Contemporary Sales Hot

Contemporary art had a fantastic week in New York last week. Certainly any pre-auction jitters were laid to rest as the art market seemingly ignored Wall Street’s daily ups and recent downs and pronounced its belief in buying high priced Contemporary art.

Christie’s sold $325,006,000 worth of art last Tuesday night at their Post War & Contemporary auction followed by Sotheby’s sale which brought in $315,900,000 and Thursday night’s Contemporary sale at Phillips totaling $42,316,600. All three auction houses also had Contemporary day sales following their night sales which amounted to another $170,525,300.

What/who are the big names this time? Buyers paid over $10 million for works by Jeff Koons (a lot at Christie’s brought $11.8 million while a lot at Sotheby’s set a record for the artist at $23.5 million — both sold to Koons’ dealer, Larry Gagosian); Jean-Michel Basquiat; Francis Bacon (one lot sold for $33 million and another for $45.9 million at Sotheby’s); Mark Rothko; Warhol (“Liz” sold for $23 million at Christie’s and a self portrait sold at Sotheby’s for $12.4 million); Lucien Freud; Gerhard Richter and Willem de Kooning.