On the evening of June 25th, Christie’s presented their Contemporary art sale and the results were strong (prices include the buyer’s premium).
Taking the top spot was Jean Dubuffet’s Cérémonie which brought £8.72M ($11.1M) on a £7-10M estimate. This was followed by Basquiat’s Sabado por la Noche (Saturday Night) at £8.38M ($10.67M – est. £7.5-11M), and Francis Bacon’s Man at a Washbasin (not very impressive, in my humble opinion) brought £5.1M ($6.5M – est. £5-7M) – so this one really needed the buyer’s premium to make the estimate range! Rounding out the top five were George Condo’s Diagonal Portrait at £1.99M ($2.53M – est. £1.5-2M), and KAWS’ NYT (Companion Close Up) Brown at £1.8M ($2.3M – est. £1.2-1.8M).
There were other strong prices including Tschabalala Self’s Out of Body (2015) that brought £370K ($472K – est. £40-60K), Jonas Burgert’s Suchtpuls/Addicted to Pulse that brought 420K ($534K – est. £200-300K), and Amy Sillman’s Cliff 1 made £324K ($411K – est. £120-180K). On the flip side, only two works failed to find buyers – Ron Mueck’s Mongrel (£300-500K), and Rose Wylie’s Black Stork (£100-150K).
By the end of this very compact sale, of the 35 lots offered, 32 sold and one was withdrawn, giving them a sell-through rate of 94.1%) and a total take of £45.18M ($57.3M) … low end of the estimate range was about £36M – so they held their own.