collection were offered in the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on 13 November 2019 in New York.

The second and third highest prices of the sale came for works by Jean-Michel Basquiat and David Hockney.

A poetic example of Basquiat’s celebrated ‘stretcher paintings’, The Mosque (1982) sold for £3,951,729. Basquiat’s rugged, emblematic canvases were an instant hit, and are still widely regarded as one of his most original innovations.

David Hockney’s Walnut Trees, a radiant love letter to the East Yorkshire landscape from 2006, realised £3,251,250. Painted with loose, impressionistic, brushstrokes, Hockney’s depictions of the Wolds between 2005 and 2008 marked a major new chapter in his forty-year-long career.

The auction, which sold 98 per cent by lot and 99 per cent by value, saw strong results for a group of young artists whose markets are on the rise.

Jordan Casteel’s Mom from 2013 realised £515,250, a record price for the artist at auction; while Spare Moment by Tschabalala Self fetched £212,500, more than double the pre-sale low estimate. Dana Schutz’s Kissing in the Dump (2004) soared past the high estimate before realising £695,250, and Cecily Brown’s Girl Trouble achieved £1,482,307.

Executed in 1990, Günther Förg’s Untitled set a record price for the artist at auction when it sold for £1,331,250, while Antonio Tàpies’ Pintura del Cubell (Painting with Laundry Bucket) from the mid 1970s set a new world auction for the medium by the artist when it fetched £851,250.

Other notable results included Albert Oehlen’s Mission Rohrfrei (Down Periscope) from 1996, which achieved £3,191,250; and Gotthard Graubner’s ohne Titel (Untitled) (1995-1997), which made nearly double the low estimate at £491,250.

Cannibal Eyes by Eddie Martinez sold for £347,250, more than double the high estimate; while Sean Scully’s Wall of Light Red Bar (2013) sparked a bidding battle before being sold for £1,031,250. Large-scale paintings such as this grew out of watercolours that Scully produced following a trip to Mexico in 1983.

The series of 20th Century sales in London will continue with the Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Sale.

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