Christie's: Post War & Contemporary Day Sale (NY) Session II Auction Analysis

May 18, 2015

Session II, the last part of grand Post War & Contemporary Sale at Christie's New York, happened on May 14. These three parts of auction (Day Sale Session I & II and Evening Sale) gathered mind-blowing $670,770,000. Eighty percent of lots were sold on the last day of Post War & Contemporary Sale at Session II, and Joan Mitchell's Magnolia had, by far, the highest hammer price.

The Story About the Artwork: Joan Mitchell's Magnolia (1978)

Joan Mitchell's Magnolia is a diptych, painted while the artist was living in Vétheuil, France. She cleverly used white color simply by leaving the canvas blank, and it is thought that this painting revived Mitchell's work, resulting with a growth of an era of bold experimentation in Mitchell's art. She has moved to Vétheuil in the late 1960s, and that gave her more space to paint and explore. Huge diptych Magnolia is one of the result, as she has composed a grand painting over two large scale canvases (195 x 260.4 cm), with inspiration found in the landscape of the French countryside.

Please, scroll down to find out more about most interesting lots that were auctioned at Session II.

The Overview of Christie's: Post War & Contemporary Day Sale (NY) Session II

Out of 217 lots, 174 were sold at Session II of Post War & Contemporary Day Sale (NY), or 80.2 percent. Total of $54,571,000 was netted, which means that the average hammer price for a lot was $313,626. The best result was $3,100,000 - that much money was spent on Joan Mitchell's Magnolia. There were 11 more lots with hammer price at $1 million or more (3 of 11 are Andy Warhol's works), and excellent 47.7 percent of sold lots had their hammer prices over high estimates (83 lots). Around one third of sold lots changed hands for prices that were in range of estimated values, and 20.1 percent of lots were sold under low estimate.

When it comes to the difference between high estimate and hammer price, the most successful lot - by far - was Frank Stella's Untitled, with hammer price that was more than 8 times higher than its high estimate. Mel Bochner's Counting Exercise: Circles, Alexander Calder's Black Looped Around The White, Bruce Conner's Room and Jim Dine's French Pants all did very good and all had between +200 and +300 percent difference.

Christie's New York
Joan Mitchell - Magnolia, 1978 (Lot 553). Estimated at $1,200,000 - $1,800,000. Sold for $3,100,000.

Christie's New York
Jean Dubuffet - Vue De Paris, Le Petit Commerce, 1944 (Lot 425). Estimated at $1,500,000 - $2,000,000. Sold for $1,800,000.

Christie's New York
Andy Warhol - Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn), 1967 (Lot 542). Estimated at $1,500,000 - $2,000,000. Sold for $1,800,000.Warhol's first Marilyn Monroe series in 1962 represented a dynamic shift in the artist's style and career. In 1967, Warhol returned to the Monroe image once again, this time creating a series of stunning screenprints. Here is presented in a complete set of ten prints.

Christie's New York
Alexander Calder - Ten Black, 1967 (Lot 524). Estimated at $700,000 - $900,000. Sold for $1,800,000.

Christie's New York
Alexander Calder - Black Looped Around the White, 1963 (Lot 616). Estimated at $25,000 - $35,000. Sold for $130,000.

Christie's New York
Frank Stella - Untitled, 1964 (Lot 436). Estimated at $60,000 - $80,000. Sold for $570,000. This lot was convincingly the best in difference between hammer price and high estimate, with +612.5 percent

Christie's New York
Jim Dine - French Pants, 1961 (Lot 446). Estimated at $25,000 - $35,000. Sold for $110,000.

Christie's New York
Bruce Conner - Room, 1960 (Lot 441). Estimated at $30,000 - $40,000. Sold for $130,000.

Christie's: Post War & Contemporary Day Sale (NY) Session II in Details

In these two tables, you will find details for all lots that were auctioned at Session II of Post War & Contemporary Day Sale (NY) at Christie's, as well as the summarry of this auction.

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All images courtesy of Christie's.

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