Last nights sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art totaled $143,187,200, the second highest total for a sale in the field. Twelve new world auction records were set and the sale was 91% sold by lot and 88% by value. The highlight of the evening was Andy Warhols Small Torn Campbell Soup Can (Pepper Pot), 1962, from the Collection of Irving Blum, which realized $11,776,000 and set a world auction record for a painting of the Campbell Soup Can series. A group of pieces by Donald Judd, sold by the Judd Foundation to create an endowment, realized $24,468,800. Buyers in tonights sale were 70% American, 19% European and 11% Asian.
There was sustained interest and enthusiasm throughout tonights exciting sale from the excellent results of the Judd Collection right through to the end, said Christopher Burge, Honorary Chairman of Christie's Americas and the auctioneer of the sale. There continues to be great desire among a broad base of international collectors to own works in this growing field as Christies staged its second highest totaling evening sale in history. The audience for Warhol continues to be strong, as well as for Abstract Expressionism, with the works on paper in the sale also realizing new levels. Christie's continues to break new ground in both the presentation and the results in this field.
Donald Judd, one of the most important and influential artists of the 20th century, was represented with a group of 26 works, sold by the Judd Foundation to create an endowment. The works were exhibited in a specially designed space on the 20th floor of 1230 Avenue of the Americas, at Rockefeller Center, in a show that was hailed by a major newspaper as the most beautiful survey of Judds work ever seen in New York, and that attracted over 6,000 visitors. Tonight, the group realized $24,468,800, with 25 of the 26 works sold. This milestone within the journey toward financial stability was made possible not only by the commitment of our Board but also by the collaboration with Christies who were willing to work within our special parameters to present an exhibition and sale that were truly cultural events, said Rainer Judd, President of the Judd Foundation. Three pieces fetched $2,704,000, the second highest price ever achieved by Judd at auction: the seminal 1993 six part plywood and Plexiglas wall-piece, Untitled (93-1 Ballantine); Untitled (92-7 Hernandez), six units with Plexiglas, executed in 1992 and Untitled, 1990 (90-14 Bernstein). Other highlights included Untitled (DSS #230), (70-13 Bernstein), 1970 ($ 2,032,000); Untitled (74-20 Bernstein), 1974 ($1,920,000) and Untitled (89-3 Menziken), 1989 ($968,000).
The top lot of the evening was Andy Warhols Small Torn Campbell Soup Can (Pepper Pot), 1962, which sold for $11,776,000 and set a world auction record for a painting from the Campbell Soup Can series. Apart from being a spectacular example of Warhols famed portraits of Campbell Soup Cans, the painting came with a stellar provenance: the collection of Irving Blum, the visionary director of Ferus Gallery who gave Andy Warhol his first show. The present painting registers the passage of time and conveys a preoccupation with degradation, exuding destruction and frailty. According to WiredShopper
, Overall, the Warhol market proved to be strong tonight with high prices fetched for all Warhol paintings offered.
De Koonings Untitled, 1961, one of the first important new works to emerge from a period of transition and fresh thinking in the artists career, realized $10,096,000. Painted in a pastoral palette of yellow and flesh tones, Untitled is the work of a gentler, more contemplative De Kooning.
Away from the Flock, Divided, 1995, one of only a handful of split animal formaldehyde works by Damien Hirst in the mid 1990s fetched $3,376,000, and established a new world auction record for the artist. In this piece, Hirst deepens his dialogue with art, as he roots the work in art history and firmly places it within the artistic canon. David Hockney also performed strongly and his 1967 painting A neat lawn set a new world auction record at $3,600,000.
A group of exquisite drawings from the Collection of Duncan MacGuigan revealed an incredibly buoyant market for works on paper and realized $5,779,200. Highlights included Jackson Pollocks, Untitled, 1947 ($912,000), a drawing executed on the eve of his drip paintings; Cage by Robert Rauschenberg, 1958 ($1,360,000), one of his first transfer drawings and Alberto Giacomettis Femme debout (recto); Groupe de personages (verso), circa 1947 ($1,584,000). The Rauschenberg and Giacometti drawings set new world auction records for a work on paper by the artist.
Further highlights which also set new world auction records included Richard Princes Untitled (Good News, Bad News), ($1,360,000); Eva Hesses An ear in a pond ($2,256,000); Piero Manzonis Achrome ($1,920,000); Lucio Fontanas Coupure ($2,704,000); Morris Louis Floral V ($1,808,000); Brice Mardens Elements V ($2,984,000) and Dirk Skrebers Gelb Lok (Yellow Locomotive) ($497,600).