Christie's - Post War and Contemporary Evening Auction Analysis

July 3, 2015

If we should judge the whole week over results of the first big auction of Post War and Contemporary Art, then we are bound to say that the whole week will be a very successful one. Post War and Contemporary Evening Auction at Christie's London produced more than 85 percent of sold lots, and almost a total of $130 million for sold lots. As it was expected, two works by Francis Bacon highlighted the whole auction. Bacon's Study for Head of Isabel Rawsthorne and George Dyer led the whole sale, as the artist's only dyptich (of just 10 total) that depicted his lover George Dyer and friend Isabel Rawsthorne had its hammer price at almost $17 million. Further more, Bacon’s Two Men Working in a Field almost achieved its high estimate and was sold for almost $15 million (all hammer prices are without buyer's premium, and with the exchange rate of $1.56513 for one British pound). Also, we have seen world records for six artists at Post War and Contemporary Evening Auction.

Six Artists Had World Record at Christie's London

Chris Ofili, Malcolm Morley, Jeff Elrod, Brent Wadden, R.H. Quaytman and the Chapman brothers (Jake and Dinos) all broke world records for prices that their respective artworks had achieved at an auction. Chris Ofili's The Holy Virgin Mary was sold for $3.91 million, Malcolm Morley's SS Amsterdam in Front of Rotterdam for $1.57 million, Jeff Elrod's Echo Painting (B/W) was sold for $281,723, Brent Wadden's Alignment (13) had the biggest difference between hammer price ($156,513) and high estimate (+100 percent), R. H. Quaytman's Constructivismes, Chapter 13 was sold for $751,262 - under high estimate, as well as the Great Deeds Against the Dead by the Chapman brothers, which was sold for $547,796.

The Overview of Post War and Contemporary Evening Auction at Christie's

Total of 76 lots were auctioned on the last day of June at Christie's London, and 66 lots were sold (an excellent 86.8 percent). These 66 lots were almost evenly sold over high estimate (21 lots, or 31.8 percent), in range of estimated values (25 lots, 37.9 percent) and under low estimate (20 lots, or 30.3 percent). The sum of hammer prices ($128.93 million) was just in the middle of estimated values for sold lots ($108.51 million - $150.82 million), and the average hammer price was just under $2 million.

As we said, two paintings by Francis Bacon led the way of the whole auction. Apart from Bacon's Study for Head of Isabel Rawsthorne and George Dyer and Two Men Working in a Field, Yves Klein's Peinture de feu couleur sans titre also had a notable result with $8.14 million, as well as Andy Warhol's Five Deaths and Sigmar Polke's Mondlandschaft mit Schilf (Moonlit landscape with reeds) - they were sold for $5.32 million each. We've mentioned Brent Wadden's Alignment (13) that doubled its high estimate and had the highest difference between hammer price and high estimate of the auction. Morris Louis' Number 36 had +85.7 margin, and then come two works by Jean Dubuffet: Le lit I (The Bed I) with +80 percent and Rentrer chez soi (Coming Home) with +75 percent difference. Gerhard Richter's Seestück (Oliv bewölkt) - Seascape (with Olive Clouds) had the worst result at this department, as it was sold with -35 percent difference between hammer price and its low estimate.

Christie's London
Andy Warhol - Skull, 1976 (Lot 27). Estimated at $626,052 - $939,078, sold for $1,565,130 (+66.7 percent margin).

Christie's London
Jean Dubuffet - Rentrer Chez Soi (Coming Home), 1957 (Lot 11). Estimated at $469,539 - $626,052, sold for $1,095,591 (+75 percent difference).

Christie's London
Roy Lichtenstein - Apples, Grapes, Grapefruit, 1974 (Lot 10). Estimated at $2,817,234 - $3,912,825, sold for low estimate.

Christie's London
Yves Klein - Peinture De Feu Couleur Sans Titre, (FC 27), 1962 (Lot 18). Estimated at $7,825,650, sold for $8,138,676.

Christie's London
Left: Morris Louis - Number 36, 1962 (Lot 9). Estimated at $782,565 - $1,095,591, sold for $2,034,669 (+85.7 percent margin between hammer price and high estimate - the second best result of the auction). / Right: Chris Ofili - The Holy Virgin Mary, 1996 (Lot 37). Estimated at $2,191,182 - $2,817,234, sold for $3,912,825 (+38.9 percent difference).

Christie's London
Left: Jean Dubuffet - Le Lit I (The Bed I), 1964 (Lot 53). Estimated at $1,095,591 - $1,565,130, sold for $2,817,234 (+80 percent margin - third best of the auction). / Right: Andy Warhol - Lenin, 1986 (Lot 28). Estimated at $3,443,286 - $4,382,364, sold for $3,599,799.

Christie's London
Andy Warhol - Five Deaths, 1963 (Lot 47). Estimated at $3,443,286 - $4,382,364, sold for $5,321,442.

Christie's London
Brent Wadden - Alignment (13), 2013 (Lot 3). Estimated at $46,954 - $78,257, sold for double high estimate ($156,513, or +100 percent difference between hammer price and high estimate - the best result of the night).

Christie's London
Francis Bacon - Study For Head Of Isabel Rawsthorne And George Dyer, 1967 (Lot 36). Estimated at $12,521,040 - $18,781,560, sold for $16,903,404 - the highest hammer price of the auction.

Christie's London
Left: Francis Bacon - Two Men Working In A Field, 1971 (Lot 24). Estimated at $10,955,910 - $15,651,300, sold for $14,868,735 - the second highest hammer price of the auction. / Right: Sigmar Polke - Mondlandschaft Mit Schilf (Moonlit Landscape With Reeds), 1969 (Lot 15). Estimated at $5,477,955 - $7,043,085, sold for $5,321,442.

Christie's London
Alighiero Boetti - Mappa, 1990 (Lot 30). Estimated at $1,721,643 - $2,347,695, sold for $2,034,669.

Christie's - Post War and Contemporary Evening Auction in Details

Please, scroll down and take a look at the summary of the Post War and Contemporary Evening Auction at Christie's London, as well as detailed information on every lot that was put on sale on June 30.

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All images courtesy of Christie's.

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